Do you just assume that your child is aware of what your family values are? Do just assume that the know not to drink, smoke, do drugs, have promiscuous and unprotected sex, drink and drive and more? It is never safe to assume that your teen knows what family values are unless you clearly state them. If you have a parent/child contract you can create a situation in which you can open the conversations with your teen that are sometimes daunting.
By writing out specifically what your family values are you allow your teen to not only hear your words but read them as well. Keep in mind that some people are auditory learners and others aren’t so sometimes words just go in one ear and out the other. The great thing about parent contracts is that both the parents and the teen sign them and state that they understand things perfectly and know what to accept.
Clarifying your family values is the foundation for all of your other parent/teen contracts. Once you establish a clear set of family values and an understanding of those you are then in a position to build upon this foundation with rules and clear consequences in other parent contracts.
When teens do not know what you expect of them they don’t know what direction to go in and that is when things get scary. Teens without direction from their parents will turn to peer pressure and the influence of friends. You cannot just say that they should learn by example because that isn’t enough. Today’s teens have a lot of pressure on them. They have a lot of images and ideas coming at them from the media as well and you need to be the loudest voice in their world. You need to be the clear voice of reason and unconditional love.