Why, What and How of a Teenager Contract

Why, What and How of a Teenager ContractTeenagers are tricky things, their hormones are going crazy and they are both unpredictable and emotional. Dealing with teenagers, at times, can be nothing short of a nightmare. If you are fed up of dealing with a defiant teen or living in a home that lacks respect, then you need a teenager contract.

Why Would You Need a Teenager Contract

You need a teenager contract if your child is not following your instructions, not respecting your house rules or is just acting out. Many parents tolerate their child’s bad behavior because they love them and they hope it is just a stage, but this is not fair on you or the rest of your family. You also need to consider how your teen’s behavior affects their siblings, friends, teachers and classmates. If you tolerate their bad behavior you are essentially telling them that you think it is acceptable.

Even if your teenage has relatively good behavior, your home can still benefit from a teenager contract because it allows you to be more consistent in your parenting. Because of the nature of a contract – it is written in ink and signed by all parties – it consistent and not up for debate. A formal contract allows your teenager to be able to predict the consequences if they break certain house rules, allowing them to make more educated decisions.

What is a Teenager Contract

It is a formal written agreement between teenager, parent(s) and often other siblings that outlines the house rules and expectations of the child(ren) in the house. Any number of things can be covered in a teenager contract and they are most effective when customized for the particular family.

Things that are commonly included in a teenager contract:

  • Cellphone Use
  • Computer/Internet Use
  • TV/Games Console Use
  • Behavior and Attitude
  • Expected School Grades
  • School Attendance
  • Room Upkeep
  • Help Around The Home

There can also be sections about personal dress, hygiene expectations, restrictions on who your child can associate with, rules for when your child is visiting other homes, expectations when friends are visiting and so on. Basically a teenager contract is supposed to be designed so that all your expectations and rules are laid down for your teen to understand clearly.

How to Set Up A Teenager Contract

Setting up a teenager contract can feel really intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Spend a few days brain storming things you want to change in your home and things you think you need to be clearer to your teen about. Make a long list of all the things you want to change and then choose things that are really important. If you come to your child with an overwhelming list, they will feel really awful. If your list is too pedantic they will find it very difficult to take you seriously; so it’s really important you find a happy medium.

Once you have the outline of your teenager contract ready, you should sit down with your teen and get their opinion on the contract. Be open to negotiation and remember they will feel very differently to the contract compared to how you will feel. Your teen is slowly – and in some cases very slowly – becoming an adult, so it’s important that you allow them some input into this contract, especially as it will encourage them to feel more ownership of it.

It’s important that you bring up the contract with a teen when it is the best possible time for both of you. A new contract will take some adjustment, so it is a good idea to avoid periods of high stress, such as when your teen is studying for exams. If you both go into the discussions with an optimistic outlook, the teenager contract will be much more successful.

Have you successfully set up a teenager contract in your home, what did you find worked best? Any tips for encouraging teenagers to get involved in making a contract? Let us know. Send us an email on questions@homecontract.org.