Teenagers want to be as free as a bird. They want to be independent, they want to make their own decision. The best thing you can do, as a parent, is to give them the freedom they want, for this is the only way to learn some life lessons at their young age.
Having said that, there must be house rules for teenagers so that they can know your expectations. These rules should allow your children to make good decisions about their life, but at the same time, the rules should give them the freedom to experiment and make mistakes.
In this post, we will talk about the house rules that parents should establish. The rules are basic, and society expects them to be followed. Teenagers who follow them grow up to become responsible adults loved by people around them and the rules help them in their personal and professional life.
Here are the rules.
House Rules for Teenagers You Need to Establish
Honesty is a highly desired moral character. So, as a parent, you need to set house rules that encourage it. Let your teenagers realize that lying is unacceptable, and the consequences for misbehaviour will be more severe if they lie to cover up.
Advise them against cheating, and tell them to fulfil their promises, as the breaking of a promise can lead to a lose of trust. Note that you and your spouse must be honest in dealing with the children and other people around if you want the house rules to be effective.
Your children wouldn’t follow the honesty rules if you and your spouse don’t lead with example.
#2. Respecting others
In this part of the world, we don’t joke with respect, and this is the reason you must teach your kids respect. Set home rules that mandate your teenagers to never disrespect you and your spouse – the parents – as well as other elderly people, whether rich or poor.
Also, ask them to be polite and treat guests with respect.
#3. No to bullying
If your children attend a school that frowns against bullying, they would have been encouraged to pledge against bullying; such schools would constantly raise anti-bullying awareness.
Nevertheless, as explained in this anti-bullying article, parents have a role to play in curbing bullying. Therefore, your house rules for teenagers should include talking to your children about bullying.
Tell your teenagers never to physically or verbally abuse their peers or kids younger than them. Encourage them to be polite by using words such as “excuse me, sorry, please, thank you or pardon me” as the situation warrants. At the same time, teach your kids to be mindful and never to be disrespectful when sharing their thoughts on issues.
#4. Substance abuse
According to the Addiction Center, drug and alcohol experimentation is one of the top things teenagers want to try out in their formative years. Sadly, because the pleasure centres of their brain develop faster than their decision making and risk analysis centres, they easily become addicted.
Therefore, ensure your teenagers don’t start taking alcohol until the legal age – by setting rules that prohibit going near alcohol. By the time they get to the legal age, which is usually 18, the decision making and risk analysis centres of their brain would have developed significantly for them to understand the health risk associated with alcoholism.
As much as you try, you may not be able to completely prevent your teenagers from taking alcohol. In conjunction with making them understand the health risk of taking alcohol, set rules about over-drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol.
In the case of drug abuse, it is a big NO. Set rules that strictly prohibit the use of drugs.
#5. House party
Once in a while, your teenagers may want to bring their friends home for a party. So, there must be house rules for teenagers regarding house parties. These rules should mandate your teenagers to seek permission before arranging the party and the party mustn’t be done without adult supervision; this is to make sure teenagers don’t do immoral things during the party.
The rules should also include the prohibition of alcohol in the party.
#6. Knock and wait for a response before you enter
Nobody likes it when someone peeps through the keyhole to check if they are inside the room. Courtesy demands that the door should be knocked and the person should wait for a response before opening the door to enter.
The house rules you want to set regarding this include telling your teenagers to always knock before entering someone’s bedroom; wait for a response before entering parents’ and siblings bedroom; but parents can knock and enter without waiting for a response.
Make your teenagers understand that these rules are important because the privacy of others need to be respected – no matter how close they are to them.
#7. Doing chores and homework
Due to social media and watching too much TV, teenagers may not want to do house chores and their school homework. When they decide to do them, they can get distracted easily; so there should be rules that help them manage their time and get tasks done.
Some of the house rules for teenagers that would make them complete chores and do their homework are as follows.
- Assigned house chores must be done without excuse – unless they are sick or not at home
- Their bags, shoes, and clothes must always be organized in the proper place, not scattered around the house
- Homework should be done before playing with the phone, watching TV, or going out with a friend
- Time should be set by when homework must have been completed
The house chores you are giving your teenagers should be the ones they can handle, and as for the homework, sit with them to help when necessary.
#8. Playing with the cell phone, video games, and watching TV
While these can serve as recreational activities for teenagers, you need to manage screen time for your children and be mindful of addiction to video games . For the cell phone, there should be rules restricting its usage to a specific time, and to ensure your teenagers don’t fall victim of hackers and cyberbullying, consider installing a parental control app on their phone.
Rules should also be set regarding when and how long teenagers should play video games and watch TV. If your teenagers watch movies and TV shows on Netflix, read this post to learn how to set up parental control on the platform.
#9. Personal hygiene
Teenagers must be taught personal hygiene from their childhood, and parents should set rules that make cleanliness a part and parcel of their children.
The house rules for teenagers regarding personal hygiene should include asking them to make their bed in the morning and clean their room every day; ask them to always put dirty clothes in the basket; ask them to clean the closets and bathroom; among others.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn was quoted to have said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Some people have tried hard to disprove this quote, but despite that, we always see that in our society whereby people behave like their friends. As a result of this, parents that don’t want their children to go wayward must set rules that influence the kinds of friends their children keep.
Ask your children to be wary of the characters of the people they want to make their friends. Encourage them to introduce their friends to you, keep a tab on the activities your teenagers are engaged in when they are with their friends, and set rules on the amount of time your teenagers can spend with their friends.
While setting these rules, make sure you aren’t sounding as if you are controlling them.
#11. Road safety
At age 18, a child is allowed to drive in Nigeria. If your teenagers haven’t gotten to the age but request to learn how to drive a car, explain the driving law to them. When they get to the appropriate age, teach them how to drive and get them a license.
If your teenagers proceed to a standard sixth-form college, after their secondary education, they will be taught how to drive; so you don’t need to worry yourself about teaching them – or enrolling them in a driving school. However, you need to set rules about over speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, not wearing a seatbelt, and chatting on the phone while driving.
Note that it wouldn’t be easy to enforce these house rules for teenagers, talked about in this article. Your teenagers would argue and protest some of them – that’s normal. For you to have a high chance of succeeding in enforcing the rules, you need to have an open discussion with your teenagers and be consistent with the rules.
The consequences of breaking the rules should also be clear and should be duly followed when the rules are broken. Beyond everything, be a role model for your children. If you appear to be breaking the rules you ask them to follow, you will struggle to make them comply.