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More Information on Setting Limits for Older Children and Teens

It’s important to keep your cool when talking about limits with older children and teens. Not only are you teaching self-control and responsibility, as a parent, you’re modeling that behavior.

  • Rules need to be specific. Have a family discussion so that everyone is on the same page and understands both the rules and the consequences. 
  • Create dialogue by involving your child in developing the rules and consequences; that way, even if they are not fully satisfied with the boundary, they will have a better sense of the rationale behind it.
  • Consistently follow through with consequences.
  • Recognize and encourage success and effort
  • Keep the conversation going so that the boundaries you establish change both as your child grows and matures and can handle more responsibility. If rules aren’t respected, keep talking so that problems can be addressed before they get too overwhelming.
  • Reach out for help. There are lots of resources in the community: counselors at school, clergy at houses of worship, community organizations like COPE or others on our website.

Further Reading

Questions for Setting Limits

From Australia: Independence in teenagers: how to support it

Advice about having the hard conversations with your teen:

What should I teach my high school-aged teen about personal safety?