Do Children Need Rules?

Rules. Do they restrict us or keep us safe?

Do they limit what we can do or do they give us reasonable boundaries in which to live our lives by?

I guess it depends on your outlook?

I like rules in some situations.

For example when driving my car, I know that when approaching a zebra crossing I should stop to let pedestrians cross the road.

When ordering a drink at a bar I know that I should let the people who were there before me be served first.

Rules can be good, but they can also restrict us which can limit our enjoyment of life sometimes.

Now thinking about our children, do you think they need rules?

A few weeks ago I saw a video online of a mum raising her children without rules and without school. I think it was a clip from a TV show, but I can’t be sure.

Two of her children decided that they wanted to go to school. Her son said something along the lines of wanting or needing rules and structure.

After a trial in a local school, both children decided school wasn’t for them.

I’m for all letting children make their own decisions, but when it comes to education I think parents need to step in.

If you’re not going to send your child to school, then you have a responsibility to make sure they get a good education at home which is 100% possible.

Sadly, one of this lady’s sons couldn’t read or write, despite being at an age where he should be able to do so.

Aside from school, I do think children need rules and boundaries.

For example, we set rules about what time our children to go to bed, where they go and to some extent who they socialise with outside of school.

However, there’s a fine line between rules and controlling our children.

For example, I don’t put a plate of food in front of my children and tell them to eat it without first asking them what it is they’d like to eat.

Allowing children to take control and make decisions about what they want for dinner, what they want to play or read, or what they want to do on the weekend is important.

Making decisions is an important life skill. Not only does it teach children to be decisive, it’s also teaching them how to be independent, which will in turn help them decide what path to take in life.

Rules such as wearing a school uniform and what time to be at school etc are important, as it’s preparing them for their future such as when they go to work. They’ll have reasonable expectations of what to expect and what will be expected of them.

So in conclusion, yes, I do think children need rules. What do you think?


20 thoughts on “Do Children Need Rules?

  1. We don’t use the word ‘rules’ much but in essence we think the same. We embrace a rhythm to the day with a guidance approach and firm boundaries. It works well for our family. #ThatFridayLinky

  2. I think children need rules to a certain extent or expected behaviours maybe as rules can seem a bit strict. Rules in our house mean taking your shoes off when you come in the house, going to bed by a certain time and so on. So nothing mega but just guidance and routine to make life easier for us all. I think rules are needed as they’re life skills. Thanks for hosting #thatfridaylinky

  3. All children need guidance and direction of some sort we’re not strict with rules but we have routine which works well as they know what’s coming next and they know what to expect and what’s expected of them

  4. Rules are a part of a functional society. Children need basic guidance in that from their parents. I agree, rules are important. #ThatFridayLinky

  5. Yes I think children do need boundaries/rules to guide them, it makes them feel safe and secure. Before we moved to Sweden we were a home educating family, but I wasn’t in a rush to get my younger twins reading and writing (they were busy learning doing other things….we kept it ticking along in the background with stories and using pens etc), but here in Sweden they won’t start learning formally until the are 6/7 anyway, and many in the UK their age can read and write. So it is all about perspective too.

  6. Growing up we were always made/encouraged to follow the rules and we never really deviated from this as children. As a result, there are things I wish I had of experienced differently however it did set a great set of life rules for me as I get older. Rules are important for children as I believe they thrive better from having them, once they are old enough to realise the consequences for not following a rule then they can decide for themselves 🙂


  7. We have rules for our two, nothing to severe
    Bed times
    Homework has to be done before play
    Rooms kept tidy
    Etc, etc
    It prepares them for later life as their will always be rules to follow in school, work etc

  8. As in so many areas of life, I think there has to be balance. I home educate now and my children have great manners, are sensitive, kind and caring all values I have instilled in them and the one thing I feel I have got very right as a Mum. They are bright and cope with anything we throw at them education wise and yes it is quite possible to give a good education at home. My son stayed in school and recently said to me where there is structured education, there is no room for philosophy. Which leads me onto my studies of Jurisprudence and why people follow laws from the Gun Man theory to Realism. I bet you wish you had never asked the question now!

  9. I think rules create a society and therefore, children need them too. Without rules, our society would not run smoothly. Recently I have noticed many more parents questioning many of the things I do as a teacher. I find this frustrating as I’ve been teaching for 2o odd years and I do know what I’m doing! Some parents think because they have been a parent for 5 years, they are the expert however I do listen to their views as I understand some parents feel quite strongly about certain things. Great post and it offers a good debate. #thatfridaylinky

  10. Hi, I think that rules are an important part of everyday life whatever your age, it is therefore important that children are made of this and why they are in place. That said it is all about sensible balance as you also need children to have the ability to learn by making their own decisions #ThatFridayLinky

  11. Yes we have rules because my children would be even more feral if they didn’t 😂 my eldest is autisitic and he needs order but we all communicate and allow him to express his opinion as Well #thatfridaylinky

  12. An experiment was tried in a school some years ago where they removed all the perimeter fences to see if children would feel more freedom. The result they noticed was that all the children stayed closer to the schoolhouse and wouldn’t venture very far. When they replaced the fences, the children went back to venturing and playing all the way out to the fences. Rules / boundaries are very positive. They can actually give us confidence and freedom. If our kids don’t know what the boundaries are, they can lack confidence.

  13. I think children need rules and boundaries, they need to understand why but how can a child be raised with no rules or boundaries and then survive as an adult? When I go to work I have to behave a certain way and achieve a certain amount of work. I have boundaries and I accept them as I have learned them as a child. Dictating is something else entirely and I don’t agree with that as it is unfair. #ThatFridayLinky

  14. Rules are definitely something we have in the house even for me and Hubby!! It gives you boundaries and an expectation from others which in turn will instil values in our children I suppose! #thatfridaylinky

  15. Children absolutely need rules! While their minds and bodies are too immature enough to make informed and rational decisions, adults need to put that structure in place for them; when they ARE old enough they can slowly take on those responsibilities themselves. It’s how the entire natural world – and all the creatures in it – works, and for very good reason. x #ThatFridayLinky

  16. I think children absolutely need rules and it shocks me that others don’t feel the same way. I totally believe in allowing my children the freedom to make their own choices, but always within the rules! I’m not strict with my children by any means but they know what they can and can’t do, without them our lives would be unbearable! #thatfridaylinky

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