Troubled Teen Options

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Parent Contracts

When a parent and teen are struggling to get along, some have found success by using what is known as a parent contract, a teen contract, or a family contract.

The purpose of the parent contract is to establish a set of rules similar to any contract. Specific things are spelled out in the parent contract just like in a business contract.

Every family has different needs and each is unique in what they expect of each other.

Parent Contracts and Curfew Issues

When a family is in disharmony due to a teen defying rules, one main issue that needs to be addresses is usually teen curfews. The parent contract should specifically spell out the following:

1- What time the teen needs to be home.

2- What the consequences will be for violation of curfew.

3- Curfew when the teen is sleeping at a friend’s house.

4- Provide a number or cell phone where the teen can be reached

5- Consequences for sneaking out could also be addressed in the section: Sneaking out would be considered a form of curfew violation as the teen is gone without parental permission. The nice thing about the parent contract is that there is no set format as to what is to be included. It can be specifically designed to meet the needs of the family.

Parent Contracts and Friends

One area of concern for many parents of troubled teens is the choice of friends their child is making. When a teen decides he or she is going to defy authority many times the friends they have been hanging out with will leave them. This is usually accompanied by a new group of negative friends. Items to be included in the parent contract regarding friends could include:

1- Placing friends in groups of A, B, or C

2- Teen is allowed to send x amount of time with each group

3- Parent is to be informed about which group the teen is going with

4- Consequences for lying about or going with negative group of friends

5- Parents are allowed to meet and talk to all friends

Peer pressure has a very strong effect on teens. If parents can direct their troubled teen toward a more positive group of friends things will go smoother.

Parent Contract Items

As mentioned before there is no limit on what the parent contract can include. We have listed a few items here that may be considered for inclusion in the parent contract: Grades, substance abuse, behavior at school, church or religious activities, appearance, hair cuts, grooming etc., family activities, driving privileges, chores and responsibilities around the house. Be creative and be specific.