What is a privilege? Do you feel like your kids just take things for granted and never appreciate what you do or what they have? Spend some time going over these contracts with your child to let him or her know what the privileges are in your house. Most kids just expect that because they breathe they are entitled to a computer, cell phone, TV, and their IPod. Let them know that going out to the movies with family or friends is a privileges and not a right. This is also a good time to let your children know what they will be losing if they choose to disobey. Take time with your child and define what grounding and consequence means. Does grounding mean, in your family, that they can still watch TV but they can’t listen to music, or they can still play video games but can’t connect with friends on Facebook?
There are many different types of privileges and just as many consequences that can go along with them. Having a privileges contract that is specific to your family values, means, and structure will ensure that your parent contract is a success. A behavior contract is a great way to set forth expectations about how much time a teen can spend playing a video game, how much time it is expected that each child will spend doing homework each evening, and under what circumstances a child or teen will have a cell phone, iPod, or any other electronic device. Will you let your teen have a computer in his or her bedroom? How will you monitor what your teen is using the Internet for? What is the consequence for using a social networking site inappropriately? Cyberbullying has become so prevalent that cyberbullying statistics show more than half of all adolescents have been bullied online. Use a behavior contract to make sure your child or teen understands that online bullying is not acceptable and what will happen if he or she participates in it.
The Privileges Contract has sections for:
- Home phone
- Cell phone
- TV/video games
- Networking Sites (MySpace, Facebook)
Each of the sections has its own consequence for violations. Several of the consequences have loss of privilege(s), these would be those privileges. Be sure that your behavior contracts are clear and that you determine which behaviors and consequences are tied together and what is expected for maintaining the privileges they currently have. Using a privileges contract in conjunction with a chore chart or behavior chart can help younger kids earn privileges for showing responsibility. However you choose to define privileges within your family, behavior contracts will help you sort out the details and provide the opportunity for discussing them with your adolescent. The more you discuss family values, teen behavior expectation, privileges and consequences the better your chance of success. Don’t wait for a problem or undesirable behavior to talk about your family values, use these behavior contracts to work with your child or teen and prevent the problems altogether.
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