Teenagers need boundaries that are clear, consistent, and allow for some self-expression. Boundaries are nothing more than a set of limits designed to give teenagers the responsibility of making their own choices. Mistakes are to be expected and it’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure the teenager learns from the mistakes that were made.
Teens need clear boundaries that allows them to make the decision of following or not following the boundary that was set. A curfew is an example of one of the first boundaries that parents utilize. One of the best ways to have a clear boundary is to have the teen repeat the curfew time. That prevents a lot of the excuses that teens like to make like, “I must have heard you wrong” or “I thought you said” type of excuses.
Consistency is very important when setting effective boundaries. Using curfews for example, it shouldn’t change based on what the teen is doing, or who the teenager is going to be with. The time is the same every night. Obviously weekday nights are much different than weekends, but Friday night should be the same every time. Consistency also means a flat tire doesn’t change the curfew time.
Punishments should also be consistent. The punishments don’t have to be the stiffest ever, they just need to teach the teenager the ramifications of their actions and to not make the same mistake twice.
Allow teen to express themselves
When setting a boundary for your teenager, allow them to offer their opinions. A teenager is more likely to follow the rules, if they feel they had input during the creation of it. Just remember it’s not a negotiation and in the end it is your decision and your decision is final. Another common boundary is internet and video game usage. I have seen many parents that don’t allow internet or video games during the school week. Other parents don’t even set a boundary. This comes down to a parents own value system and there is no correct answer. Just be consistent with whatever boundary you set up.
When it comes to teenagers I always encourage using a trust, but verify system. Trust that your teenager is doing what you asked, but verify from time to time as well. Following the tips above will help make sure that your teenager has the ability to make the correct decisions.