Posted: July 28, 2010 in Home, Parenting
Tags: , , ,

It is not uncommon for homes to have rules and boundaries for curfew and chores and things such as these. Let me suggest some you may not have thought about:

1. Spending Time is Non-Negotiable

If you want your relationship with your teen to move beyond entertaining them and providing for them you will need to schedule it and be regular with it.  A weekly father/son breakfast or a father/daughter dinner to spend some time developing your relationship needs to be a non-negotiable. Make it a rule – we will go out and eat together once a week. “If you don’t show up, you owe me $10. If I don’t show up, I owe you $25”

2. Listen More Than You Talk

In simple terms: Keep Quiet! Instead of always nagging, correcting, cajoling, or critiquing – just be quiet. Look for opportunities to lead the conversation around to where you ask your teen to explain their point of view, their solution to a problem, or how they arrived at a conclusion, then allow them to talk. Don’t try to correct their thinking – just let them talk.

Some parents just need to zip it. Teenagers today need to know they have someone who will truly listen to them and not judge them for what they say. So sharpen your own listening habits, and your teenager may just learn how to listen to you. Your home needs to be a place where everyone listens so make it a rule.

3. Lighten Up! That’s an Order!

Some families need to learn to laugh together. So, make it a rule to do something wild and wacky together every week. Parents today take themselves and their teens way too seriously, at times. I still remember the day that I lightened up with my kids.  I decided to enjoy them and try to get them to enjoy me more.

4. Our Rules Will Be Periodically Reviewed

Rules need to be reviewed from time to time to see if they are still appropriate as your kids grow from childhood to teenagers. For example, “We must hold hands crossing the street.” Now, that was appropriate for little children, but for a teenagers it would be, well, just weird! Likewise, a rule such as “curfew is 9 o’clock” for a 12-year-old may be obsolete for a 17- year-old.

Nothing undermines rules, even in society, more than when they are totally inappropriate, for example:

In Hartford, Connecticut, it is illegal to cross the street walking on your hands.

In Memphis, Tennessee, it is illegal for a woman to drive a car unless there is a man either running or walking in front of it waving a red flag to warn approaching motorists and pedestrians.

In Washington, it is illegal to drive an ugly horse.

In Youngstown, Ohio, it is unlawful to run out of gas.

By the way, some rules never change and these are the kind of rules that apply to all family members, including the adults. They generally have to do with the values you hold dear, like: respect, morality, family observances, faith, common decency and societal laws.

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