Children are both excellent negotiators and often highly manipulative. They have an entire, seemingly innate, ability to throw emotional ammunition at their parents, in a bid to get what they want most. Have you ever told your child “No” to something, only a few minutes later saying yes just so they stop bugging you. Perhaps you’ve asked your child if they’ve done something and they have flat out lied to you? Bad behavior is unacceptable and one of the best ways to prevent bad behavior, and to protect parents, is to set up a family contract.
Why Set Up a Family Contract?
Family contracts take the pressure off the moment and instead of having to come up with consequences on the spot when your child has acted out, these can be already outlined in the family contract. The family contract also eliminates any ambiguity – everything is clearly outlined so there is no debating whether or not your child knew they were in the wrong – they knew, knew the consequences and acted anyway.
In the most basic terms a family contract just makes things easier for both you and your child. Your home will become a lot more predictable and in turn more stable. Your child’s behavior will improve because they will become more aware of the fact that there are consequences for their actions. If you implement an effective consequence, the overall net affect should be a more balanced and predictable home, with better behavior, increased respect and more compliance with house rules – which is something most families would benefit from.
How Does a Parent Benefit From a Family Contract
The main benefit of a family contract is that everything is clearly out in the open. Your child will now know what is expected of them, and if they choose to violate any house rules they are doing so knowing there will be consequences. A good family contract will explain what will happen when any of the house rules are violated. Part of ensuring that your child abides to the family contract is by implementing effective consequences. If you do not outline consequences that motivate your teen, then they will simply not be motivated to abide by your house rules, making the contract effectively useless.
Often when children are caught behaving badly, lying or stealing they will be dishonest and say that they didn’t realize they were doing wrong. It is, of course, much more difficult to punish someone when they are claiming that they didn’t know they were making a mistake in the first place. This often a trick by children who knew very well that they were violating a house rule and are desperate to minimize the consequences. When things are outlined in a family contract, everything is clear and as your child has signed it – it symbolizes that they agree to all the rules and any respective consequences. This eliminates your child’s ability to deny knowledge or to pretend that they didn’t know they were making a mistake, making them significantly more responsible for their actions.
Have you struggled to implement a family contract in your home? What kind of bad behavior is your teen is exhibiting? Implementing a family contract can really help ensure that you are protected from some of the common manipulation techniques your child might try to leverage you. Let us know. Send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org