Archive for December, 2009



Rules and boundaries are important for teens.

Just because teens want and need freedom does not mean for you to give it to them completely. I know for me, I lost respect for my parents because I knew I could get away with basically anything. Yes, they had rules but they weren’t enforced. They threatened us with punishments, but never really followed through with them and I knew they wouldn’t. I knew that if I didn’t do the dishes I’d get yelled at but I wouldn’t care and someone else would end up doing it for me. That’s only one of many examples.

Teens like to push limits. They like to see what they can get away with. They’re not stupid; they know how to work the system.

If you’re a parent who has basically done away with rules or punishments, then sit down with your teen and give them some tough love. Tell them that things are going to be different, and that there will be punishments. Please, please, please don’t make the mistake of empty threats. Yes, your teen will most likely put up a fight, but isn’t it worth it if you gain back their respect and the rightful authority in your parent-teen relationship?

If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and are insanely strict, please understand that teens do need freedom. They need to feel like they are growing up and that you do trust them. Learn to respect them, otherwise they will go crazy. 

In either case, teens need to earn trust to have that freedom.

Finally, if there are two parents in the house, sit down together and set up your rules and punishments together BEFORE talking with your teen. It won’t work if one parent undermines the other. For example: if I wanted to go watch a rated R movie, I would ask my stepdad because my mom wouldn’t let me and he wouldn’t care. If my mom got mad, I would just say that I did ask permission and he said it was okay.

It’s harder if you’re dealing with a split family, but do the best you can. If you aren’t civil with the other parent, then just be sure that your home if unified and be gracious if you sense attitude when your teen comes home. It’s not easy to transition from one set of rules and then to a completely different set.

Don’t get discouraged if there are arguments about it. Be persistent; your kids need to know that you have the authority and they need to learn to respect it.  They will appreciate it in the end.

~ Sheena, 19