House Rules

We all have house rules, although we may not think of them that way. House rules are the ways we do things at OUR house. Our house means our rules. We don’t care how you do things at your house. If you are visiting our house, you need to play by our rules. After all, we abide by your rules when we visit your house. This is an implied social contract between adults.

This should work between all responsible adults, if it weren’t for one thing–the parent-child relationship. When mama comes to visit, she wants to use HER house rules in our house, because she is the parent. And when sonny visits mama, he wants to use HIS rules in her house to show he is grown up now.

It’s not like the competing house rules are major differences, they are mainly irritations. Are potholders left out on the counter so they can be grabbed quickly, or stashed in drawers so that the counters are bare and neat? Are dirty glasses left on the counter next to the sink where they look messy, or set down in the sink where they will get knocked over and broken? Are towels washed after every use, or kept out because you just had a shower and you were drying a clean body? Do you put floor pillows next to bookcases so you can sit to look through the bottom shelf, or do you think only people who can’t afford chairs would put pillows on the floor?

We don’t have conflicts over rules like these when we are visiting friends, even if they are from a different generation. It’s only when it’s a parent or child that it becomes a problem. Can we get past the family baggage and treat each other like adults? To be successful, both sides would have to agree. This is not something that can be fixed by only one party changing their behavior.

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