In Creating a Family Rules List, Part 1 – we focused on the toddler to pre-teen years. In part two, we move into the critical teenage years.
The Teen Years
It’s generally understood that in the teen years there is a greater understanding of rules and consequences. Child custody tends to be less structured and is adaptable more to the schedules and tasks of the children, even with a child custody order in place. With this group, there will likely be less hilarity associated with the effort and more serious discussion as everyone comes to an understanding. With their age it is also generally understood that there is a greater level of freedom and responsibility. The collaborative effort still instills a mutual trust and respect between the parents and the kids, but you’ll likely all come to the table already understanding what is expected, particularly if you have developed a process over the course of their upbringing. Therefore you may openly discuss from the get-go what the list will primarily consist of including:
- Homework or other school work that is incomplete, turned in late, or not turned it at all.
- Late getting home for curfew or late arriving for dinner.
- Disrespect talk or actions.
- Failure to complete agreed-upon chores.
- Smoking, use of drugs or alcohol.
Depending upon the age and severity of the infraction, the sanctions might include some of the very same listed for the younger crowd. They may also include loss of driving privileges, grounding for some period of time, an earlier curfew, a delay in obtaining driving privileges, and suspension of extracurricular activities.
When you all have agreed to your household rules list and consequences, it is unquestionable that the collaborative effort means that everyone is on the same page. Parents have articulated the expectations of the children. Children know what to expect from the parents. Now is the time to type and print out the list for everyone to sign or initial. Then post it prominently in the home. Perhaps you’ll post it on the refrigerator, the family bulletin board, or frame multiple copies and hang them in each child’s bedroom.
You may also use this same methodology to create a “Chores and Rewards List,” too. Further, with a blended family, you minimize the potential for there to be issues regarding “unfair treatment” of one set over the other. Consistency breeds harmony and this effort can be one that is a positive lifetime memory.