Throwback Thursday #50 – Are Rules Made to be Broken?

Believe it or not, I’m back. I thank Lauren so much for covering Throwback Thursdays while I was on vacation and then during my subsequent illness. She has been a trooper! I appreciate her so much for keeping things going while I was unable to do my part.

This week, I thought we would talk about rules and family hierarchy, and child/parent relationships. Respectfully, I know some children are abused when it comes to discipline and I certainly hope that none of our dear readers had such experiences. If this is a painful subject for you, I am sorry – no child should ever be subjected to such things. I also trust you will respond only if it is healthy for you.

If you care to join us, it’s easy.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Are Rules Made to be Broken?

You can either free write using these questions as inspiration or answer the question as they are.

  1. Who in your family was the person who made and enforced rules?
  2. Did you grow up with many rules, or was your life a little more flexible?
  3. Were you a rule follower or a rule breaker?
  4. How were discipline and – in contrast – rewards managed in your household?
  5. Were you given the opportunity to plead your case in matters of disagreement?
  6. What tools did your parents use –  ‘I’m going to count to three‘ or ‘don’t make me get up‘ or a time-out chair?
  7. Did fear of discipline curb your desire to break or bend the rules?
  8. Did your upbringing influence the way you (as an adult) managed rules in your own home?
  9. Were you ever ‘grounded’? Do you want to share the story?
  10. Did you break rules your parents never knew about? Want to confess and leave with a clear conscious? No?

My post follows.

In my family, I think we were given equal parts of love and discipline. I suppose my parents were believers in ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ as my parents did believe in corporal punishment. It was not frequent, but my father was a believer in enforcing rules. I do not recall rewards, per se. Maybe the reward was simply the absence of discipline.

Thinking back, I never recall my mother ever physically punishing any of us. Mom was more of a ‘moral lesson talker’. She drove her point home with words rather than with actions. My entire life I heard stories about my father being whipped with a garden hose by his mother, my grandmother. We were never ‘whipped’ or ‘beaten’, but we were spanked – although infrequently. As I sit writing this, I really only recall one or two times. But those were enough to instill the fear of what was possible. Sometimes the thought of the punishment was enough to dissuade us from going too rogue.

As we aged out of early adolescence, physical punishment stopped. My parents did not yell or scream at us, but it was not unusual to get a ‘good talking to’. They both had the look, too. That’s when you knew you had crossed a dangerous line. No one wanted to see that. Mom had a great ‘Mom Voice’. We knew when she meant business. We didn’t have a lot of rules and I think the expectation about those rules came equally from both parents. Be home on time, clean your room, behave yourself in all situations, respect your elders, and don’t backtalk.

I was the youngest of four siblings and by the time I reached adolescence, my parents were much more liberal I’m sure. I was allowed to date at an earlier age, I had later curfews, and I always felt they trusted me. Sadly, I’m not sure my siblings were as fortunate and as a result, there was more rebellion against the rules than I felt the need for. I was definitely a rule follower, but that is not to say I did not bend a few rules once in a while. 😉

I was only grounded once in my life. One of my sisters felt I had too much freedom, and she convinced my mother I was off doing something nefarious with a boy (which I wasn’t) but she convinced my mother I should be punished. I was grounded for two weeks which still makes me laugh to this day. I know you are curious about what I did, aren’t you? Well, my friend and I went into a small stand of trees to a lean-to that two guys in the neighborhood had built. (They called it a cabin, but it was nothing like a cabin.) I guess it looked bad because my sister kept telling my mother ‘WHAT WILL THE NEIGHBORS THINK?”. It still strikes me as odd to this day because my mother never cared at all about anything our neighbors thought. Well, except seemingly this one thing. My friend used to send notes through my brother to ‘the prisoner’ while I was grounded.

I think trust and balance are key to a child learning to follow rules, but I also believe there needs to be a place for negotiation between parent and their children. This is how we grow and learn to live in this world.


33 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #50 – Are Rules Made to be Broken?”

  1. Here are my answers, Maggie.
    1) My dad. (Mum would have let me do anything)
    2) I had few set rules. Being home for dinner, coming back at an agreed time, being respectful to old people and relatives. That was about it.
    3) I followed the rules because there were so few of them.
    4) My dad worked away a lot, so I was wary of him being told about anything when he came home. But I was very rarely badly behaved.
    5) By my mum, yes. But my dad did not allow any discussion.
    6) Being sent to my room with no dinner. (My mum would relent later, and bring me up some sandwiches.)
    7) No.
    8) I didn’t have any children, so made no rules.
    9) When I was 14, I was going out with friends on a Saturday night and I was told to be back by 11pm. I got home at 12:30, and my mum had been so worried, my dad banned me from going out at weekends for a month
    10) I used to say I was sleeping over at a friend’s, and we would both go somewhere we were not supposed to be, like right across London to a different district. I was told not to have any girls in the flat during the school holidays, but broke that rule. One day, my dad came home unexpectedly and caught me with a girl. He was furious. (We were only cuddling) Later, he told me he didn’t want me to get a girl pregnant and ‘ruin my life’. I was only 14, so thought that was unlikely as no girl I knew then was going to go ‘all the way’. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Pete, I always find it interesting to see how different life seemed to be for young boys. I cannot imagine any young person being ready to have sex at 14, but the I was a rule follower and perhaps very late bloomer. I also love to see that your mom relented and made sure you were fed. Thanks for responding.

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  2. Welcome back Maggie. I hope you’re feeling better. Discipline wasn’t a big formal thing in our house. Not that my brother and I were such good boys, (we weren’t really bad either) but there was a wide berth given because “boys will be boys.”

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    1. Thanks, Dan. It was a rough couple of weeks, but after my relapse, I think I am finally on the mend. My brother did seem to have a bit more latitude in some things than we did. In some ways, though, I think my Dad was a little harder on him, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to see you back, Maggie. Like I said in my own post, most of your questions didn’t make much sense to me. I really hope my post didn’t cross the line of being too triggery.


    1. Thank you, Astrid. I struggled a little with how to word the questions this week. Your post was honest and brave. Thank you for responding.

      Liked by 1 person

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