Include your child in discussions about setting curfews and other house rules. Listen carefully to what she says. Compromise where you can.
When you encounter resistance in areas involving safety and other non-negotiables, try to use independent data sources to help justify your reasons for setting limits.
What you can say
“Sofia, we need to come up with a weekend and a weekday curfew. Let’s find a time that will allow you to get enough sleep to meet the challenges of the school day, but also allow you to have fun at parties and other social events.”
“But I need you to remember there are two reasons I don’t want you to go parties where kids are drinking. First, it’s illegal and I don’t want you to get in trouble with the police for underage drinking. Second, studies show that drinking impairs judgment and inhibitions. I don’t want you to end up doing things you really don’t want to do.”
Why this will help
Even though tweens and teens may object, they welcome limits. House rules provide a sense of security that allows them to explore and challenge boundaries. This is a normal part of adolescent development.
Rules tell them their parents care about their well-being. Being part of the decision-making process will have a positive impact on their self-esteem. It will also get them to examine possible options and consequences. This will be particularly helpful for kids with attention issues, who are more likely to follow rules they help establish.
Rules will also be easier for you to enforce if they’re built on compromises. Giving in a little as a parent can feel like a huge victory for a child, and the outcome will be better for everyone.