Setting Rules

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When setting rules for your teen, remember to keep them few and simple. Some parents believe more rules make for more harmony, but it is just the opposite. We ran a group home with only 10 rules. Our rules covered the basic topics and were based on the Ten Commandments and The Golden Rule. You usually can list a rule in such a way that it is not too specific. For example, list your rule as "Don't use chemicals", instead of listing a rule for drugs and alcohol each. Or "Obey bedtimes and curfews", which is easier than setting specific rules for each item.

Some things you expect of your teens should not be considered rules. There are those things we do as members of a household. For example, we expect everyone to pick up after himself, and we don't allow people to throw trash on the floor. These and others are common courtesy issues that should not be considered rules, such as no violence in the house, no swearing at each other, and no using abusive language. If these things are happening in your home, you need counseling, not rules.

Remember, when setting rules they should be enforceable, realistic, and fair.

Credits: Jo Ann Wentzel

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