Teen Behavior - 5 Way to Get to Compliant Teen
Posted on November 05, 2011 by Deborah Ainsworth
Many times in parenting, we watch our children grow and change, but we don't always grow and change with them. The article helps us to adapt to change
Dealing with Non-Compliant Teens
The teenage years are years of discovery, both for the teenager as well as the parent. As a teen has constant change emotionally, physically and mentally, we also have to change as parents. The techniques that once worked with our pre-teen and children, they may no longer be effective as teenagers. This can be problematic in families if the parents do not grow with their teens, recognizing their changes, adapting to them and finding common ground with their teens. This is not to suggest that teen compliance rests solely with the parents, but as the relationship improves through parenting efforts, so does the compliance.
When teens are non-compliant with household rules and expectations, it is in direct response with how boundaries have been defined, consistently applied and appropriateness for their age and maturity. With non-compliance, naturally comes conflict, and most of which we have not asked nor planned for. Compliance can be difficult if expectations are not understood, never clearly defined or consistently applied.
If you have a teen that is not compliant with the household rules and expectations, there is hope. It is a matter of redefining the terms and conditions with your teen. In addition, it is defining what your teenagers “collateral” is. That means, what is important to them, maybe driving the car, having access to the internet, cell phone and texting etc. You know what is important to your teen, and that will be part of the next steps in getting back on track with your teenager. A great first step is to implement Behavioral Contracting with your teen.
Consider the following 5 Ways to Get a Compliant Teen:
1) *Determine your teens collateral *- Define what is important to your teen and use this for the consequences within your contract. Also determine the positive consequences for compliance.
2) *Define household rules and expectations *- What is important as parents that the teen shows compliance
3) *Develop the Behavioral Contract *- Write down the expectations and what the teens role is. Then write down what the consequences are to non-compliance as well as the rewards for being complaint. It is important to show both the positive and negative as the goal is not to be punitive, the goal is to have mutual understanding and compliance.
4) *Have the meeting *- Have a meeting with your teen and both parents. This shows unity with the parents and it shows that you are serious about laying down the ground rules and getting their buy in. Go over the expectations and consequences and explain why this is needed. Do it in a way that is non-emotional and is strictly the facts. Let them know that you are open to their suggestions and open to talking about. Let them know it is effective immediately and that both parents are going to consistently apply the consequences.
5) *Seal the deal *- Once you have mutually agreed upon the rules and consequences, you and your teen will sign the document that you understand the expectations.
The agreement should not be altered once agreement has been in place, otherwise the contract loses credibility. If there has to be amendments, be sure to make it formal and an addendum to the contract. Another benefit is in less conflict as you have agreement. This builds closer relationships with your teen and helps boundaries to be understood. How many times have you heard from your teen “I did not know I was supposed to do that” or “I forgot”? Having the Behavioral Contract in writing ensures that everyone is on the same page (literally) and once the teen understands that you are serious about this and consistent, they will not continue the behavior.
A few tips to remember, be sure that the collateral makes sense, and is something you are comfortable with. Have an agreement with your partner that you will not waiver on the consequences, both punitive and positive. It is important to honor both to uphold your end of the agreement. Be sure and listen to your teens feedback regarding the contract, but at the end of the day, the parents make the final decision.
Many times non-compliance is due to teens feeling they are equal to their parents in decision making. The Behavioral Contract reminds them that you still are their parents, and just because they are teens does not mean they are done being parented, it just means that the parenting has changed and that you are adapting to them. Take the emotion out of the contract discussion, and if the contract conditions are not met, do not yell or argue with your teen, as the answers are within the contract. Just remind them of the expectations, that they have been broken and now the consequences are in place. To the contrary , when they have met the expectations, celebrate the victory and be sure to include other siblings, especially younger siblings to show how good behavior is rewarded, even with teens!
For support with defining your Behavioral Contracting, consider enlisting the advice from a Parenting Coach.