When our boys were small, they would wolf down their peanut butter or bologna sandwiches (crusts removed) and attack the Oreos. A half-a-bag later, they had enough, but I had to put cookies on the shopping list again. So Peter and I made a rule—two cookies for dessert at lunch, three at dinner.
We had some other rules too. Soft drinks only at the weekend "Coke-tail" hour, the sugar cereal of your choice once a year on your birthday, three pieces of candy a night until the Halloween loot was gone, and no candy in the house the rest of the year. (Little did we know that across-the-street neighbors had a candy drawer in their kitchen that was available to any neighborhood child.)
Additional rules included one hour of TV on school nights, everything off the bedroom floor if the cleaning men were coming, (on the bed was OK), a three sentence thank-you note for all gifts as follows:
1. Thank you for the birthday check.
2. I will spend it on ___________.
3. Hope to see you soon.
My daughter-in-law Katrina says they had no soda at all in their home growing up. They did not have a TV except when they rented one to watch the Olympics or presidential debates. They never had sugar cereals.
So I wonder what the "house rules" are now in these days of cell phones, laptops, electronic games, text messages, high def. TV, and friends with benefits.
Our grandchildren are two and five, but I know they don't get dessert if they don't finish their dinner.
That's a good start.