Limits and boundaries (Part 3)

When determining consequences, it is a good idea to consider those related to the broken rule, that are short term, and that are given immediately.  For example, if you teen comes home an hour late one night, you may consider giving them the consequence that they cannot go out the next night, or they will have an hour earlier curfew for an extended number of days.  Some parents may believe that a harsher punishment of a month without going out at all may be more meaningful, but in fact this may be an overwhelming amount of time for a teen and could tempt them to begin more sneaky or deceitful behaviors.

Providing structure gives teens an awareness of the expectations their parents and society have of them.  It provides them with the knowledge of what the consequences of not meeting these expectations will be, and then gives them the opportunity to make a well-informed decision.  With this awareness and predictability, teens have the potential to grow up with increased emotional stability and a sense of well-being.

Commentary from Margaret Murchan, LCSW

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