While your teen may look like an adult, their brain is still developing. Guidance, modeling behavior and setting boundaries are still important, even if it is harder than when they were young.
Allow Choice within Limits
Your teenager is growing up. Begin to give them choices. My son, who is 17, has been choosing his own clothing from websites for several years now. He knows we are on a budget and is open to suggestions. Setting parameters such as, “You can pick any pair shoes that does not exceed this price” is a win-win approach. If they want to spend more, have them contribute to the cost either directly or by doing some extra chores.
While the days of supervised play dates are a thing of the past, real dating should not be encouraged in younger teens. State an age when you feel your teenager will be ready to date and stick to it. Research shows that a lack of parental supervision and hanging out with violent friends is associated with teen dating violence.
Teens often get in trouble the afternoon, while parents are away at work. Having planned activities such as clubs or part-time work helps protect teens. Help your teenager find positive things to do after school.
Keep Hold of the Keys
Wield the control you have over your teenager, especially access to a car. Don’t get them their own car. Make them to earn the right to use your car. When I tell my son he cannot go to a friend’s house until he picks up his laundry, it helps to have the keys in my control.
Sneaking out to attend parties is more difficult if keys are not in their pockets. Teens are much more likely to have an auto accident, especially if they are driving with other teens. Teach them to see driving as an earned privilege.
Mete Out Consequences
Written rules or contracts can help clarify boundaries for things like curfews. Free behavior contracts are available online. When your teen crosses boundaries, there should be a consequence. Older teens can lose driving privileges for unsafe driving or going places without permission. Restricting access to cell phones or gaming systems is reasonable if a teen fails to complete homework.
Be civil and matter-of-fact when announcing the consequence. Use the broken record technique–keep repeating a phrase such as “You will get your cell phone back when I see the completed assignment.” Ignore drama and threats. Your teenager is learning reason. Set a good example.