Royal Rights or Earned Privileges?

Child: "I want _______"

Parent: "You should ____"

How to make ends meet?  We found our answer in the distinction between rights and privileges.

Insight N°1:  they're different! 

Insight N°2:  privileges are earned.  Rights come from being part of the family. 

This distinction is invaluable faced with critical questions such as, "Can I watch TV after school?"  The answer may differ depending upon whether TV time is it a right or a privilege.

The Dilley family—they have sextuplets—taught me

- to differentiate between rights and privileges and

- to specify each. 

Their procedure may not match your family needs...but some sort of system will.  Read what they did with six 10 year olds at home.  Peruse further for tips to develop your own guidelines.

From Chez Dilley to Chez Moi

The Dilley parents encouraged good behavior through a Discipline Ladder, privileges assigned to specific rungs. Privileges are cumulative. Children move along the rungs according to their behaviour. The bottom rung (1) enables a child to “Do chores and have thinking time.” Next up is “May read books and practice workbooks.” It is not until Rung 6 that kids “May enjoy music in room, watch TV (also movies with family).”

My kids—and I let them—acted like these entertainment privileges were undeniable rights! Change on the horizon...

Write the Rules

Privileges are conditional. Clear expectations of desired behaviour (aka family rules) enable kids to know how they can enjoy these family benefits. Every family gets to establish guidelines to match its uniqueness. Get inspired from these examples.

- For kids under 6
The Dilley Family Rules were defined when the sextuplets were little. These three simple rules capture the basic principles of many successful family guidelines.

o Be Kind and Gentle (personal safety, no harming others and breaking things)

o Be Respectful (foundation for good manners, listening and prayer)

o Be Responsible (cleaning up after oneself)

- For kids between 7-12
Our family devised these Grooves to get into the rhythm as a family. Expectations—including homework—are more clearly outlined without becoming so specific that children play at finding the loopholes. Read on.

- For parents and older kids
Mark Sichel—still married to the mother of their four children and a practicing psychotherapist in NYC since 1980—shares his 10 Commandments of Family Harmony. Humorous and insightful. Read on.

Download your FREE
Power Pointer

boys brushing teeth.  Children make their bed
Help Kids Be Accountable

The goal is to help kids prioritize, you know, for the children to actually complete the family responsibilities BEFORE benefiting from the privileges. That means putting in place an appropriate accountability system.

Follow this three-pronged approach to effective prioritization

- Make it measurable (the kids could even evaluate each other)

- Make it motivating (focus on privileges not negative consequences)

- Make it easy for parents too (easily verifiable responsibilities and doable privileges)

Make Responsibilities and Privileges Work for You

Home Is Fun developed visual reminders, Power Pointers, to help parents and kids prioritize effectively. These photos of children in action depict clear responsibilities and the desired results (a bed that’s made has smooth covers). They are fun to look at and to personalize (we hung ours up with funny frames). Parents can choose between the standard Power Pointers or (soon) personalize their own to fully adapt them to your household.

Learn How Power Pointers Helped

These tools made a specific and unique difference in each these families. Read on.

Download Your Free Power Pointers

Take up the challenge to focus on the essentials. Then you'll have time for both work and play. Ease the process with these fun tools…and tells us about your experiences.
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