If you have a teenage son or daughter, then you might be well aware of the fact that they are itching for a sense of freedom. You might be experiencing your teen refusing house rules – whether that is by wanting to stay out past curfew, taking the car at an inconvenient time, or refusing to make their bed; as your child gets older, they will undoubtedly want more of a release from their responsibilities within your home. Let’s cut right to the chase of things, though; if your son or daughter is still living at home (whether or not they are 18 or have a job), they should still be following your rules.
While this concept might be difficult to enforce as your teen gets older, it should be an unwavering construct (that can even be discussed before your child gets close to moving out and making their own way in the world). Of course, certain privileges present themselves at specific times when raising a teenager, but your child still needs to understand that your house means your rules – regardless of how old they are.
House Rule Examples
Let’s break down some of the basic teen house rules that can be implemented within your home; not only will these rules keep your teen safe, but they can also help to foster self-respect, a load of responsibility, and the ability to know what is healthy for both mind and body.
Curfew times: many teens have a set curfew; this will vary from family to family and can change with the age and responsibility of your teen. For example, you might have a 10 pm curfew set for your teen during the week, while weekends might extend to 11 pm or midnight. This curfew that you are setting is for a reason – not only to keep your child safe (because what are they getting into after midnight that they can’t do during the day?) but also to allow your child to get adequate rest.
Hanging out with friends: while initially, you might not think there could be rules placed around who your teen hangs out with, it’s necessary to have some foundation here. Who your teen spends their time with will eventually impact their lives in one way or another, so knowing who those kids are and what they do in their free time is crucial. Do you know your teen’s friends? Do you know where they go after school? Check-in with your son or daughter, ask about their social circle, and if needed, let them know they’ve got a set amount of time to spend with friends after school.
Homework and after-school jobs: these two factors are probably not top of mind for many teenagers; however, both work and school need to be front of mind for your child for a plethora of reasons. If this means setting aside specific time after school to get homework done or working on weekends to have spending money, your teen will learn the value of time well-spent…as well as how hard they have to work in order to earn money for fun things.
Consequences of Rule Breaking
Even with these types of rules in place, your teen needs to know there are consequences for breaking them. Staying out later than you allow, skipping school, being late for work, and using their cell phone while driving are all just a few examples of how your teen might push buttons and test the validity of your rules. The most significant factor to keep in mind is that your teen needs to know there are consequences for breaking the rules (losing car key privileges, not being able to go out with friends on the weekends, etc.). Regardless of the consequence you provide, you need to follow through with it if your child ignores your home rules.
If you find that your child’s behavior is not improving – and they continue to show blatant disregard for your home and your rules – then it might be time for more support and treatment. There are boarding schools that enforce teen discipline, as well as care centers that can focus one-on-one with your teen to improve their behavior.