As a parent I’ve never been a great enforcer of rules. I’ve never done the “finish everything on your plate” thing or enforced homework before playtime, never had curfews, tried not to nag him (he will disagree) and kind of lived by the overriding tenet of “be kind and be honest”.

But now that he’s on the brink of independence I thought I better try my hand at some rules while I still have some authority. Too late for the childhood laws, I’m giving my son some rules for adulthood instead.

Always have a box of blank greeting cards to write love letters, thank you notes and “I’m thinking of you” letters. These messages are always better hand written

Don’t use gift-wrap , think of the environment

Tell your friends you love them

Don’t be shy to express your emotions

Anger is not an emotion — it’s a feeling generated from pain or sadness so examine it before you think it’s an expression, then deal with your sadness.

Stop and pat dogs you see on the street. Engage with their humans as well

Compromise. Sometimes being kind is more important than being right

Don’t take advice from Instagram but listen to the people you know when they speak

Always give to people less fortunate than yourself

Sometimes giving your time and love is more important than giving something physical

Use your privilege for good

Try never to be the worst part of somebody’s day. Not just the people you know but the cashier at the supermarket and the person you walk past in the street

Do exercise that you love

Never stop using your skateboard when you need to park far away

Make your bed every morning

The only time you should ever separate your whites from your darks is when you are doing your washing

Ironed clothes feel better on. It’s up to you whether you iron or not

Remember I have ironed your linen and your clothes all your life

Buy pasture raised eggs even if it means you have to eat less eggs

Don’t litter

Reuse and recycle

Remember the old people you come across were once young like you are and one day you will be old too

Cook food for the people you love

Always be honest

Make sure you talk through your small problems with someone before they become big problems

Remember that even big problems can be solved but you need to start with honesty

Don’t go to bed angry

When it comes to dental care, flossing is as important as brushing. Do both

Count your blessings not your Instagram likes

Remember it is not alway the outcome or the end result that is most important, it’s the effort you put in along the way and the attitude with which you exert that effort

Eat food that nourishes your body — don’t take diet, health or any other “expertise” from Instagram. Or Reddit

Keep your critical mind sharp when you read anything on the internet, there is always context and anyone can have their thoughts published online. Even people filled with hate and/or drugs

Always be the person you are because you are absolutely amazing and I know I have a lot to learn from you (that one’s just for my son — but I know almost everyone will have that very same rule for their kids too)

Writer. Blogger. Worrier. Toast Lover

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