Rules have been a difficult concept for my kids. We don't have many rules in our house. For the most part, I simply want my children to respect their family and themselves. Don't tease, be polite, take care of your body by feeding it good food and getting enough sleep, that sort of thing. These rules are easy to explain, but that is not always the case when they step out into the world.
You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.
Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.
Dalai Lama XIV
Our house rules always have reasons, and I repeatedly remind them of the reasons. You don't have to eat the vegetables I serve for dinner, but you do have to have some vegetable. I explain that fruits and vegetables have nutrients and fiber that they need to grow and stay healthy. If they fill themselves with empty calories, their bodies will still be hungry for those nutrients.
When they come across rules that don't make sense to them, they ask why. Sometimes the why isn't easy to answer. This is where we run into problems. My kids don't want to follow random rules. Who does? The trick is knowing when it is OK to bend the rules or when a rule needs to be broken.
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.
Some rules are made for the convenience or protection of others. If drug companies don't specifically tell you not to operate heavy machinery while taking medicine to help you sleep, they could get sued if someone decides to do this and ends up in an accident. In schools, you need to ask permission to use the bathroom because the teacher is responsible for you and needs to know where you are at all times.
When rules are set in place for every little thing, it can feel oppressive. Knowing the "why" helps, only if the why makes sense. Many rules are set in place to dictate what we should be doing anyway. No littering. Buckle up your seatbelt. No talking or cellphone use during the movie. Isn't it sad that we need to mandate the obvious?
Now think. If tomorrow you learned that homeschooling was against the law, would you still do it?
I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein