Setting boundaries for teenagers

When a child is small, we often use boundaries to protect them and keep them away from harm or danger. As they grow older and become teenagers, these boundaries naturally shift and change, but it’s still important to maintain your boundaries so that your teen knows what kind of behaviour is acceptable, and feels safe knowing that you care. As all parents know, children like to test the limits of their boundaries and teenagers are no exception. In fact, they can be particularly adept at digging their heels in when orders are given. One way to stop this happening is to let them know why something is important.

Boundaries work far better if they are made and agreed together with teenagers. When teenagers understand the reasons behind your decision, and see that you've taken their opinions into account, they may be more motivated to co-operate. 

Rules can help you keep your child safe, but as they get older you will need to negotiate and let them take more responsibility for their own safety, As they grow older, there may be times when your values conflict with the values that your children are learning from other people and the media. This may be when you find yourself negotiating.

Talk to your teen and let them know what is important to you and why. Give them a chance to respond, and make sure you really listen. When you are genuinely willing to compromise, you may find that the conversation is much more effective, as your teen gains a sense of responsibility. Work out what is really important to you and what you could let go. Too many boundaries can cause resentment and be impossible to maintain, so strike a balance and be prepared to re-negotiate. 

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