The “Off The Record” Rule For Honest Parenting

Don't end up out of The Circle of Trust when it comes to your children.

Don’t end up out of The Circle of Trust when it comes to your children.

Recently, I wrote a post about parenting with the “Because I Said So” technique. Like anything else, some people probably responded to this method while others, like me, bristled under it.

From an early age, my kids were given explanations when possible. I told my kids about being abused, and what parts of my life seemed heavily affected by it. I explained addictions, and how it really ran rampant throughout our family. We talked about sex, and the many, many unforeseen complications that can occur when you bring a child into the world while you are still one yourself. To say the least, my kids and I talked a lot!

Probably the one thing I did that seems to have the most impact on my kids, though, is implementing the “Off The Record” rule. This rule was designed to encourage my kids to tell me when something they were doing could be potentially dangerous. If I was approached by a child requesting a conversation “off the record”, the rule was that no matter how awful the information was, I could not punish them for it.

You’d think that my kids would have really gone crazy with this rule, but oddly enough, they did not. The Arrowrule was not used very often, and each time it was, the information was more important to know than anything else, and the idea they needed to be punished for it was patently ridiculous. There are adult problems that enter teen lives that require more attention than any grounding or spankings can give.

I think the most valuable advice I could ever give a fellow parent is to remember that the little human ball of life you bring home from the hospital is also the beginning of a real relationship. Honesty, respect, and an open door policy can develop a trust with them that can carry your parent/child dynamic into their adulthood and beyond.

Children are your immortality, your legacy, and your hope. Treat those relationships with much mercy, unyielding honesty, and unconditional love. You and your relationship with your child will play a role in every relationship they will ever have throughout their lives. That is a huge responsibility.

~ Bird

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7 Comments

  1. love this rule!
    i like to think i parent similarly…
    although bedtime, bathtime, dinnertime, schooltime and stop annoying mum with the damn noise time are definitely “because i said so” times lol.
    i guess i just want them to know that they can come to me, that they dont have to be afraid, that i will help them figure things out when it all seems to be wrong…
    my oldest catastrophises, alot… hes going to need help… *le sigh*… tonight, he was looking for socks… we have a huge drawer full, all the socks are in there… he couldnt find the mate of a particular pair he wanted, the drawer gets tossed… so of course, because when not finding a sock in a drawer full of socks, i figure he must be looking for something else? i ask him what hes looking for and he says “ALL THE SOCKS IN THE HOUSE HAVE DISAPPEARED!!!!”
    and then i took the little ones socks off his feet, because i wasnt wearing any myself, threw them at him, yelled “what are theeeeeeese!?”, and we had a sock fight… lol.
    then i left the room, and told them to pick them all up… but i dont say, because i said so… i just say, do it. now. :D

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    • lol…sock problems seem to be a boy thing!! Every grown man I know still has issues finding their socks!

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  2. I admit my kids know more about my husband and I thank I ever did about my parents. They know the financial struggles, the heartbreak, and even a one-year marriage (when I was young and stupid). I didn’t come out and Tell them…but through experience and oddities, it all eventually came out. And we are better together for it. Thank you for your post.

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  3. mindfuckingme

     /  May 10, 2014

    I loved reading this. I believe that open door policy is necessary to every relationship, most importantly your children’s. I encourage this with my girls and it has paid off well with my teen one :). She comes to me for everything, good, bad, complicated. She knows she has safe place in me, regardless of what. She is a better human being for it :). Good post :)

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  4. We call it the “Round Table” with King Arthur and the Knights. I have done this as well for years and it does work.

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  5. I love this rule–more parents should use it.

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