Restoring house rules will help bring the family back into balance.

How to Stop a Teen From Running Your Household

by Kathryn Hatter

Living with a teenager can get unpleasant when he disregards house rules or disrespects your limits. If you feel like your teenager is running the household, it’s time to take back control of your home and reinstate family rules that will stick. Even though a teen may bristle at the idea of limitations, he still needs them. While your adolescent is moving toward independence, he needs a structured and secure environment where he can count on you to allow more freedom when you believe he is ready to handle it.

Devise house rules and expectations that feel right for you, recommends psychologist Michael G. Conner. Rules provide emotional and physical safety for your teen when he follows them. Rules also create an opportunity for developing accountability. When your adolescent has to abide by rules, he develops responsibility and self-control. If he doesn’t abide by rules, holding him accountable teaches a valuable lesson about cause and effect. Basic house rules might include respectful communication, no abusive language or conduct, respecting privacy, curfew, performing chores and attending school.

Sit with your teenager after you settle on the house rules and know your expectations. Calmly tell your adolescent that you haven’t been happy with the family situation and you have created a list of house rules that he must follow while living in your home. Resist anger or hostility as you deliver this message. Instead, speak respectfully to help your teen accept the message more positively, advises clinical psychologist Douglas Riley.

Connect consequences with the house rules and inform your teenage of these results of disobedience. When safe and not detrimental, allow natural consequences to teach the lesson, rather than delivering your own consequences or rescuing your teen, suggests the Parent Further website. For example, if your teen doesn’t keep up his grades, a natural consequence may be the school has him sit out the next varsity basketball game. When you must come up with a consequence, deliver one that fits the infraction, such as earlier curfew for a night or two after your teen is late for curfew.

Enforce the rules and the consequences consistently after communicating them to your teen. If your youngster challenges the new system, reiterate that you parenting and running your household based on your beliefs and values. Don't try to parent like others do. This is your life and your family. When you have the conviction of your beliefs, you have a responsibility to uphold them with your children, including your teen. With consistency, your adolescent should come around and adhere to the rules after he sees your conviction.


  • If you encounter extreme defiance from your teen as you strive to institute these new policies, seek professional assistance, such as family counseling, or if you suspect your teen has a serious issue, such as a mental health disorder or drug dependence, have him evaluated by a professional to get treatment recommendations. If your teen refuses to cooperate with an evaluation, you have the authority to require your teen to cooperate, although you can't force him to open up with a mental health professional. Do it is important to find one who he feels comfortable with and can trust. Do, however, remain firm and insist that your teen cooperate with an evaluation. If your teen becomes abusive or you feel threatened, call for immediate assistance.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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