The teenage years can be the most difficult part of parenthood. As children this age are developing their own individual mindsets, many parents struggle to keep the balance in their home. However, there are many tools and resources available to struggling parents. If you are struggling with your teens, then a parent teen contract may be a great tool for your family.
What is a Parent-Teen Contract?
A parent-teen contract is a written agreement between parents and teens that work to set clear boundaries in your household. This agreement will address the responsibilities and expectations of all signing parties. Likewise, the contract will create the ability for everyone in the household to be on the same page at all times. Furthermore, this written agreement reduces the gray areas of parenthood and negative behavior stemming from unclear boundaries.
Benefits of a Parent-Teen Contract
There are many benefits to a family contract. One of the best benefits is teaching responsibility and accountability to all parties involved. If the contract is broken by the teen, it teaches them that their actions always have consequences. Writing out your expectations and consequences will allow your teen to have a clear understanding of their position and role in your household.
Having open conversations with your teen will help them build their self-esteem. As you sit down with your family to create the contract together, it provides an open relationship and communication between the teen and the parents. Even the most dysfunctional families can benefit from the organization of a contract agreement.
What Should a Parent-Teen Contract Include?
A family contract should be created with all parties present. The involvement of your teen in this process allows your teen to speak and be heard. This should be a happy process. You can include any details that are relevant to your household. However, there are four elements that should be included:
Create a thoughtful list of expectations for your teen. Then, allow your teen to create a thoughtful list of expectations for you as their parent. The expectations attribute of the contract is the most important. This is what gives everyone a clear idea of what everyone expects from one another. Have an open conversation with your family about all expectations that you would like to include in your contract.
This section is the second most important element of the contract. Setting clear consequences for the actions of both parties will eliminate additional stress during these raw moments in parenting. Allowing your teen to involve themselves in their consequences gives your family the opportunity of open discussion in your household. Use this section to refer to when applying consequences to your parenting.
As your teen develops mentally and emotionally, privileges will become more important to them. In this section, you can work with your family to set clear guidelines on what your teen is able and unable to do. As parents, you can also include your own privileges.
A contract becomes binding after all parties sign the document. Providing your signatures signifies that all parties are in agreement and understanding of all the elements involved in the contract. This section will hold every single member accountable for their actions and expectations of one another.
A parent-teen contract should start as an open discussion between you and your family. Avoid arguments and negative behavior during the creation of the contract. This aid should be used as an equal opportunity for parents and teens to discuss their wants and needs openly.