Tips courtesy Ronn Jeffrey of Youth Alternatives. Play the video for the live interview.
1. Growing up is difficult for all kids. They struggle between wanting their freedom while needed guidance from their parents.
2. Sometimes, as parents, we may not set limits for our children until they have done something we don't like.
3. Setting limits for our kids helps them identify what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior at home, at school and elsewhere.
4. The following tips will help parents set rules both they and their kids can live with.
1. THE "GOLDEN RULE:" SET LIMITS BEFORE THERE'S A PROBLEM:
It's very important that we set and discuss the rules that are important to us with our kids before there is a problem.
It's very difficult to stay calm and set appropriate limits when we're in the middle of a crisis. We tend to over react and set too rigid or strict limits or under react which may cause us to set too lenient limits on our kids.
When we discuss our rules with our kids early we are more patient and our kids are more willing to listen.
2. AVOID ULTIMATUMS:
Most kids see ultimatums as a challenge. As a result they are likely to be resistant if they feel their backed into a corner.
Although it's important for parents to be in charge it is also important for parents to create opportunities for their kids to both understand and give input on rules.
3. BE SPECIFIC AND CONCISE:
Avoid setting vague limits. For instance, it's better to give your kids a specific time to be home than simply tell them to not be late.
Try not to lecture about the rules. It's better to be short and to the point than to repeat yourself over and over again about the rules.
Sometimes it's helpful to put the rules in writing to remind both you and your kids what the rules are.
4. BE REASONABLE AND FLEXIBLE:
Avoid setting rules your kids can't possibly follow. Your view of a clean room may be very different than your kids. Adjusting your expectations may help you avoid unnecessary conflict.
As your kids demonstrate more responsibility, give them more freedom. If they continue to show poor judgement you may need to add more restrictions.
Be prepared to explain your decisions. Our kids are more likely to comply with a rule when they understand it's purpose.
5. ENFORCE CONSEQUENCES:
Remember, your kids need a parent not a pal. Being too lenient may send the message that you don't take your child's behavior seriously, while being to harsh can cause both resistance and resentment.