Parenting with the Golden Rule

Posted in Parenting on March 22, 2017 - by

A Golden Rule World-View

It never ceases to amaze me how one small rule applies to so much! In our household, I simply say "gold rule," and my kids know exactly what I mean. Just as a quick refresher, this is the definition of the "Golden Rule":

A basic principle that should be followed to ensure success in general or in a particular activity.

The biblical rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12)

I think it is worth noting that Christians are not the only ones who use and appreciate the Golden rule.

When to use the Golden Rule in parenting

As I said earlier, my children know exactly what I mean when I say "gold rule!" or "golden rule!" Browsing through Facebook, I discovered I'm not the only one who has integrated the golden rule into their parenting style. Depending on the scenario, my children translate "gold rule" to mean a variety of things. Carolyn Reierstad said it most eloquently:

  1. "Treat other people, including your family members, the way you want to be treated."
  2. Do you want to be yelled at? Then don't yell?
  3. Do you want the freedoms to feel all your emotions in a safe way? Then don't tell others to stuff their feelings down and smile.
  4. Do you want others to be kind to you? Then show Kindness to others.
  5. Do you want someone to complain about a job you worked hard doing? Then don't complain about jobs others do. (For instance, when I make a meal they don't prefer.)
  6. Do you want to have happy memories? Encourage those around you to do fun things with you.
  7. Do you want to have good friends? Then be a good friend.

Problems with the Golden Rule

Children are brilliant little rascals.

I was doing this. then it turned into "if he is being rude to me then I am going to be rude to him!" I haven't figured out how to fix this one.

Here are my thoughts. This problem or "argument" is formed on an incorrect interpretation of the saying/verse. The Golden Rule does not say to treat people how they treat you. Instead, it says to treat people how you want to be treated.

Try asking your son if he prefers that his brother is rude to him. Does he want his brother to do these things? Although some kids might attempt to be clever, the end result should be a definitive "no."

Another great answer that I read came from Tammy Wagner.

Overcome evil with good

There's a Bible verse we know by heart because of a CD we have: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

We are big on grace, which is getting/giving good things we don't deserve, as God gives us. So a question would be, "Can you show grace?" or "Are you being a legalist or a gracious giver?"

How to "enforce" the Golden Rule in your home

Probably the easiest, and most obvious, way to "enforce" the Golden rule in your house is through "golden rule chores." When the kids are having trouble following the gold rule, they then "earn" extra chores around the house. Not having to do extra chores is always a good motivator.

Homeschool Mom

About Neni

One of the pioneer homeschool bloggers, you may recognize Neni from her first homeschooling blog, For personal reasons, she retired her site and moved some of its contents here. She now contributes when she is available.
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