New Member
Family Foundation School
Hancock, New York
Robert J. Runge, Director of Admissions

Last year, the Family Foundation School asked their students what advice they would give to parents of teens. The following suggestions, obviously from the students’ own experience, are an effective cry for what might have helped them avoid being placed in a highly structured boarding school. Perhaps they may help alert others to the mistakes they saw their own parents make.

Make the rules clearer.

Parents should present a united front

Don’t give us everything we want.

Don’t do everything for us.

Don’t give up on discipline.

Don’t allow us to control the boundary line, because we’ll keep changing it. Make reasonable consequences, ones that you can keep, then hold to them no matter what!

If you’re divorced or not getting along with each other, don’t use us as a tennis ball.

Don’t discuss the rules with us or ask us if we agree with them or like them – we don’t, but we need them.

Don’t lecture for hours – we’re not listening anyway.

Don’t be afraid to invade our privacy. If we’re in trouble, you should read our letters, check our closets, and check our friends.

Don’t let us wear you down.

Practice what you teach – if you get drunk or high, we’ll use it as an excuse to get high ourselves.

Don’t make empty threats.

Don’t blame our friends, our school, or society for our trouble.

Don’t give up on us. Don’t say we’re going through a “stage”. Start discipline early on.

Don’t fight our battles, smother, or overprotect us; for example, if we get in trouble with a teacher, don’t go to school and argue with the teacher. Don’t look the other way.

Don’t be intimidated by us, don’t back off, and don’t walk on eggshells with us.

Don’t be afraid to confront us in public if we’re being outrageous.

You don’t have to prove that we did something wrong. It’s not a court of law. If you suspect us of something, you are allowed to accuse or challenge us, even though you may be wrong.

Don’t clean our room, for us – that’s our job.

Don’t let us talk you into leaving us alone at home when you go away – we’re probably planning a party. By the way, realize that there is no such thing as a 5-person party – “parties” are usually 50 people or one guy (girl).

Always check that we’re really attending intramural sports, getting extra help, or attending that “chess club meeting” when we tell you that we have to stay after school.

You’re not obligated to supply us with money when we go out, especially when we’ve been acting out.

Don’t “baby” us. You’re asking us to grow up, but you sometimes talk to us, treat us, like we’re little and sweet – we’re not.

Don’t keep threatening rehab – just do it.

Don’t send us to our room as a punishment – we’ll protest to trick you, but we really love it there.

Don’t let us bargain with you; don’t compromise.

Take time with us to just talk.

Don’t leave money out – we’ll probably take it.

Don’t trust your friends – we may be getting high with them.

Don’t say, “It’s up to your father (mother).” Don’t refer responsibility. Don’t send us to “double check” with the other parent.

Ask for telephone numbers of friends we say we’re going to stay with – then call the number to make sure we’re really there.

If we’ve ignored your curfew, don’t bail us out when we call you in the middle of the night.

Don’t fall for half-truths.

Don’t fall for our friends “ass-kissing” act. Sometimes we make pacts to impress each other’s parents. Then you’ll trust us and let us go out together. If our friends offer to help with the groceries or take out the garbage, be suspicious.

It’s not a good idea to put our bedroom on the first floor.

Don’t fix special meals for us, let us eat at separate times or in other rooms.

Don’t let us have our own telephones or TVS.

LEARN ABOUT ADDICTIONS! Learn what drugs look like, smell like, what we look like, and how we behave when we’re using them.

Check the windowsills for butts.

Don’t give us random money – it’s too easy to use it for drugs.

Check the direction of the fan in our room – be suspicious if it faces out toward the window.

If you’re looking for drugs, be sure to check light fixtures, under mattresses (especially your mattress), socks, deodorant containers, etc. – we pride ourselves in clever hiding places.

Don’t let us have locks on our bedroom doors.

Be suspicious if we sleep a lot, have red eyes or runny noses.

Be suspicious when we: wear cologne, use mouthwash, chew gum, wear dark glasses indoors.

Don’t fall for the line, “But all the other kids’ parents let them.” Stick to the rules.

Don’t give an inch!

Believe it or not, we want you to catch us, stop us, and outsmart us.


Active Member
Mose, what a great list!
I will definitely want to move this one to the Teens archives after everyone has a chance to see it.



Active Member
Thanks Mose,

What a great list...I printed it out and will put it in a place so I can refer to it often /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif


New Member

Could you also possible post this in General too.

I think there are a lot of parents of late that could benefit from this list that don't frequent this (T & SA) page.

Oh mighty Moderators...I hope this is okay with the powers that be /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif (where's the emoticon with the halo when you need it??)


Active Member
LOL, blb -

I too think it's a great idea for general. I'll put a post in general sending people here if they are interested.



New Member
Ah, yes -- the first floor room. My mom would set a curfew; I would walk in on time and greet her; go to my room and wait for her to go upstairs; then I'd just climb out the window and meet my ride down the street.

When I was 17 my boyfriend (who was 26) wanted me to drive to NY with him to meet his parents. I asked my mom about it. Her response, "What do you want me to say?" I said, "Say, 'NO,' so I won't have to go."


Active Member
Thanks for the list Mose. I printed a copy and sent it to daughter at her Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I highligted the ones I thought I was inadequate with. I asked her to comment on which ones she really needed for us to incorporate into the home when she came home, etc. In short, I tried to use it as a discussion starter. I sent it out yesterday, so we'll see how she replies...