Creating and setting rules and consequences with your teen can be a painstaking process. You may feel that your teen doesn’t require any rules, or you may find it to be a pointless task because your teen won’t listen anyway. In fact, rules play an important part in your teen’s life. Here are the reasons why it’s necessary for you to establish rules—and involve your teen in the process.
Your Teen is Accountable
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If your teen knows about your expectations for schoolwork and dating, they’ll be more accountable if they break a rule. After all, it’s hard for a teen to take responsibility if they never knew the rule existed in the first place. An effective way to ensure your teen stays accountable is by making a list together. It’s easier to hold your teen responsible for breaking a rule that they deemed fair and acceptable than it is for a rule that they never agreed with.
They Feel More Comfortable
Teens who understand the rules and the consequences of breaking them feel more comfortable because they know what’s required of them. Because you’ve both decided what the rules and repercussions are, there are no surprises. Furthermore, this transparency means that they won’t be worried that you’ll suddenly change the rules without letting them know—they’ll be assured of your honesty.
You Show You Care About Their Well-Being
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If you have rules in place concerning curfews and negative habits, your teen will see that you care about their well-being. Although your teen may grumble when they have to return home earlier than their friends, they’re also more likely to feel secure in their relationship with you because they know you make rules to ensure they stay safe and healthy.
They’re Less Likely to Rebel
Teens usually rebel when they feel unheard by their parents. By involving your teens in the rule-making process, you’ve taken the time to listen to them, which means they’ll be less likely to act out in defiance. More often, teens will avoid engaging in dangerous behavior such as drinking alcohol or sneaking out if they know that an appropriate, pre-determined punishment will be applied as a result.
Making Rules That Stick
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It’s important for both you and your teen to compromise and consider each other’s point of view when making rules. Allow your teen to make their case in regards to what they think would be fair. If your teen makes valid points or suggestions, acknowledge and validate their ideas while also making sure they understand that you have the final say in what rules are created along with the corresponding form of discipline. For instance, you can both agree that a curfew will be set but you can discuss what time they should be home by and whether or not it should differ according to weeknights and weekends.
Setting rules and consequences with your teen can help you and your teen improve your communication skills. It can also help your teen gain a better sense of accountability and responsibility. Teens will feel more secure with rules in place, and you’ll feel more assured in implementing rules that have been mutually agreed upon. In the end, your relationship with each other will be all the better for it.
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