The center of the parent contracts is setting privileges and consequences. Children of all ages thrive when they know what is expected of them and then what will happen if they do or do not do what is expected.
In today’s society too many things are take for granted and not seen as privileges. Parents often assume that telephone use, cell phones, video games, television, personal computers, cars and more are just necessities that you provide for a child. The fact is, not a child on earth really NEEDS these things but they are nice to have. All of these things can be used as “currency” when using parent contracts with your children. Naturally your privileges and consequences will be individual to the child and will be age appropriate.
Removing privileges as a consequence for bad behavior or expectations unmet is a very common parenting method and for many children and teens this works. For example if your teen takes the family car and stays out past the time they were told to be home by, they may lose the privilege to use the family car for a certain number of days or weeks. Removing privileges is unique to the child in that some children don’t care about the things that other children care about. While one child may feel like they will die without video games, another may prefer a book. So, you need to make sure that you choose something that actually drives the point home with your child, not just something that they don’t care about.
The great thing about parent contracts is that the child or children sit down with the parents and they discuss the expectations and they are all in writing, as are the consequences whether they are good consequences or bad ones. The whole family then sees in clear language what is going to happen. All parties sign that they understand which means that you avoid the child saying “how was I supposed to know”. This just prevents multiple problems from creeping up.