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Parenting Towards Independence: Setting Rules For Teenagers

Page #1


What are good rules and rewards for teenagers? Why do we bother putting rules into place? Limits and guidelines during adolescence are an important part of getting the budding adult ready to leave home. During this preparation time, keeping focused on the end result (a successful adult) is important. When presenting and negotiating rules with your adolescent, begin by exploring the potential results of successfully following guidelines.

Here’s what your list might look like:

  • You’ve reached maturity when…
  • You choose to be with family and engage politely with them during family time.
  • You manage your own homework and schooling.
  • You develop good solid friendships: e.g. consistent, caring and respectful.


  • You balance your needs versus your wants: e.g. schooling versus electronics.
  • You spend time every day engaging in housework on your own.
  • You take care of your own stuff such as doing your own laundry and cleaning up after yourself.
  • You manage your own schedule (academic, work, home, social).
  • You take care of your body by exercising regularly, your nutrition by making good food choices and your mind by giving yourself relaxing/reflective time.
  • You manage your own money for entertainment, activities, and clothing by keeping a checkbook and budget.
  • You work outside the home to earn and contribute to your own care.
  • You manage your time and inform your parents in detail and beforehand about your plans and schedule.
  • You can cook basic meals.
  • You volunteer for your community.

Do all of the above and you’ve achieved INDEPENDENCE and maturity!

Clearly all of these skills do not have to be accomplished for an adolescent to move away from home and succeed, but the majority of parents that I work with want nothing more than to raise a well-balanced and independent child. In the meantime, however, parents have to set rules that slowly but surely move the child toward independence. Rule categories might include: family time, academic expectations, use of electronics, household responsibilities, personal responsibilities, financial responsibilities, social limits, mind and body responsibilities, community responsibilities. Here’s what the rules might look like for a 13-15 year old.

Also, See Parenting Toward Independence page #2

Article Source:

The author, Laura Doerflinger, MS, LMHC, is the Executive Director of the Parent Education Group and also the editor of the parenting and family audio books that are available for download at

Copyright 2009 - Reprints Accepted - Two links must be active in the bio.

Webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)  

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