Enforcing rules in your household is really as easy as actually enforcing them. I know that sounds trite but it’s true. So many parents say that they cannot get their kids to turn off their cell phones, do their homework and chores without a fight. But, this is because they have parents who do not follow through with consequences. I promise, following through with realistic consequences instills in children from the time they are toddlers that you mean what you say.
If you’ve become complacent and now have an unruly disrespectful teenager, it might take a little work to get back on track, but you can do it. Here’s how:
Set the Example — If you are constantly looking at your cell phone, watching TV, or using technology and you expect your teen not to, you’re making a huge mistake. Reflect the behavior you want your child to model and he will eventually catch on.
Eliminate Multitasking — There is a big problem today with the idea that being a “multitasker” is a good thing. In reality it’s a horrible thing and no one performs at their best when multitasking. Studies have shown that people who try to do more than one task at a time make more mistakes. Instead of multitasking teach your child to focus for at least 20 to 30 minutes on just one task at a time.
Be Realistic — When you create consequences to your child’s actions make them fit. Don’t ground your child from important events like a game, prom, and important rites of passage, instead if they are playing too many games and are having trouble limiting themselves you need to take control and do it for them.
Put it in Writing — When expectations are in writing and agreed upon by the family the follow through becomes amazing. Teenagers like feeling as if they have some say over the rules and expectations created for them, let them take part.
Avoid Lecturing — If you feel yourself starting to drone on and on about anything that has occurred stop. Instead start asking questions such as: “How are you going to avoid getting in trouble next time something like this happens?” Put the ball in their court to do the talking instead of you by asking the right kind of questions.
Show Love — The worst thing you can do is act like you hate your child when they make a mistake. I know it is frustrating if a teenager is not listening and it feels like an attack on you personally but the truth is, some of this is a natural urge to separate from the parent and become their own person. While you don’t have to give in, you can still express and show love when you disagree with your child.
Reward Often — Try to catch your teenager doing good things and find a way to reward them. Whether it’s a smile, a pat on the back, a statement of pride or a tangible reward they will appreciate it and want to experience it again.
Say Yes — Find ways to say yes about things rather than no for everything by suggesting alternatives before saying no. Parents who are too strict actually elicit rebellion from their children and teenagers so it’s important to find ways to create balance in the teenagers life so he feels like he’s living the life of a teenager.
Enforcing rules effectively comes about over time starting when a child is a toddler and working up to teenage hood, when it’s time for the child to become more independent and self-controlled. Give your teenager freedom to make choices and suffer consequences as they get older and show that they can handle it.
Be sure to check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen This toolkit offers parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.