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Teen Boundaries: Setting The Rules And Rewards




Teen Boundaries: Setting The Rules And Rewards


Teen boundaries are often the most difficult of all rules to enforce.  As your child gets older, you will need to give them more freedom and that means more opportunities to disobey the rules when you are not looking.  For young children, hiding a playmate's toy is one thing, after all you usually would find out what they did.  As teenagers, you probably will not know what they are doing every waking minute. This is worrisome, but it can be one of the best feelings to know that your child has the ability to make good decisions and to be confident in their well-being.


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Teen Boundaries: Setting The Rules And Rewards

Walking The Line


One of the balancing acts that parents have to have with teen boundaries is to know where the balance beam is.  You need to be willing to give them freedom so that they can go out into the world and make a place for themselves, with you there to help pick up the pieces.  On the other hand, you cannot be so out of the loop that you do not realize what is actually happening and not see them go too far.  This is often the most difficult of places for a parent to be, but one of the most important places for you to consider.


Setting Rules


The teen boundaries you set will need to provide them with some ability to be part of their world, in whatever limited or non-limited form you would like. Yet, many parents will find that giving their child more freedom does not mean poor parenting. Set rules that allows your child to make some decisions for themselves.  This way, you can see what type of person you have raised and you get to learn just how well they are able to live in the real world. 

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Here are some tips to help you to set teen boundaries for your children.


·       Sit down with them and be straight with them. Let them know what you expect from them in terms of the lifestyle they will lead as a teenager and beyond. Let them know you trust them, but that you also are watching to make sure they deserve that trust.

·       Trust them.  If you are continuously checking the mileage of their vehicle, they will know about it and they may feel as if you do not trust them.  This could push them into doing things to push you farther.

·       Encourage their decision-making abilities.  As you set new rules, talk to them about them.  What do they believe is fair, and what is not?  Find out from them what they believe they can do.  This way, a compromise is formed and ultimately, both parties feel like they got what they wanted.

Perhaps the most important part of setting rules is following through with them.  No matter what teen boundaries you put in place, be sure that you are following through with punishment when they do not follow them.  Unlike a young child, teenagers won't do well with time out.  Rather, their punishments can increase as well.  Not being able to go out with friends, being unable to drive the car or having other privileges taking away from them can sting enough to keep them from making the mistake. 


If you do not follow through, chances are good they will continue to push the envelope. Realize that as a parent it is up to you to make the rules and to follow through with them.  At the same time, when your child does well, reward them.  This may mean giving them the ability to do more or to get more.  The key here is notice when your child is doing well and rewards them for doing so.  Ultimately, this will be the best way to get them to continue to follow the rules.


Teen boundaries do not always have to be set in stone.  And, they will likely change over the teen years.  Having them and letting everyone know what they are is the best way to encourage your teen to do well.  In many ways, the goal is to work with your teen to establish goals and safety measures.  You are not necessarily looking to punish them, just to protect them.  Let them know that.


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