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amish rules

Amish Rules

The Amish are a conservative Christian sect – just like Mennonites – who live in close-knit communities in the US and Canada. They are known for their simple lifestyle and their refusal to adopt many modern technologies – preferring to stick to a more old-fashioned way of life. 

The Amish culture is fascinating. They follow a set of rules – called the Amish Ordnung – that dictate every aspect of their lives, from what clothes they wear to how they conduct business.

The Amish believe in hard work and living a simple life. Many of their customs are based on the teachings of the Bible. For example, they believe in large families, living off the land, and shunning material possessions. 

In this article, we take a look at Amish rules you should know. We will explore Amish rules for women, rules for men, laws kids must follow, and even touch upon Amish bedroom rules.

What this article covers:

What Are Amish Rules?

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Amish rules are the guidelines that dictate every aspect of Amish life. These rules are based on the Ordnung, which is the Amish church's unwritten code of conduct. The Ordnung is derived from biblical teachings, Amish traditions, and common sense.

There are rules that dictate just about everything in Amish life; from how to dress and what kind of buggy to use, to how to conduct business and treat others. The Amish believe that following these rules brings them closer to God and helps them to live the simple, humble life they strive toward.

Amish Laws

Amish Laws for Women

Women are an integral part of Amish society and play a vital role in the day-to-day running of the familial home. They’re also subject to a unique set of regulations designed to ensure that they abide by the Amish faith's strict moral and religious codes.

Some of the more notable laws that Amish women are required to follow include:

Modest Dressing

Dressing is one of the most important aspects of Amish life, and women are expected to wear simple and modest clothing at all times. This includes wearing long skirts and dresses that cover the arms and legs, as well as using only natural fabrics such as wool or cotton.

Using too many colors or patterns is also discouraged, as the Amish believe this can be a source of vanity. Therefore, Amish women typically usually stick to more subdued colors such as black, blue, or gray.

Women must make their own clothes, and aren’t allowed to buy them from stores. They’re also not allowed to use sewing machines, as this is considered a form of mechanization that goes against Amish values and traditions.

According to Amish church Sunday rules, women must also wear a bonnet covering on their head when attending church services. Married women wear black bonnets, while unmarried women wear white ones.


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Amish women aren’t allowed to cut their hair. This is according to biblical guidelines that state that a woman's hair is her glory. 

As a result, when they’re within their homes, they must wear it pulled back in a bun or braid, with only the front left loose. This is done in order to discourage vanity about their appearance.

However, they must cover their hair when they are outside of the house, using a scarf or bonnet. 

Roles in Society

The role of women in Amish society is primarily that of homemakers and mothers. They’re responsible for running the household, taking care of the children, and cooking, cleaning, and sewing.

They’re also expected to help with the chores on the family farm, such as milking cows or gathering eggs. You’ll find them with harvest baskets in the fields during the autumn months or washing clothes in the river in summer.

Women also pass important skills and knowledge down to the next generation, such as cooking, cleaning, and sewing. In addition, they teach the girls the skills needed to be good caregivers. They also teach them to craft useful items like file baskets, vintage bread boxes, picnic boxes, and even wicker dog baskets for pets, which many of them do at an expert level.

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Quilting is another popular activity among Amish women. Quilts are usually made out of three layers of fabric, with the top layer being a patchwork of different colors and patterns.

The bottom two layers are usually made out of solid-colored fabric, and the entire quilt is stitched together by hand. Quilts aren’t only used for warmth, they’re also considered works of art.

Amish women find great joy in honing their quilting skills, and many of them enter their quilts into competitions. This enhances community life and allows women to socialize and interact with each other.

Making Dolls

Amish dolls are a popular craft among Amish women. These dolls are usually made out of cloth and stuffed with cotton or wool. They are simple in design and usually have no facial features.

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The purpose of these dolls is to teach Amish girls how to be good wives and mothers. They are also used as a way to teach girls about the different stages of life, such as childbirth and infancy.

The lack of facial features is intentional, as the Amish believe that people are created in the image of God. Additionally, the bible doesn't permit graven images. Doing so would be considered idolatry. 


Amish Women are expected to be submissive to their husbands. This is based on the biblical principle of wives being submissive to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24).

This doesn't mean that Amish women are treated as second-class citizens. They’re still considered equal in worth and value. However, they’re expected to defer to their husband's decisions and opinions.

This principle of submission is important in Amish society because it helps maintain order and harmony. It also ensures that husbands and wives work together as a team.

While the concept of submission may outdated to some, it’s still an integral part of Amish culture. Women play a vital role in Amish society, and their submission is what helps to keep the community functioning smoothly.

Church Leadership

Bibilical guidelines state that women are not to be in positions of authority over men (1 Timothy 2:12).

This means that Amish women can’t be church leaders, such as ministers or bishops. However, they can still participate in the church and play an important role in its functioning. They can teach Sunday school, sing in the church choir, and serve on various committees. Additionally, they help with the planning and execution of church events.

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While Amish men are typically the ones who make the decisions in the community, women are still given a great deal of respect, and their opinions are always valued. This is because the Amish believe that men and women are equal in the eyes of God.

Amish Rules for Men


Just like women, there are limits imposed upon men and what they can wear. They’re not allowed to wear any type of clothing that’s flashy or attention-seeking.

This includes clothing with bright colors or logos or other ornamentation. Amish men are also expected to avoid tight-fitting or revealing clothing.

They wear dark suits with suspenders, and they often wear straw hats. They are also expected to have a beard after they get married. However, mustaches aren’t allowed.


Amish men are typically the ones who work outside of the home. They work in fields, on farms, and in other manual labor jobs. Many of them are also business owners.

They are expected to provide for their families and to be the primary breadwinners. This is one of the most important roles for Amish men.

Amish men are also expected to be the head of the household. They are responsible for making decisions for the family and for providing leadership.

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Church Leadership

Men are the ones who typically hold leadership positions in the Amish church. This includes roles such as minister, bishop, and deacon.

The Amish church is a key part of Amish life, and men are expected to play an active role in it. They are expected to attend church services every week and to participate in other church activities.

Community Leadership

Amish men are also often the ones who take on leadership roles in the community. This can include serving on school boards, on local committees, and in other positions.

Amish men are expected to be active members of the community and to take on responsibilities that help keep the community running smoothly.

Family Responsibilty

Amish men are expected to be good husbands and fathers. They are responsible for providing for their families and for leading their households.

They’re also expected to be loving and supportive of their wives and children. They must maintain a close relationship with their families. The responsibility of traveling to visit family members who live far away often falls upon them.

Rules Kids Must Follow

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Children are seen as a gift from God, and Amish parents take their responsibility to raise them seriously. As such, there are a number of rules that Amish children must follow.

They Can't Contact the Outside World

Amish children are not allowed to contact the outside world. This includes talking to people who are not Amish, using phones, and watching television. This rule is in place to protect the young people from being influenced by the outside world.

They Must obey their Parents

Amish children are expected to obey their parents. This includes respecting their elders, following their rules, and doing what they are told. This is in accordance with the Bible's command to "honor your father and mother." This obedience extends to other adults in the community, such as teachers and pastors.

They Must go to School

Amish children are required to attend school until they’re 14 years old. After that, they can choose to either continue their education or start working.

Some Amish children choose to go to college, but this isn’t common. Most Amish children finish their education after eighth grade.

Hard Work is Important

Amish children are taught that hard work is important. They’re expected to help with chores around the house and on the farm and they’re expected to do well in school.

Care for Young Siblings

Amish children are often responsible for taking care of their younger siblings. This includes feeding them, dressing them, and playing with them.

Amish Courtship and Marriage Rules

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The Amish believe that marriage is a sacred institution. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. For this reason, they have strict rules about courtship and marriage. These rules are designed to protect the sanctity of marriage and to ensure that couples are compatible before they tie the knot.

The Amish practice a form of bedroom ritual called "bundling." In bundling, a young man and woman spend time together in the same room, usually fully clothed and often with a board or blanket between them. This allows them to get to know each other without the distraction of physical contact.

The couple will usually start seeing each other around the age of 16. They will go on buggy rides and visit each other's homes. If they decide that they want to get married, they will usually marry within a year or two.

Amish marriages are not performed by a minister but rather by the community's elders. After the wedding, the couple will move in with the husband's parents. The couple will start their farm or business and have their children.

The Amish believe that marriage is a lifelong commitment. If an Amish couple decides to divorce, they must go through a process of public confession and repentance.

The community will also shun them during this period. This doesn't mean that they’re not allowed to see each other or talk, but rather that they cannot participate in community activities.

The Amish also believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. Same-sex relationships are not allowed within the Amish community.

Unmarried Amish men and women aren’t supposed to have any physical contact with each other. This includes kissing, hugging, and even holding hands. This is according to biblical teachings that state that lustful thoughts and desires should be avoided.

The Amish Rules on Technology

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The Amish have strict rules about the use of technology. They believe technology should be used for practical purposes, not entertainment.

The Amish do not have televisions, radios, or computers in their homes. They also do not use cars or bicycles. Instead, they rely on horses and buggies for transportation.

Their homes have conventional items such as under-bed baskets and sewing baskets. They believe technology is a distraction from the important things in life, such as family, community, and God.

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However, the Amish use some technology, such as tractors and generators. They also have phones, but they’re usually located in a central location like the barn.

The Amish believe that technology should be used in moderation. They believe that too much technology can lead to greed and materialism.

Amish Rules on Education

The Amish believe that children should be taught the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, they do not believe in higher education.

After eighth grade, Amish children are usually done with school. They will then start working on the farm. Based on their religious beliefs, they’re exempted from state compulsory attendance that requires students to attend high school.

They believe that higher education is a worldly pursuit that will lead their children away from the Amish community.

They have parochial schools that are taught in English and focus on the basics. A local farmer may donate land for the schoolhouse and a teacher from the community will volunteer to teach. The management is comprised of a board of directors made up of parents.

The Amish Rules on Work

The Amish have a strong work ethic. They believe that hard work is an honor to God. They don’t believe in taking shortcuts. They take pride in their handiwork and believe it’s a reflection of their faith.

Amish businesses are usually family-run and passed down from generation to generation. The businesses usually reflect the community's needs, such as farming, carpentry, or baking. They work six days a week, take Sundays off for church and spend time with family.

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They usually start working around sunrise and take a lunch break in the middle of the day. They usually finish working around sunset. 

They also believe that work should be done in moderation. They don’t believe in working to the point of exhaustion.

Conclusion: What Are the Punishments for Breaking Amish Rules?

The Amish believe in shunning. This is a form of punishment that is used to correct bad behavior.

Amish Shunning is when the community completely ignores an individual. Even though shunned individuals are still technically members of the community, they’re treated as if they don't exist. 

The Amish won’t talk to them, eat with them, or do business with them. Shunning is meant to be a form of constructive criticism. The goal is for the individual to realize their wrongdoings and change their ways.

Shunning is usually used as a last resort. The Amish will first try to work out their differences through mediation. If that doesn't work, then they will resort to shunning.

Breaking Amish rules can also result in ex-communication from the community. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. It’s usually only used in cases of severe rule-breaking, such as cheating, stealing, or committing a violent act.

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