Parenting a teen is not easy. Guidance and structure are important during this trying time of growing independence. Patterns that we set for our children will likely be used for their kids and, possibly, the generations after that.
Quite simply, if you do not enforce the rules you do not have rules. There must be meaningful consequences for disobeying house rules. Clearly communicating expectations is crucial to maintaining peaceful relationships. The parents not clearly defining their expectations of the teen to the teen most often cause frustrations between parents and their teenagers. Thus, our frustration is not the result of any current situation; it is the result of your expectations not being met.
Sense of Safety and Fairness
A parent can establish a sense of safety and fairness by communicating the reasons for the boundaries. Use language your child understands. In response to a recent question, I told my daughter “A lot of other kids have more freedoms than I am comfortable with. As your father, I have the responsibility to do what I feel is acceptable regardless of what other kids get to do.” My daughter knows that every decision is founded in love. “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres”, 1 Corinthians 13:7.
Cell phones are a large part of our daily lives and they contribute to our busyness. It seems that we are never disconnected. It is important that we set boundaries for cell phone use. Otherwise, children may use them continually for email, games, social media etc. A teenager may view your cell phone limitations as inhibition and restraint but explain to them the importance to disconnect from all the ways they are connected with others. Private time provides an opportunity to find their individual voice. Read more about reasons you should spend more time alone at Psychology Today.
We all know that as one gets older, the relationships get more serious. Dating is a way to learn and is a natural process of growth and development. Personally, I do not allow un-chaperoned dating before the age of sixteen. However, by this age, parents have to trust their teens to conduct themselves as expected, as well as to have Godly discernment concerning the people that they develop relationships.
Sixteen is usually the year teens begin driving. Driving gives a lot of freedom, and opportunity to explore their independence. Driving also provides an opportunities to build accountability by driving safely, taking care of the car, allowing enough time to get to their destination etc. The National Safety Council research shows that car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. As parents, we must caution our teens about the dangers of driving. Begin by making sure your kids understand that they are not to use a cell phone while driving a car. According to Teendriversource.org, teens with parents who set rules and monitor their behavior in a helpful, supportive way are less likely to speed, crash, or drink and drive. Another good fact to remember while on this subject is that teenagers learn by watching their parents. In fact, they begin watching how we drive ever since the dream of getting their own license entered their minds.