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DRUGS and KIDS

Setting Rules for Your Kids

Compliments of drugfree.org

 
Keep Your Kids Drug Free Setting Rules for Your Kids 23 Tips To Keep In Mind and Put To Use Here It Comes the Transition to Middle School
Get the Conversation going Is Your Child Using Drugs - How to Find Out Help Your Kids Turn Down Drugs  

Contrary to some parents' fears, strict rules don't alienate kids. Although they may grumble and act cranky when you lay down the law, in the back of their minds (and hearts), they know your rules show you care. Rules about what's acceptable from obeying curfews to insisting that they call in to tell you where they are make children feel loved and secure.

Setting up and enforcing rules is not easy. Parents tend to avoid setting rules because they fear confrontation and unpleasantness. But the uncomfortable stuff isn't necessarily a reflection on your relationship with your child, it's just the nature of adolescence breaking rules and pushing limits is a part of growing up.

When kids break rules, parents often overreact with harsh, disproportionate and unenforceable punishment, which undermines the effectiveness of setting rules. Instead, when you first tell your child about a new rule, discuss the consequences of breaking that rule what the punishment will be and how it will be carried out. Consequences must go hand in hand with limits so that your child knows what the cost of breaking the rules will be. The punishments you set should be reasonable and related to the violation. For example, if you catch your son and his friends smoking, you might "ground" him by restricting his social activities for two weeks.

Punishments should only involve penalties you discussed before the rule was broken. Also, never issue empty threats. It's understandable that you'll be angry when house rules are broken, and sharing your feelings of anger, disappointment, or sadness can have a powerfully motivating effect on your child. Since we're all more inclined to say things we don't mean when we're upset, it's best to cool off before discussing consequences.

One of the most effective rules you can make is to insist that your child be in adult-supervised situations after school. Encourage her to get involved with youth groups, arts, music, sports, community service and academic clubs. Research shows that adolescents who are unsupervised after school are significantly more likely to use drugs. An example of an appropriate consequence for violating the after-school adult-supervision rule is loss of an evening's TV time.

Many parents are surprised to learn that they have an enormous influence on whether their teens will abuse drugs. Make it clear that you do not ever want your child to use Marijuana. By emphasizing your no use expectation and policy, you reduce the likelihood that she will use drugs now or later in life. Also, it will give her an excuse to fall back on when tempted to make bad decisions.