Having a teenage son is not easy, especially if he’s a very active and independent 13-year-old. If you have a teen in the family, then you know what I’m talking about. My son, Mark, is a great kid, but at times it’s really difficult to make him stick to the rules. Nevertheless, I’ve found many ways to set some boundaries for him without him even noticing them. Here’s how.
Don’t set unreasonable boundaries
My first tip is to never set unreasonable boundaries. Yes, you will keep worrying when he comes home a bit later than you feel comfortable with. And yes, you will keep wondering what does he write in all those Facebook conversations. But if you love your child, you have to understand that trust is essential in every relationship. So try to set boundaries and limits in such a way that both of you are comfortable.
A reward for every boundary
Unless you are a born dictator, you can’t expect your teen to painlessly accept all boundaries and never rebel against you. Call me tricky, but I play on my son’s weaknesses and give him a small reward for every boundary I set. Some extra time playing his favorite game, letting him use my smartphone (he’s not allowed a smartphone of his own), and so on. For example, we study Spanish every day for 30 minutes and after that he gets to play computer games. This seems to work for us in such a way that everyone is happy.
Talk to your teen
And my last tip is very simple: remember that your child is almost grown up now. You can discuss everything with him or her and in most cases your kid will understand that you are not trying to set limits just because you are mean. Of course, everything depends on your relationship and on how you communicate, but I’ve found that discussing things works most of the time. Here is an example: my son wanted to stay out until 2 a.m., which of course is a no-no. My husband went up in arms when he heard this, so the boy reacted instantly. It wasn’t easy to persuade them both to calm down and I had to ask my husband to leave us alone in the room to talk. I then explained to Mark that his dad was worried because he loved him. We talked and in the end we agreed that Mark could stay at his friend’s until eleven.
There is no universal recipe for setting boundaries and making them as painless as possible. But if you discuss things and use common sense, everything should work fine.