Managing Teen Behavior with a Teen Behavior Contract
Some of us are lucky - we are blessed with that "to-good-to-be-true" child that grows into a self-sufficient, easy-going, and well-adapted teen.
Some of us - not so lucky.
While it's true that most teens fit somewhere on the continuum between "mostly easy" and "incredibly difficult," it never hurts to have a plan for dealing with certain behaviors before they become serious issues.
Teens are at an impressionable age in which the consequences of their behaviors have a significant impact on whether or not they will continue with said behaviors - or whether they decide to choose more wisely instead.
Often times, it is just as important (if not more important) that we teach teens HOW to behave rather than focusing so much on how they should NOT behave. Sometimes, as parents, we forget that our constant reminders of "what NOT to do" don't really offer much in the way of alternative, more "pro-social" behaviors.
Utilizing a teen behavior contract can help to eliminate this problem. A well-written teen contract will spell out exactly how the teen should behave rather than focusing only on what behaviors should not be displayed.
When preparing the teen contract, it is important to target specific behaviors that need to be addressed. Some common topics include such issues as responsibilities, being respectful, managing emotions, school-related issues, character traits, and general household expectations. Whether your teen contract is incredibly specific or superbly vague, it is imperative that the behavioral expectations are clearly stated.
Along with the clearly stated expectations should be a stipulation that describes the privileges that can be earned for meeting the expectations - as well as the consequences (or restrictions) that are earned for not meeting the expectations (or for not abiding by the contract).
Following through with the privileges and consequences is key to the overall effectiveness of the teen contract - without this follow-through, the contract isn't worth the paper it was written on.
"So, what now?" you might be asking.
Well, that's a good question. Writing a teen contract takes time, effort, and a little bit of insight. A pre-written teen contract might be your best option. If you are interested in checking out some pre-written teen contracts covering a variety of teen-related topics then please visit www.TeenBehaviorContracts.com and take a look around. Save yourself some time and effort by downloading and printing these original teen contracts (10 total!). These are hands-down the best teen contracts on the web and I think you'll be happy with the results should you choose to try them.