Tag Archives: Teens

Establishing Rules for Teens

I don’t know which is worse: being a teenager or having one.

Teenagers are at a point in their lives where they are only beginning to mature. They want more responsibility, but still need boundaries and guidelines, especially because many teens feel invulnerable.

The number one rule when it comes to teenagers is to never argue. The minute you argue, you lose because you put yourself on their level and they know it.

In addition, parents should set clear and sensible rules in advance. Sit down with your teen and discuss the rules and consequences together. Don’t make empty threats, and be consistent. If you are enforcing a consequence, be very clear about why it is taking place. For example, “Because you didn’t ___, you will have to___, which we previously discussed.”

Here are some areas in which parents absolutely need to establish rules with their teens:

    1. Driving. Car accidents are the number one killer of teens. Some rules that keep teens safer in the car include spending more time driving with parents, limiting passengers, eliminating distractions such as music, food, and cell phones, and being required to pay for gas, insurance, and any tickets received. If your teenager breaches the rules, the car is gone. It’s a one-strike policy because this is a matter of life and death.

 

    1. Use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Teens are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco if their parents set clear rules about what will happen if they do and explain why they shouldn’t. They may not agree with you, but it doesn’t matter. They will eventually be teaching their kids the same thing.

 

    1. Dating. Discuss when they can start dating and under what conditions. Teenagers should only go on group dates until they are 17, especially because of how sexualized things have become these days. I remember the first time I was allowed to be alone in a car with a guy. He had to convince my dad, and then my dad went outside and looked at his car. He had a very small sports car with a stick shift, bucket seats, and no backseat. Unless we were contortionists, there was no possible way for us to fool around in that car. So my dad came back in, laughed, and said, “OK.”

 

    1. Computers, TV, books, magazines, and music. Decide on what is allowed and when. Keep the computer in a public place and restrict access to times when everyone is there to avoid the dangers of inappropriate websites and online predators.

 

    1. Friends. Peer acceptance is a very strong influence on teens. You have to know what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with. If I wanted to go to a party when I was a teenager, my parents always called my friend’s parents first.

 

    1. Where they spend their free time. Have kids check in when they are away from home or school, and have a signal if your teen needs to be picked up from a bad situation. 

 

    1. Curfews. Set a curfew, but be willing to negotiate for special circumstances.

 

Consequences for breaking the rules should generally not be longer than three weeks. And if you punish your teen, don’t just take away their cell phone (that punishment always makes me laugh because they know they’re just going to get it back). Have them do community service or something else concrete so that they are out of the house actively participating in something. Canceling activities or not allowing friends to come over are also good consequences.

U.S. Youth: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

As graduation season kicks off and summer approaches, I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about kids being too busy for summer jobs. 

A recent Time magazine article reports,

“It was once common to see teenagers mowing lawns, waiting tables, digging ditches and bagging groceries for modest wages in the long summer months.  Summer employment was a social equalizer, allowing both affluent and financially strapped teenagers to gain a foothold on adulthood, learning the virtues of hard work, respect and teamwork in a relatively low-stakes atmosphere.  But youth employment has declined precipitously over the years, and young people are losing a chance to develop these important life skills in the process.”

The article goes on to say “more than 50 percent of the nation’s young workforce has never held a basic, paying job.  We may be postponing their entry into adulthood.”

As the article makes clear, our kids are not prepared for the real world.  They lack the necessary skills to move up the professional ladder: perseverance, flexibility, humility, and commitment. 

One reason they don’t know about commitment is that “shack-ups” have increased.  Our kids haven’t learned about humility because we live in an environment where parents sue their school if their kid doesn’t get an “A,” or wasn’t chosen to be on the football or basketball team.  How can children learn humility when their failures are elevated to jurisprudence concepts?          

It’s basically the elders who are responsible for our kids’ incompetence.  It’s grownups who don’t make their kids learn values or appropriate expectations.  They don’t teach them how to take advantage of opportunities.  We do a lousy job of getting our kids ready for the real world because we’re teaching them their esteem is more important than their effort.

In addition, a survey conducted by the Corporate Voices for Working Families found that

“nearly three-quarters of survey participants (70 percent) cite deficiencies among incoming high school graduates in ‘applied’ skills, such as professionalism and work ethic, defined as ‘demonstrating personal accountability, effective work habits, e.g. punctuality, working productively with others, time and workload management.’  More than 40 percent of surveyed employers say incoming high school graduates hired are deficiently prepared for the entry-level jobs they fill. The report finds that recent high school graduates lack the basic skills in reading comprehension, writing and math, which many respondents say were needed for successful job performance.”

I guess if you’ve spent your time sexting and playing video games, you’re not going to be good in reading comprehension, writing, and math.            

The study also found that nearly three-quarters of incoming high school graduates are viewed as not being able to use reasonable grammar and spelling.  Their written communication is horrible, and they can’t write memos, letters, or complex technical reports. 

Critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to express oneself are no longer being taught in school.  Do you know why?  Because we have women’s studies, Black studies, Hispanic studies, purple studies, green studies, etc.  We have all kinds of studies for advocacy groups which have no place in our basic education system.  These studies should all be extracurricular subjects and should have no relevance to graduating with a degree. If you haven’t read the classics and you haven’t thought through profound concepts and essays, then you’re not educated.  All these studies simply involve being angry about something and putting your fist in the air.  This is why our ranking in science and math is below a lot of third world countries.  We should be number one. 

These are just some of the many things bothering employers these days, but it mainly comes down to this: they’re dealing with snot-nosed upstarts with a sense of entitlement.    

For more on this topic, here is a link to some skills most sought after by employers.