Parenting Contract 101

Parenting Contract 101Are you struggling to deal with your child’s bad behavior? Do you find yourself constantly frustrated by your child?

Chances are you need to consider implementing a parenting contract in your home. We’ve compiled the perfect introduction to parenting contracts so that you can get started making your own one today.


What is a Parenting Contract?

A parenting contract is a formal agreement between you and your child designed to make sure that things in your home run more smoothly. It can outline a variety of aspects of the home including:

  • Behavioral agreements
  • Internet/Computer use
  • Phone/Cellphone/TV/Game use
  • Visiting friends
  • Home Responsibilities
  • Allowance/Pocket Money
  • Bed Time
  • Dress/Hygiene
  • Attitude
  • School Attendance/Grades

And anything else that applies to your home. The point of a parenting contract is to clearly outline things we would tell our children, ensuring it’s “set in stone”.

How to Create a Parenting Contract

When you have some spare time you should sit down and write a list of all of the things that you think are important for a home contract. You should look at the list critically, some things will be really important and some things will be “wants” or “wishes” – sometimes it’s a good idea to leave the less important things off the list so you don’t overwhelm or burden your child with too much.

Once your parenting contract is ready you should sit down with your child and talk through it. It’s important that you’re open to negotiation with your child, as this is something that affects them too. The more input they have into the parenting contract the more likely they are going to abide by the contract. Children respond more readily to parents that they consider to be fair. It’s more important that your parenting contract is effective than it is to eliminate all the problems you have with your child.

How Does a Parenting Contract Benefit My Child?

Children need consistency and stability in order to flourish properly. A parenting contract provides considerable consistency because instead of merely having to listen to their parents, there is a well thought out explanation of what is expected of them. You child will be better able to understand what of kind of consequences they can anticipate for their actions if they break a home rule. This means that when your child makes a decision they will be in an education position, more able to weigh up the consequences and then decide whether they still want to follow through.

How to Make a Parenting Contract Effective

There are a few things you will need to do in order to make your parenting contract as effective as possible. The first thing is, as we have previously mentioned, is to get your child involved. You can let them negotiate some of the home rules or you can get them to help decide the consequences for infringements on the parenting contract – either way, the more involved your child is the more likely they are to take the contract seriously.

The second step to making the parenting contract as effective as possible is to implement some effective consequences – some consequences that truly motivate your teen. Think about what they enjoy most, whether it’s their cell phone use, visiting their friends, spending their pocket money or using the car to get around. These are things you already give them or give them permission to enjoy and they are the perfect consequences for bad behavior or ignoring house rules. You can easily turn these luxuries into leverage in order to transform your child’s behavior.

Have you made a parenting contract for your home? What do you feel that you need to include in yours? Making a parenting contract might be the one way to really improve your home and your child’s behavior. Let us know. Send us an email on questions@homecontract.org