When No Means No

Even though your tween may be more involved in shaping some family rules, there are still non-negotiable issues, like safety or screen time, which you will need to enforce. Identify your non-negotiable issues and then maintain these rules in the family.

Be an eParent®!  Remind your child about the rules that are firm and can’t be tweaked. Such rules may follow guidelines such as: “Are you being safe? Are you being respectful? Are you putting others at risk?” Hearing the rules multiple times can help your tween follow these rules. This can be as simple as texting your child a reminder of “I trust you to make good choices.” or “Call if there’s drinking and you need to leave.” Or to remind your adolescent of curfew, work with her or him to set a cell phone timer to ring when it is time to come home.

The key is HOW you explain non-negotiable rules. Telling your tween “because that is just the way it is” or “because I say so” isn’t effective. Your child is exploring his values and beliefs and explaining the reasons behind your decision is important. Listening to your child’s perspective is an important part of allowing your tween to feel involved in the process. Knowing the reasons why a rule is non-negotiable and feeling like they were heard will help to reduce arguments surrounding such rules. Non-negotiable rules should be used to protect and guide rather than to punish or assert power over your tween.

You could read more about negotiable and non-negotiable issues.

To learn more contact UW-Extension Family Living Programs or like Family Living on Facebook.

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