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If the whole idea of a Home Rules Contract threatens to break down when an agreement cannot be reached between two or more parties, particularly parents, the entire family should strongly consider visiting a social worker or family therapist, even if only for one visit, to get an objective third party to help break the log jam and create a Home Contract that everybody can live with.However, some items should not be negotiable, such as a teen demanding a curfew that is later than what the law in your area would allow for his or her particular age group.Specifically identify what the expectation is for each behavior.Be clear and concise when identifying expectations so that there is no chance for a teen to tell you he or she didn't understand the expectation.A Home Rules Contract will not resolve the issues of feelings and emotions involved within the relationships between parents and teens.It can only act as a basic agreement that may allow you to work toward a resolution for problem behaviors, minimizing the disruption and interference that can many times occur during the process of getting bad behavior under control and restructuring a family's rules.
Teens who feel that they are being heard by their parents and are allowed to participate in this process are far more likely to be compliant than those who are handed a set of rules and told "Do it or else." Parents are often amazed at what rules the teens think they should be following and at the severity of punishments they assign for themselves.We recommend that ALL PARENT FIGURES with whom the teen has contact be involved in the creation and enforcement of the Home Rules Contract.This includes biological parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, custodial persons, noncustodial persons who are responsible for the teens for all or part of a day, and legal guardians.The rationale behind punishment should be primarily to offer an unpleasant learning experience so that the teen will learn to correct his own behavior and not repeat the offending action.For most teens, a punishment that consists of weeks of grounding on a first offense is too long and will cause further resentment rather than be a learning experience for the teen.
Sometimes your teen will refuse to participate, and if that's the case, then you may let him know that this contract will be implemented with or without his cooperation, and if he makes the choice not to participate, you fully intend to follow the contract to the letter.