Parent Contracts are agreements that are signed by both the child/teen and the parent. The agreement states what is expected of the child and also sets clear consequences if the tasks are not performed. They also cover the consequences if certain behaviors or bad habits should arise.
The best part about a parent/child or parent/teen behavior contract is that it sets clear boundaries and expectations. Kids thrive when they know what is expected of them and they know what consequences are around the corner should they not perform or should they step off of the course a parent sets.
Naturally parent contracts can’t cover every single little incident that may arise in the life of a child/teen. But for the most part the contract takes the guess work out of the every day problems that we all have from time to time.
One example of a parent contract is like a chore chart. You can either put chores in the diagram or you can add behaviors or other things that come up. It may be good to remember that consequences don’t always have to be bad. There are good consequences (rewards) for doing the right thing. These rewards can be clearly stated as well. So, on a chore chart, if the child completes the chores they were required to do then they have earned their reward.
The key is being very detailed and to have a conversation about the contract so that you know the expectation is understood. Until the understanding is there, the child should not sign.
The chore/behavior chart above is something that can be modified to meet your needs. Make sure that the chart is specific to the child you are dealing with. Naturally the are teen issues that other children will not be going through. Your seven year old does not need a contract about driving privileges. Your five year old will not need a rules of dating contract.