The law - 1 Nephi 4
Nephi recognized the importance of the law, he endured difficult circumstances to ensure they had the plates of brass which contained the law of Moses which they lived by. He stated that "they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law." Without laws and boundaries, there are still "unspoken rules", but even they will get fuzzy without a standard. Our families are filled with laws, boundaries, and "unspoken rules", but sometimes they need to be made into laws to clearly define the lines. Sometimes it feels like children are constantly testing the waters with us as parents to see what they can get away with, and to feel out whether are rules have become laws or have slid into obscurity. Our children benefit when we make clear boundaries for them and enforce them, but it is easy to get lazy because a new rule takes time and effort to become a law. In addition, there are some grey areas with our spouse that could be better defined with frank discussion (Ex: don't buy anything without talking about it first).
It is one thing to lay down and enforce the law (the letter of the law), but it is another thing when children understand why. My wife is excellent at explaining why we have certain rules, while I am not as inclusive. However, when they can see that a rule is designed for their long term benefit, they are more likely to obey and participate in the law. For example, we have restrictions on video games, and have recently cut it down to once a week. My wife has been very thorough on explaining that too many video games are not good for your brain. This was not hard for them to understand because they know the feeling when they have vegged out too long or become monsters because they have been playing too much. In response to the decrease in screen usage our children have started reading a lot more for pleasure. My wife takes them to the library and they love getting a stack full of books each. Because they could see the reasons it has not been a struggle for them and they have replaced the brain destroying activity with brain building activities.