There will always be battles between parents and teens over rules, but you can help your teens learn how to follow rules with fewer hassles when you start by being prepared. Setting limits and consequences beforehand will give you a great position on the battlefield.
- Write Down Your Limits -
Before any professional goes to the bargaining table, they already have a set of terms that are not negotiable. This same strategy helps parents determine what kinds of things they're willing to let slide and which things they will not tolerate before they're in the middle of a heated discussion.
Some things that parents might want to consider in this area are curfews, disapproval of friends, chores, dating, and grades. Personal hygiene, dress, money, and use of free time are other top conflicts between parents and teens. Then use your personal limit list to create a set of house rules.
- Write A List Of Consequences -
One of the hardest things parents face in this world full of commitments are realistic consequences. In the heat of the moment a parent might say... "You're grounded Saturday"... only on Saturday a nephew is receiving his Eagle Scout Award, and the whole family is expected to attend. It would have helped to have thought about realistic consequences in advance to avoid conflicts and unfair or ineffective punishment.
Think about what your teen values. Shortened internet or game time, and relinquishing the cell phone a few evenings is like doing hard time for some teens. Give this a lot of thought and make a personal list of consequences for each child, one size does not fit all.
- Share Your New House Rules -
Lawmakers know that sharing limits, rules and consequences are important if they want people to abide by the rules. If they didn't, people would break the rules then rightly claim innocence through ignorance. Teens are quite skillful in this art.
Have a sit down discussion of your rules lists. Tell your teens that if they have a valid reason that a rule or consequence should be changed you're willing to listen. And do listen, most arguments start because a teen doesn't feel like anyone is listening to their grievances. Set the standard for good behavior and remain calm, listen, and really absorb what your teen is saying to you.
If you let a teen know ahead of time that all gadgets will turn off at 10pm on school nights, or... they will have turn in all portable devices every evening until Friday, they will routinely start to wind up their textings and phone calls before the 10pm. Knowing what to expect prevents emotional flare ups because there is no surprise element to trigger a negative response.
- Be A Role Model -
Teens are watching adults and learning from their behavior. Seeing adults do things like, talking on their cell phones in areas where it's prohibited sends a really bad message. Show your teens that you follow policies and rules, and your teens will be more likely to respect your house rules.