Discipline in the home often goes without consistency, and can be somewhat ambiguous. Family contracts can be used to encourage positive behavior and hold kids and teens to their responsibilities. Also, they can be a valuable tool for teaching kids accountability for their actions and incorporate their cooperation in good decision making and disciplinary action. Creating a family contract needs to be a thorough effort. The resulting product should consist of a written agreement, willingly signed by both the parent and the child.
When creating a family contract, there are a few important factors to remember. It must have precise wording, that stipulates the exact behaviors that are expected and a time frame for compliance. Some ideas for family contracts include staying drug/alcohol free, completing homework on time, and not staying out part curfew. However, the terms of the contract should be specific to the behaviors on which your child needs to improve. Another important part of the family contract is your child’s participation. Children who help design the contract and come up with ideas for rewards or privileges are more likely to comply. Each expected behavior needs to have a corresponding reward, to encourage success. Punishments, or consequences, may be included as part of the family contract. However, it is important to keep agreements as positive as possible.
Family contracts help children make good choices and allow disciplinary actions to run more smoothly. Kids and teens will know exactly what is expected of them and how to work for their desired rewards. The contract will also outline discipline in a way that removes all ambiguity and hold them accountable for their actions. They serve as a teaching instruments, behavioral modification plan, and organizational tool for any family who uses them. In order to get your kids on board, make sure they know that the family contract is a way to help them get what they want from life, while teaching them to be successful. Follow the terms of the contract consistently for best results.