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Establishing Boundaries With Teens
Whether you think you've mastered parenting or not, the teen years present unique problems for
parents as their children take on the freedoms of adulthood. Use the suggestions below to establish
boundaries with your teens that will help you maintain a relationship with your children into adulthood.
When you first find out your teenager is lying to you, try to communicate with your teen about the
importance of telling the truth. Lying is a natural tool used by teenagers, as it is with adults, to avoid
discussing an issue or to establish privacy.
Determine the seriousness of the kinds of information your teen is keeping from you and try to create
a dialogue with your teenager.
If your teenager persists in lying, establish boundaries about how you deal with not knowing the truth
about certain subjects.
Discuss with your teen that trust is important for establishing expectations and that without trust your
relationship is an unknown, like dealing with a stranger, which will impact how you conduct yourself
with the teen.
If your teen is spending too much money, establish a monthly budget for them. This budget is what
you're willing to give the teen for various expenses.
Leave your child the opportunity to approach you if he or she makes budgeting mistakes so that you
can help them to figure out a way to handle the financial stresses that misjudging expenses can
If you suspect your teen is involved with drugs and alcohol do not wait to get outside help. It's usually
after they have developed a problem that parents discover their teen's involvement with drugs and
alcohol, so your efforts to seek outside intervention are much likelier to be later than they should be
rather than too early.
Do not let your child drive your car if you suspect he or she is using drugs or alcohol. While a teen in
trouble might drive another person's car, you should never give your permission to drive your vehicle
to a teen you know is using alcohol or drugs.
If you discover your teen is engaging in a particular behavior and they tell you that they will continue
the behavior whether you like it or not, do not threaten to terminate your relationship with the teen
over the behavior if it is not jeopardizing their freedom or safety. You still have the opportunity for
positive input when you maintain contact.
Never threaten what you are not willing to do when you are dealing with your teen. In order to avoid
escalating the problem and making threats you'll regret, you will have to try to stay thoughtful during
arguments in order to avoid making threats that you are not willing to carry through.
Managing to survive the teen years and maintain a relationship with your child is difficult at times. Use
the suggestions below to incorporate some boundaries into your interactions so that you and your
teen can navigate through the challenges of being a teenager. Ultimately, it will help lead to a better
relationship for the two of you.
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