Developing rules for your teen gives him the chance to blossom into a responsible young adult.

House Rules for Teenagers to Live By

by Victoria Thompson

What word comes to mind when visualizing a teenager living without rules? Chaos. It may be difficult for a teen to realize that parents establish house rules due to love. The parent does not exist to be her child's best friend for life. It is her job to provide an environment with structure and guidance. A parent's ultimate reward is raising an independent, successful adult.

1. Keeping a Curfew

When a teen is given a curfew, he's also given the ultimate choice of breaking it or upholding it. Breaking curfew lets parents know that he handles independence irresponsibly. This choice will probably come with the consequence of spending many weekends in the house, instead of around friends. Making the correct choice and respecting the rules of the house gives the teen more freedom and builds parents' confidence in his decision making.

2. No Unsupervised Friends

Teens tend to be social and love being around friends. It's great if your house is the best house in the neighborhood to "hang out," as long as you're there to supervise the gathering. Inviting friends over while parents are absent is a recipe for trouble. You could have the most trustworthy teen, but peer pressure has a strong and sometimes damaging attraction. It's also important that a parent has met all the friends in the circle and has some idea of what the friends do when gathering.

3. Complete Chores

Completing chores may be last on your teen's list of preferable activities. Assigning chores is more than making sure the bathroom is sparkling clean; it's a lesson in discipline and survival skills. Junior won't always live under your roof and needs to learn to live as a mature adult. Determine a chore schedule and even set up a chart, if having a visual helps. Doing chores a little at a time makes the concept of cleaning less overwhelming.

4. No Texts or Calls After Bedtime

Too much texting late at night can rob a teen of adequate sleep, leaving him irritable and unable to concentrate. Establish a texting cutoff time on school nights. His peers need to understand that he's not fully accessible 24 hours a day. To limit temptations, take your teen's phone when he goes to bed and return it the next day.

5. Complete Daily Homework

As your teen completes his high school years, homework will become more challenging. Establish uninterrupted study time after school to limit procrastination. He should study in a quiet, uncluttered area, without blaring music and television. It may seem juvenile to him, but check his homework for completion. You might not comprehend the majority of it, but this gives you an overview of what he's doing in class.

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