Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



November 2010

How to Set the Rules that Will be Effective on Your Teens

by Staff, on at risk youth, rule settings, rules for teens, set the rules, teen rule setting, teen rules

In order to get along with your teen the way you should and to raise him properly you will need certain rules. This is the part where most parents make their mistakes, they either make the rules too strict or too lame or they change them too often or don’t change them at all, and there is a need to change certain rules with certain years.

In order to make sure that your rules are in order you can ask these questions:

-    Are your rules reasonable, are you asking too much of your teens?
-    Did you explain your reasons for these rules to your kids and do they understand them?
-    Do you have too many rules?
-    Are those rules actually applicable, realistic?
-    Did you let your teen take part in the making of these rules?
-    And the most important question, whose needs are met with those rules? Your or your child’s?

Of course these questions will help you in making the rules or changing them to be more appropriate with age. When your teen is older and capable of making his own decision you may want to include him into decision and rule making. In some cases you may need to strengthen the rules or make them realistic, or even totally give them up if you are not able to enforce your own rules. But don’t be too easy if your child is challenging the rules, even if your rules are not strict they will challenge them.

In order to make your rules effective and productive you need to make the consequences fit the criteria:

-    The first and the basic rule of rules and consequences are to make the punishment fit the crime. Just grounding your kid for everything he does will not leave the best effect, so if your child breaks a neighbors window the best punishment would be to help pay for it or help your neighbor in a way that will make up for what he did.
-    You also need to make sure that your rules are in the sphere of normality, grounding your child for a year because he was late from school or something small is not normal and will lead your teen to rebel.
-    But even so, the punishment should be something unpleasant to your teens that will make them think again before making the same mistake.
-    The punishment should be able to demonstrate what happens when there is no self control. You may take away their driving privilege until they learn to respect the rules or something like that, or on the other hand you may give them a few more privileges and more freedom if they deserve it.

It is hard to find the right type of rules and consequences for your child, and don’t just copy your friends, their children are theirs, yours are special and only you can find the appropriate rules. But sometimes you need to be cautious, you know that teens can be pretty hard on themselves as well, which in some cases may bet the perfect punishment and you don’t need to add more.

The bottom line is that rules and consequences for your teens are there to teach them about responsibility and how to make decisions on their own, smart decision. If you manage to find the right consequences and the right set of rules for your teen you may help your teen mature and understand discipline and responsibility. Staff