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How To Raise Well-Behaved Kids Without All The Boring Rules

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How do parents who were mischievous themselves raise their kids?

I was a problem child due to being an only child to parents who did not get along. I basically grew up middle class (back when a middle-class family could actually live a good life), but spent most of my time alone. Both parents worked so I was a “Latch Key “ kid (before that title ever existed) at around 9 years old.

I brought up my 2 kids with both discipline and freedom. I did not spoil them but I also did not give them nothing. I also did most of this after I got them back due to a divorce when they were 15 and 9.

boys fishing with father

I was a 52-year-old single dad. It was very interesting, difficult, fun, but also not so much fun. We went on trips, I let them take Martial Arts, have friends over, and overall treated them as young adults. I did not buy them their own TVs, cells or computers until high school. And no cars.

Most problems worked out because they knew my rules and there would be consequences if those rules are broken. Now, this is the important 2 things in our relationship: Most parents have a long list of rules that they post on the fridge like time-outs, groundings, no TV, no this or that. Not me. I had one rule: “Stay out of trouble.”

They knew what that rule meant and pretty much obeyed it until they grew up. We also did things together, we went skiing, snowboarding, hikes, camping and many other things. I let them go back and visit their mother. My daughter fell in love with horses and I supported that love. My son learned early to be a DJ, I supported his passion. I never went negative except if it seemed stupid for them to do something.

I did not have a list of rules, that was all there was and it worked for us.

Both are now grown up and own and operate their own small businesses.

Bill Herman is a writer. Read more quora below: