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  • Consistent Limits

  • Set LimitsAs a parent, it is your job to create rules, order and limits. Though it may not seem like it, your teenager wants you to do this.

    Kim Waggoner, LICSW, says, "Your teen may ask permission to do something they do not want to do, knowing that you will say 'no.' They do this because now your 'no' can be used as an excuse to offer their peers as to why they cannot attend a party, get in a car with a new driver, etc."

    She adds, "Never underestimate the power of peer opinion. It means everything to your teenager right now. For that reason, you need to be the voice of reason speaking for your teen," adds Waggoner.

    When you create a rule, such as a designated curfew, you must stick to it. When your teenager breaks a rule, there must be a consistent consequence. Your child cannot believe that your rules are easily adjustable and breakable. Send clear and consistent messages!

    There are, of course, exceptions to certain rules. For example, prom night may be one of those exceptions. Nearly every teenager in America will ask his or her parents for a curfew extension on prom night. It is okay to negotiate an extension when the occasion is obviously special. However, the key word is "negotiation." When you are considering bending a rule for your teenager, he or she needs to understand that it is a big deal and one that warrants a serious discussion.

    Waggoner says, "Your teenager has to provide you with good reasons as to why a curfew extension is necessary. What is she doing in those two hours? She needs to convince you that the time will be positively used. In addition, the message needs to be conveyed that rules are important, and if there is to be a compromise, there must be a very good reason for it."