The teenage years can be a trying time for both teens and their parents. Teens are faced with a number of dangers and have some tough decisions to make. Plus, they can struggle with issues like grades and responsibility. On the other hand, parents are often faced with the challenge of getting their teens to cooperate and may have to deal with rebellious teens, deception, and insubordinate behavior. However, teen contracts help to eliminate the defiant behaviors of teens and encourage them to take accountability and develop good decision making skills.
It is human nature for a teen to struggle for independence. No one likes being “told” what to do. A teen contract gives the teen the ability to help make and agree upon good choices. At the same time, it outlines rewards or disciplinary actions, so they understand accountability as it relates to their decision making. For example, a teen contract may state that upon staying drug, alcohol, and tobacco free, the teen will be to drive the car. Another example might be a teen receiving an allowance for maintaining good grades and keeping up on their chores. These contracts work best when they are kept positive, given a time frame, and detail specific.
Before writing up a contract, it is important to discuss potential rewards with your teen and expected behaviors. This opens up the line of communication to talk about important issues that teens will face. Plus, it let’s your teen know that you are trying to help them earn their desires, and have their well being and happiness in mind. During this time, discuss the terms of a potential contract and take down some notes. Be sure to cover rules, expectations, and goal that you would like your teen to adhere to or work towards. Then, make sure there is a privilege or reward that corresponds to each one. Once the terms have been agreed upon by both you and your teen, write up a formal contract that both of you will sign. Be consistent in enforcing the terms of the agreement and your teen will learn to take accountability for their actions. Teen contracts teach an important lesson and encourage positive behavior. In addition, they help parents tackle the difficult issues of discipline and gaining teen cooperation.