Raising Responsible Children: 7 House Rules for Teenagers
Teenagers want to be as free as a bird. They want to be independent, they want to make their own decision. The best thing you can do, as a parent, is to give them the freedom they want, for this is the only way to learn some life lessons at a young age.
Having said that, there must be house rules for teenagers so that they can know your expectations. These rules should allow your children to make good decisions about their life, but at the same time, the rules should give them the freedom to experiment and make mistakes.
In this post, we will talk about the house rules that parents should establish. Teenagers who follow them grow up to become responsible adults loved by people around them and the rules help them in their personal and professional life.
Here are the rules;
Rule 1: Playing with the cell phone, video games, and watching TV
While these can serve as recreational activities for teenagers, you need to manage screen-time for your children and be mindful of their addiction to video games. For the cell phone, there should be rules restricting its usage to a specific time, and to ensure your teenagers don’t fall victim to hackers and cyberbullying, consider installing a parental control app on their phone.
Rules should also be set regarding when and how long teenagers should play video games and watch TV. If your teenagers watch movies and TV shows on Netflix, read this post to learn how to set up parental control on the platform.
Rule 2: No Substance abuse
With the rate at which teenagers are abusing drugs these days, you need to be on the lookout for your teenage kids. At that young age, they are eager to experiment with a lot of things, and because the pleasure centers of their brain develop faster than their decision making and risk analysis centers, they easily become addicted.
Also, ensure that your teenagers don’t take alcohol until the legal age – which is usually 18. By then, the decision-making and risk analysis centers of their brain would have developed significantly for them to understand the health risk associated with alcoholism.
Rule 3: No to bullying
If your children attend a school that frowns against bullying, they would have been encouraged to pledge against bullying; such schools would constantly raise anti-bullying awareness. Nevertheless, as explained in this anti-bullying article, parents have a role to play in curbing bullying. Therefore, your house rules for teenagers should include talking to your children about bullying.
Tell your teenagers never to physically or verbally abuse their peers or kids younger than them. Encourage them to be polite by using words such as “excuse me, sorry, please, thank you or pardon me” as the situation warrants. At the same time, teach your kids to be mindful and never to be disrespectful when sharing their thoughts on issues.
Rule 4: Respecting others
In this part of the world, we don’t joke with respect, and this is the reason you must teach your kids respect. Set home rules that mandate your teenagers to never disrespect you and your spouse – the parents – as well as other elderly people, whether rich or poor. Also, ask them to be polite and treat guests with respect.
Rule 5: Doing chores and homework
Due to social media and watching too much TV, teenagers may not want to do house chores and their school homework. When they decide to do them, they can get distracted easily; so there should be rules that help them manage their time and get tasks done.
Some of the house rules for teenagers that would make them complete chores and do their homework are as follows:
- Assigned house chores must be done without excuse – unless they are sick or not at home
- Their bags, shoes, and clothes must always be organized in the proper place, not scattered around the house
- Homework should be done before playing with the phone, watching TV, or going out with a friend
- Time should be set by when homework must have been completed
The house chores you are giving your teenagers should be the ones they can handle, and as for the homework, sit with them to help when necessary.
Rule 6: Personal hygiene
Teenagers must be taught personal hygiene from their childhood, and parents should set rules that make cleanliness a part and parcel of their children. The house rules for teenagers regarding personal hygiene should include; asking them to make their bed in the morning and clean their room every day; asking them to always put dirty clothes in the basket; asking them to clean the closets and bathroom; among others.
Rule 7: Knock and wait for a response before you enter
As funny as this may sound, nobody likes it when someone peeps through the keyhole to check if they are inside the room. Courtesy demands that the door should be knocked and the person should wait for a response before opening the door to enter.
The house rules you want to set regarding this include telling your teenagers to always knock before entering someone’s bedroom; wait for a response before entering parents’ and sibling’s bedroom, but parents can knock and enter without waiting for a response.
Make your teenagers understand that these rules are important because the privacy of others needs to be respected – no matter how close they are to them. While setting these rules, make sure you aren’t sounding as if you are controlling them.
Note that it wouldn’t be easy to enforce these house rules for teenagers, your teenagers would argue and protest some of them – that’s normal. For you to have a high chance of succeeding in enforcing the rules, you need to have an open discussion with your teenagers and be consistent with the rules.
The consequences of breaking the rules should also be clear and should be duly followed when the rules are broken. Beyond everything, be a role model for your children. If you appear to be breaking the rules you ask them to follow, you will struggle to make them comply.