If you’ve got teens at home, I’m sure you want the best for them. You’ve already done the hard part of raising them-now you get to enjoy the rewards. If your high school kids are heading back to school, it might be time to consider a few house rules they need to follow while they’re under your roof.
House rules for teenagers can help make life less stressful for both parents and teens. Ask your kids to check off each item they’ve completed. It will help them develop a sense of self-control. There are also a few bonuses to the list, that is, advantages to the whole family.
For many parents, instilling a set of rules around the home is the backbone of their relationship with their teenage children. However, creating house rules that are both reasonable and effective can be challenging, especially when it comes to balancing the issues of independence versus parental guidance.
There are a lot of tough situations to navigate, as most parents know. Raising your teenager can be one of the toughest. You want them to be independent but you don’t want them to make the same mistakes you did, and the best way for that is to make sure they don’t stray from the right path in the first place. Establishing house rules for teenagers is a good way to do that. The rules don’t have to be long or complex; in fact, they shouldn’t be too formal, as they are meant more as guides than actual laws.
If you are a parent of teenagers, you know that adolescence causes more stress than any other stage in life! Teenagers want to become independent, but don’t want to listen. They need a lot more guidance than when they were children, but don’t always want it. How can you balance the support and encouragement of a child with the guidance and rules you need to provide as a parent?
Here are 22 house rules for teenagers who are ready for some independence.
- No smoking or vaping anywhere on the premises.
- No alcohol or drug use.
- No shouting and slamming doors.
- Everyone has to help out with chores and with taking care of pets.
- You have to tell us where you’re going and when you expect to be home.
- You have to tell us if your plans change, but you only have to do so one time. If we don’t hear from you by 10pm, you’re grounded.
- Be Respectful to Your Guests and Visitors
- Don’t Enter My Room Without Knocking
- Ask Me for Permission First
- Never Answer the Door When You are Alone in the House
- Do not leave the house without your keys, your phone, and an ID card — but not all of them at the same time!
- When someone is talking please look them in the eye and respond appropriately. We are always happy to answer a question; we are less happy when someone ignores us entirely while we are trying to make a point. Feel free to ask questions after we finish making our point, but listen carefully before you ask them.
- No girls in the house when mom and dad aren’t home.
- Clean your room.
- Agree to not use foul language in the house.
- Do not use vulgar language on your phone.
- Show respect for family members by keeping an open line of communication with them no matter what is going on.
- You must come home by curfew.
- Yes, you need to do the dishes.
- You must ask permission before inviting guests over to the house.
- You may not stay overnight at others’ houses until age 15 or 16, and only then if we know the parents very well and meet them before. (or maybe this rule would be stricter for a girl than for a boy).
- Be kind to your siblings (even when you don’t feel like it).
- Never accept a drink from anyone other than the bartender or a server at a restaurant and always keep it in sight at all times.
- Don’t get into a car with someone who has been drinking alcohol or using drugs — even if he/she says it’s okay, it’s not and we are happy to come pick you up.
- Always travel in groups of three or more — never go anywhere alone.
- Don’t ignore your friends’ bad behavior. If they are doing something you know is wrong, encourage them to stop. If they refuse, leave or call us to drive you home.
- If you need help, call me – day or night. I don’t care what time it is, where you are or who you’re with. If you need help, call me and I’ll come get you immediately no questions asked!
Rules that teach them Safety
Teens will be teens, and that can be scary. There are some things you simply can’t control, like how your teen manages their social life or how they treat their body. However, you can set rules and guidelines around your home to help keep your teen safe.
Set limits on cell phone use in the car. Establish clear rules about passengers, speeding, and other safety violations.
Talk with your teenager about drinking and drug use. Discuss the dangers of drug use, describe your disapproval of drug use, and set clear rules and consequences for breaking those rules.
Talk with your teenager about sexual behavior and birth control measures for safe sex practices. Explain why you disapprove of certain sexual behaviors and set clear rules and consequences for breaking those rules.
Remember that teenagers are still growing up emotionally as well as physically–they may behave in ways that seem risky or dangerous but actually represent normal adolescent development.
Car Safety: Make sure that the vehicle that your teen is driving is safe and sound. If it’s an older car that needs repairs, don’t let your teen drive it until it has been fixed. Have a mechanic look at the brakes and tires; make sure that the windshield wipers work properly, and ensure that all lights are working.
Locks: Make sure you’re comfortable with the safety of all locks on doors, windows and vehicles. Install deadbolts on doors, add window locks if necessary, and limit access to house keys or provide your teen with a key chain alarm.
Rules that teach them Morality and Values
The rules you set for your teenager should encourage responsible behavior, and allow your teenager to learn independent decision-making skills. The rules you choose should also help your teenager learn to make good decisions when faced with peer pressure.
A teenager in your home can be a difficult experience, but you have the power to teach your teen how to make good choices. Set up rules that reflect your family’s morals and values in order to shape your teen into a responsible adult.
- No lying, no matter what. Tell the truth.
- If you get in trouble, own up to what you did. The punishment will be less severe if you do not try to blame anyone else or attempt to cover up your misbehavior.
- No cheating on homework or tests. You will learn more if you actually do the work yourself, and you will build better character by not cheating.
- Do not steal anything. If you forgot your lunch money and need food, tell me before school starts, and I will give you money for lunch.
- If a friend says something bad about another person, do not join in with the gossiping. It is unkind and hurtful to speak negatively about other people behind their backs.
Respect for Others
- Always be polite to teachers and other adults at school and home. This includes saying “please” and “thank you,” keeping hands to yourself, etc.
- If your siblings are busy doing homework or some other task that requires concentration, do not interrupt them unless it is an emergency (for example, if there is an earthquake). If it’s not an emergency, wait for a break in
- Rules should encourage respect both inside and outside the home. Your teenager should show respect to family members as well as authority figures such as school administrators and police officers.
Obedience: Create rules that require obedience to parents and other authority figures, such as teachers and police officers. Disobedience is common in teenagers and can often lead to problems at school or with the law enforcement community. Rules that require obedience help teach teens to follow the rules of society, which can help them stay out of trouble.
Loyalty: Set rules that require loyalty to family members, friends, churches and other groups your family belongs to. A strong sense of loyalty helps teens develop strong relationships with others so they don’t feel isolated from society.
Rules to teach them Real World Scenarios
Teenagers need self-discipline so they can live independently. Establish rules that grant some freedom and allow for natural consequences when appropriate.
Dating: Let your teen know what you expect in terms of dating behavior and make sure they understand the limits of acceptable behavior. Be sure to have conversations about sex, alcohol and drugs so your teen is well equipped to handle situations that arise in the real world after high school. Establish rules about what time your teen needs to be home on school nights, weekends and during vacations.
Chores: Help your teenager learn how to take care of themselves and their space by setting up a chore schedule. Start with household chores and include tasks such as laundry and cooking meals independently. Once your teen is ready, establish a rule that they will need to help out around the house in order to get money or screen time.5
Technology: Set rules about screen time and establish consequences for not following the rules. Also, set rules regarding internet usage, social media and texting that are reasonable for your family’s situation.
Your child will experience many transitions during their teenage years as they prepare for life as an adult. As you create new house rules, be sure to discuss them with your child so everyone is clear on the expectations
Independence: Gradually give your child more independence throughout the teenage years, so they will be ready when the time comes for them to live on their own after high school.
Give Responsibility: By the time kids reach high school, start giving them responsibility around the house, such as cooking meals and cleaning up after themselves. This will help teach them important life skills so they are ready for adulthood.
Money: Teens need to learn how to manage their money and make good choices. Help them understand how to live within a budget and create house rules that require them to help with some of the expenses around the home so they can better prepare themselves for adult life.
Self-discipline: Teenagers also need self-discipline so they’ll be able to live on their own. Set boundaries, but don’t smother your teen in rules that prevent him from making natural mistakes and growing from those experiences. The teenage years are a great time for teenagers to learn from their mistakes before they leave the house.
House rules should promote safety.
Many parents establish house rules that are intended to keep their teenagers safe. These rules include curfews, driving restrictions and monitoring of phone use. House rules should also address safety concerns that relate to your family’s lifestyle and location. If you live in a dangerous neighborhood, for example, a rule requiring that your teenager be accompanied by an adult after dark may be appropriate. If a family member suffers from allergies or a serious illness, the presence of pets in your home may make it necessary to restrict or ban pets from your home.
Your Teenage Daughter
Your teenage daughter may need some rules that are specific to her. For example, if you are concerned about her safety on dates, set a rule that she must be home by 11 p.m. or let you know where she is going to be if she will be home later than 11 p.m. You might also want to set some rules about drinking and smoking if these are issues of concern for your family.
Your Teenage Son
Teenage boys often need rules that encourage them to be responsible with their school work and to avoid too many distractions like video games and TV time. Rules about not using the car without your permission and getting adequate sleep can help prevent problems as well.
One set of house rules does not fit all families.
A teen who has a history of acting irresponsibly will have different house rules than one who is responsible and mature beyond her age. House rules should be tailored to meet the needs of individual families. When setting house rules, consider the level of maturity and responsibility of each family member and what is needed to keep every member safe.
House rules should also allow for changing needs as children grow older and more independent. Teenagers, for example, often need more freedom than younger children do. Parents need to strike a balance between keeping their teens safe and giving them the space they need to behave appropriately within the limits they think is appropriate.
We want you to be safe and responsible when you are at home and when you are away from home this summer.
Teenagers need rules to keep them safe and guide them through the difficult process of becoming an adult. When kids are very young, parents have lots of control over their lives and can set a lot of rules. As children grow up, you probably will allow them to make more choices about how they spend their time and who they spend it with. But that doesn’t mean you should stop setting rules altogether.
Your teen can get some practice in following rules and making good decisions by setting house rules for teenagers. These rules might include everything from doing chores and homework before playing to curfews, transportation and acceptable behavior. Just be sure you don’t have so many rules that your child feels smothered.