Setting Limits for Teenagers

10 Tips to Setting Limits with Your Teenagers

You can help your child successfully navigate their teen years by setting limits. When setting limits with your teen, consider these  10 tips:

1. Clearly communicate

Be clear and be concrete when it comes to the rules and the consequences for breaking them. Don’t give your teenager an opportunity to circumvent the rules by using a loophole.

2. Be consistent

Consistency is the key indicator at how effective your limit setting will be. It takes a lot of effort, but being consistent will pay off.

3. Be upfront

Let them know what exactly what is acceptable and what is not. Don’t leave your teenager guessing when it comes to understanding what is acceptable and what is not. Talk about what TV shows, video games, music and more is considered appropriate in your home.

4. Understand what is a privilege versus a right

Privileges, like cell phones, can be easily revoked. Food, clothing and shelter are rights and should not be withheld as punishment.

5. Understand teenagers need guidance

The cause and effect part of the brain isn’t fully developed until we reach our 20s. Kids can’t always measure the meaning of their choices and need help navigating the complicated teen years.

6. Appear caring rather than controlling

Let you teen know you are his ally. Take an interest in what his opinion and talk about why you view things differently.

7. Have a “This is mine and you are using it” attitude

Communicate to your teen that the car, the cell phone, the Internet and the TV are yours and you are allowing him to use it. When you do, your teen will have to accept that because the items are yours, you do have the right to know what calls, who emails, what texts are coming in and what your electronic devices are being used for.

8. Give your teen oversight and accountability

Empower your teen to make choices and hold him accountable for the choices he makes. Be enforces of consequences, rather than rescuing him from them. When we rescue our teens, we reinforce that the bad choices were okay.

9. Teach your teen the way your family does it

When your teen wants to do something his friend does and you won’t allow it, approach the situation by communicating that it’s just not something your does. When addressing why something isn’t acceptable, speak in terms of your family rather than by saying something is right or wrong. When you do, you’ll appear less judgmental.

10. Have a written agreement

Consider drafting an agreement with your teen that outlines the house rules, driving rules and behavioral expectations. When you do, you’ll eliminate any confusion.

Strong fences make strong kids. While your teen is discovering who he is and what role he’ll play in this world, having boundaries and limits can help him to do it safely.


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