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"If it's not in the hamper, I don’t wash it." 42 people share their non-negotiable family rules.

All families are different and while some have lots of rules about what can and cannot happen at home, others have none.

From 'no dogs on the bed' to 'shoes off inside', Mamamia heard from 42 people about their non-negotiable family rules.

Here's what they had to say.

1. Truan

"I don’t care if you don’t want to finish your dinner. You must try everything on your plate!"

2. Kara

"Shoes off in the house. We live on a farm and heaven knows what these kids could walk in on their shoes!"

3. Amber

"We eat at the dinner table every night. There's no technology at the table or TVs on. It’s the time we sit as a family and talk about our days. Our kids are 15, 12 and eight and they really enjoy it. We all sit until everyone is finished and we just chat. It gives them a chance to fill dad in on their days and ask whatever questions they have."

4. Bec 

"My husband is Swedish, so we are very much a 'no shoes inside' family!"

5. Chantel

"One game or activity at a time. For example, colouring needs to be packed away once finished before we move onto puzzles, etc." 

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6. Rebekah 

"We have loads of rules that include: no shoes in the house, you must try one bite, if you don’t make your bed, you sleep on the floor, we (parents) always have time for a hug, if you’re home for dinner you must come sit at the table (even if you don’t eat) and finally, no food on the couch - except if the kids are in bed and it’s ice cream!"

7. Delaney

"Teeth have to be brushed before bed!"


8. Dani 

"No shoes in the house, bed by 7pm, and you must try everything on your plate. We also help pack the mess away at the end of each day. And at least one night a week, the kitchen is closed and you can have a takeaway meal!"

9. Nicky 

"Never go to bed angry. We all have to say 'I love you' before my kids go to sleep."

10. Claire Anne

"Very specific, but definitely non-negotiable. Any Lego pieces left on the floor for mum to step on will be put in the bin!"

11. Sophie

"Don’t hurt yourself, people, or animals. And try not to break any toys, either."

12. Tanya

"We’ve turned ours into a saying: good food, good sleep, good behaviour. It covers (most!) bases!"

13. Rebecca G

"If it’s not in the hamper, I don’t wash it. Also, it’s your responsibility to check pockets before you put things in the hamper (and yes, my husband's keys, wallet and AirPods have all been through the wash as a result)."

14. Kiah

"Parents choose what’s on the menu to eat, kids choose how much/if they want to eat it, but no alternatives will be given. My husband and I both remember some torturously long dinners being made to finish everything on our plates as kids."

15. Catherine

"We don’t have rules, but we all just show each other mutual respect and kindness. We eat together at the table most nights, but enjoy TV tea together sometimes too. If you want or need something, ask nicely (that includes mum/dad asking you to put something away/get off the computer/help hang out the washing/grab another roll of toilet paper, etc.) Manners go a long way! My boys are aged 11 and 13 and we have a happy household."

16. Renee

"Don’t lie!"

17. Linda

"The only time you are 'allowed' to swear is when you are in the car singing with your mum!"

18. Lisa

"A massive rule that is not negotiable is gender equality. I have three young boys and they know they can’t say anything about 'girls can’t play with this', etc. They know not to talk about other people's bodies. I’m raising the next generation of boys and it is not up for negotiation. I encourage questions and teach my children how to think for themselves, but I will not tolerate sexism of any sort."


19. Maggie

"Absolutely no food to be eaten in bedrooms."

20. Sally

"We live on a farm, so I am always saying 'shut the door!' We don’t want mice or flies inside!"

21. Ruth

"No violence ever. We don’t use our hands or body to hurt anyone."

22. Cynthia

"No toilet seats left up, and we take turns feeding and picking up after the dog."

23. Annelise

"Hats off and shirts on for dinner. My 17-year-old son finds it challenging, but I don’t need nipples looking at me over the bolognaise! And no, turning your hat backwards does not count."

24. Brittany

"We never ever call one another derogatory names like 'stupid'. Also, if they say the word 'bored', they get a chore!"

25. Daniel

"First words of the day are 'good morning'. Handshakes are firm and done with eye contact. We stop at lookouts wherever possible. Whenever you hear a word you don’t know, ask what it means. Be kind, curious, and polite."

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26. Sylvia

"I have always enforced that we don’t use derogatory terms such as 'stupid' or 'fat'. We eat as a family at the dinner table, and I ask that family don’t buy me presents for my birthday that have something to do with the house." 

27. Alicia

"Lights dimmed, or lamps only from 6.30pm (or whenever it gets dark) except for the kitchen."

28. Nicole

"I have a few. Say 'I love you' every day, no swearing in front of mum or dad, Sunday night is roast dinner with the family night, you must ask permission to leave the dinner table, no eating in front of the TV, and don't EVER ask for a Coke."

29. Lisa L

"No one eats until mum sits down."

30. Emma

"No spitting!"

31. Kara

"Don't wake mummy on a Sunday morning."

32. Drea

"Privacy in the toilet - we have a toddler. Go to bed on a good note, never angry. Wake up and say good morning. If you aren’t in the mood for that, shut your mouth until you have woken up and you are ready to be pleasant (the toddler also hasn’t gotten this yet)."


33. Nicole

"If you make a drink, offer everyone else one too."

34. Eleine

"Respect your elders: your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles."

35. Gemma

"An old flatmate told me the rule of 'no TV in the bedroom' and now I’m no longer flat sharing, I do this. It makes your bedroom a place of relaxation."

36. Jessie 

"No dog on the lounge or in bed. No leaving the house without making the bed. These are all my fiancé's rules."

37. Emma G

"Definitely no TV before school in my house. And I think if I ever turned the TV on before work now as an adult, it would only be in the case of a catastrophic news event!"

38. Rebecca D

"Soft drinks and cordial are only for birthday parties and special events - otherwise, it’s water or milk. Hold your knife and fork correctly, and absolutely NEVER lick the knife!" 

39. Lize 

"No leaving the house without making the bed, and no leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight."

40. Carla

"This has been a family rule after my husband was very disappointed when me and my child went straight to the dog in the morning. So my kid now chants this rule: kiss and hug mum and dad when you wake up, at bedtime, and when saying goodbye. Then it's the dog's turn!"

41. Siobhan

"Most of my rules are food related: no-one starts their meal before everyone's at the table, no-one leaves the table until everyone is finished, whomever cooks doesn't clean up, no shoes on in the apartment, no talking with your mouth full. Sounds like fun at my house, right?!"

42. Emmeline

"Our number one rule: there are no rules! Our house is chaos."

Do you have any non-negotiable rules at your place? Tell us in the comments below.

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and  TikTok.

Feature Image: Getty.

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