When a child becomes a teenager, the old rules no longer apply: At this stage in their lives, teens demand more freedom and want to contribute to the decision-making process – rightly so.
Yet rules and boundaries remain important.
“Parents should very clearly tell youngsters what they absolutely cannot do, when there is room to negotiate and what the consequences will be, in case there’s any doubt,” says Dana Urban, of the online advice service of the German child guidance committee.
The most important thing is to make sure that teens face the consequences of not following the rules as soon as possible.
For example, if you have agreed with your daughter that she has to be home by midnight, and she shows up at 2am without warning, she should not be allowed to stay out till midnight next time.
Parents need to be clear about the consequences of a teen’s actions. The message to the youngster should essentially be: If we can no longer trust you, prior agreements no longer hold and you will be risking your freedoms and rights.
However, setting boundaries during puberty is only one aspect of raising a teenager. It is also important that parents continue to talk to their children and treat them as an equal.
“It could be worthwhile for adults to reflect on their own youth,” Urban notes. “That usually allows them to automatically stay a bit calmer.” – dpa