I want to say in advance that the following is done by two members named Blondie and Pico who were amazing members here years ago. To say that they had wonderful advice is putting it mildly. I miss them both. I have quite a few of Pico's posts saved and I will post more when times allow. She really had a way with words. Well, Janet, teen-dom is a whole set of special challenges, isn't it? in my opinion all teens are difficult children -- at least periodically, and some of them, CONSTANTLY! Lol... My House Rules are short, sweet, and very, very simple. They are the same basic principles by which Mother raised us (and about a jillion foster kids) -- and Grandmother and Grandaddy set them up that way for their kids,too....Come to think, Mother's siblings all seem to have raised their own kids by those guidelines, sometimes in very adverse circumstances. Hmmm.... Which means, I suspect, that they have stood the test of time pretty darn well. Although they may sound excessively simplistic to some, I'll explain a bit later why they have endured and why I still firmly believe that they gave me a better handle on Rotten Kid -- and my other two kids too -- than I may have otherwise had. (They also work really well, for the most part, with nephews and other assorted munchkins -- RIGHT PICO?? Lol...!) Rule # 1: You will have nice manners. This means using courtesy in your dealings with other persons. Family members are included in that. Rule #2: You will tell me the truth. No matter how appalling it is. Lying dishonors you and demeans the other person (see Rule #1). Rule #3: You will not sulk or whine. It is beneath you; furthermore, it is the second tactic -- secondary only to lying -- that will absolutely guarantee a negative response to your current wishes, desires/expectations/demands. ***With all the above goes the general principle/overview, often reiterated: I am your parent. It is up to me (inherently part of the job description), to make certain that you are safe and healthy, and that you have the opportunity to grow and learn and receive the proper care; to reach your full strength as a contented , fulfilled human being. Therefore, it is my responsibility to make decisions about your well-being, which I feel are in your best interests. If I am uncomfortable with something you would like to do, or with an activity you have already performed which is unhealthy for you, then I AM OBLIGATED (!!! Sheesh my kids hate this part!) by my love and concern for you to say: a) I'm not comfortable with this.b) I do not believe it's in your best interests. Therefore, I cannot condone it, and IT'S NOT OKAY WITH ME! c) I believe you respect yourself enough to understand the above reasoning. You are always free to express your opinion and your ideas to me; we may both learn a lot from this exchange of ideas. BUT: even though you may disagree with me, you do realize that the privileges you have, and the enjoyment you get from other activities, are a result of my belief that you will exercise good judgement in those situations. Don't prove me wrong. I often find it necessary to temporarily "disengage" from the situation ("We will continue this discussion later; I need time to think a bit.") so that I can get my ducks in a row and remember what the goal is here -- *correction*, not *retaliation*! Sigh... Like many parents, especially those of teens and pre-teens, I am a committed believer in "Natural Consequences". When violations occur, sometimes what husband and I end up doing -(well, mostly me, but husband is at least more supportive --Thank GOD!-- than he once was) -is having a conference with the offender. -The extent and the circumstances of the infraction are briefly laid out. Then I'll ask the culprit for her perception of the rule(s) she's broken right now; how she views the infraction. - She is told, calmly but very soberly, that we are disappointed in her, and that we feel disrespected. - Also, that a major reason for this disappointment, is that she is a better person than her behavior is currently showing. If needed, a few examples of this are given. - Then we move into "The Penalty Phase", sigh. Everybody's least favorite portion of dealing with consequences of bogus behavior. Since the teen has already evinced a clear understanding of what the infraction was and what it entailed, I will sometimes ask if *she* can think of an appropriate, consistent, (and ENFORCEABLE! Lol!) consequence for the unacceptable behavior. Doesn't always work, of course, sometimes we get the defiant ol' "I still don't see why you guys wouldn't let me..."(fill in the blanks) In which case Mom says: - "I realize what you're saying to me, Mousie. (Or Bug, or whomever). But I believe if you think about it a bit, you WILL understand; you're a bright kid. *However*!! Even if somehow you *never* really understand, the fact remains: This is the decision we have made; you violated that, and therefore it is up to you to deal with the result." Not to write an encyclopedia or anything but: As regard the basic Rules above, if you think about it, they're actually pretty comprehensive and allow for lots of problem-solving, criteria measuring, and application of principles by the kids. Rule #1 doesn't permit disrespect or discourteous behavior -- whether it's to strangers, teachers, or family members.And it encompasses items right down to basic etiquette,table manners, not butting into/interrupting other people's conversations, and so forth. Lying --nuff said. We had a go-round this spring with my 14 y.o. that really took the cake: Lied to me, lied to friend's father, then lied to me about lying about it!! Sheesh! It did not get her anything good... Lying is pretty much the cardinal sin in my book. Whining and sulking -- well, it drives me nuts and is the LAST way to get what you want in this house! Plus it, too, doesn't get you anything good except "Go to your room until you can be civil; this discussion is over." Good luck hon. E-mail me if you want. I think they ought to give all of us mothers with teenagers The Distinguished Service Medal, The Purple Heart (one for each teen!)and Hazardous Duty Pay...and Combat Badges!! Lol... Love, Blondie 07-25-2000 01:41 PM #19 Guest Re: House rules and consequences for teens What Blondie said! OK. I DO have my own version, too! Three years ago, when FUZZ went into the children's psychiatric inpatient unit the first time, they had us fill out 22 pages of stuff. On the top of page 11, there were exactly two lines of space where they asked us to list all house rules! Now, I was so frustrated by that, I went ahead and finished the rest of the intake paperwork and then went back, by which time another forty minutes had elapsed, and I was able to define our expectations succinctly enough to fit their space. (I assumed they presume if a kid is there, the parents have no rules???) Well, I boiled it down to this: The Ten Commandments, and wash after you pee. Now, you may think I jest, but you know what? I can't think of anything a teen can do that can't be covered by at least one of the Ten commandments. Especially Honor thy father and thy mother. I really like that one!!! My kids have also had Blondie's take on lying drilled into them. Fuzz even told someone in group therapy a week or two ago, "The ugliest truth is better than the prettiest lie." Yes!!! Consequences: Like most, it depends on the kid and the situation. Like Jerri, there are times when I had to put Fuzz on such a short leash that he was sure he would be retired before he ever got any privacy. You know what? He respects his privacy now. And me, as well. Natural consequences work really well. Had to pull one of those the other day on easy child. He hadn't done his chores. What's new? He asked if he could go somewhere. I simply said, "No." And that was all. A while later he asked why. I said, "As long as you ignore what I want, I will say 'No' to whatever you want." Well, knock me down and mow my grass. He got it. And it will probably take some more of it before he develops the habits I am expecting, but you know what? He really does like being allowed to go places and do things. And when I ground a kid, he knows it cost him more than he got out of it. I don't want a kid calculating whether the price is worth paying for the infraction. If he has to think about it, the consequence is not adequate. Just my nasty opinion. But then, Fuzz is not through adolescence yet, so don't paint me an expert!!! LOL!!! But Blondie is right. There are certain core values, however you dress them up, that are essential. And if the kid has those as a foundation of who he is, and how we all expect him to be, then the rest is bells and whistles. If he doesn't have those, the rest isn't going to matter to him anyway. love pico PS. I think this will be archive material in a few days, whaddaya'all think?