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House Rules aka Articles of Agreement

Throughout the Boot Camp, these are called House Rules, and in the United Front Books, they are called Articles of Agreement.

A system's internal regulations, whether written, "spoken" (internally or externally) or unspoken, which determine what behaviors are acceptable for the residents in the system. This helps keep order and make shared responsibility possible.

There are various life-roles in which house rules should be discussed within the system. For example, there are rules for home life, work, school, dealing with family, dealing with friends, dealing with romantic relationships, dealing with local, state, province, or countrywide legal restrictions, dealing with moral and ethical interests, dealing with people inside and outside of the body.

House rules should not only include restrictions on behavior, but possibly also include outlines of acceptable and expected behaviors in certain key situations, so that the system can keep a consistent base of behavior in public. Other similar things can end up in the system's house rules such as when the system's young members can have treats or play, how the system may operate vehicles, if or when system members may initiate contact with certain external people, etc.

Part of devising house rules may also reside in determination of who makes decisions in the body. Each system will have to come up with it's own unique set of house rules.

For systems who have trouble with internal communication, it may be necessary to physically write out the house rules, and have each member indicate that they agree to it, or to put it someplace where all system members should be able to see it. This may be used to mitigate claims, legitimate or otherwise, that someone who breaks the house rules was unaware of said rules.

We have a house rule that we won't do anything likely/certain to land us in jail i.e. most of us jaywalk, but we aren't going to steal. If someone did something that got us in jail, we'd ALL be in jail. This rule helps maintain a sense of trust in the system, amongst other things. It ensures ALL of us will maintain our personal freedoms, such as they are. However, we also have a house rule that prohibits jaywalking with our children in tow. -- XES

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