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December 29, 2012
The Stop Rule
Teasing and playing around can be amusing, but usually one person wants to stop before the other. Angry words and tears often bring an end to what started out as fun. Incorporating a “Stop Rule” in your family will help children, and parents too for that matter, know when to quit.
The Stop Rule is simply this: When a child wants to be done with a teasing or tickling game, that child just says, “Stop” and the other child must stop the game. Even parents need to stop when a child doesn’t want to be teased anymore. In fact, a good way to teach this rule is for a parent to tickle a child and stop immediately when the child says, “Stop.”
Of course, to make this work, you as a parent need to be available to enforce the rule. When you hear one child say, “Stop,” watch and see if you’re needed to step in to enforce the rule.
One mom told us, “I thought this idea was too simple, but one day I was so frustrated, I decided to teach it to my children. They liked the idea…and it worked! Now it has become a regular part of our family life.”
The Stop Rule teaches children the value of their words. When someone is relentlessly teasing, your child will know that his or her personal boundaries are being violated and want to seek help. This is a helpful rule for creating boundaries in relationships between siblings or playmates and it teaches children adult solutions for solving problems.
This parenting tip comes from the book Home Improvement, the Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. There’s a whole chapter on teaching values through family rules.