It’s All in the Family: Establishing Household Rules


In the “typical” family, household rules and expectations evolve organically over time and will change with the natural ebb and flow of the family. A child who was raised in your home from infancy knows how “things go” because he or she is a part of your family’s shared experiences, habits, routines, and culture.

While it may be the expectation that the child entering into your care will “catch on” to the household rules, it isn’t always that simple. Remember, that child is coming to you with his or her own family’s culture, rules, and routines. And those rules may be dramatically different than your own. Even if the child came from an environment where there were few rules if any, this is his or her “normal.” Letting a child know as early as possible how things work in your home can help him or her better navigate a possibly frightening transition.


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Author: Wisconsin Family Connections Center
Additional Author: Coalition for Children, Youth & Families
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