Setting Boundaries for Teenagers: The Importance of Privacy, Respect, and Trust
You go from watching your child take their first steps walking to taking their first steps towards junior high school. You cannot fight it when your children are growing up. While they may not be little kids anymore, it does not mean they are adults yet.
The rules of raising your child changes once they become a teen. They will want a certain level of privacy from their parents. As their brains are still developing, they will still need your advice and support to avoid making rash decisions.
You can be a good parent to your teen by giving them the trust and privacy they crave while still establishing boundaries for their safety.
Establishing Privacy and Trust in Your Teen
Your teen will need a lot of privacy as they get older and explore themselves.
Just because your teen wants their privacy does not mean that they are carrying a dark secret. It just means they want to establish their independence. However, if your teen is spending hours in their room and appears withdrawn, they might be depressed or experimenting with drugs. It could also be your teen is spending too much time online.
While you want your teen to feel independent, you should still act as a parent and monitor your child. This does not mean bursting through the door or being quick to make accusations. You will have to be sensitive and discrete.
Respecting Your Teen’s Privacy
You should first ask yourself what exactly you need to know about your child. Are you curious where they are going at night? Will there be alcohol or drugs at this party? These are questions you have the right as a parent to know the answers to.
There are, however, some things that can just stay private like phone calls. Every teen is entitled to have their own private information as long as it is not life-threatening.
You could respect your child’s privacy by:
- Knocking before entering their room
- Asking before going through their drawers
- Seeing if your child wants their doctor’s appointment to be private
Talk with your teen about setting boundaries and set ground rules to avoid crossing any lines.
How to Monitor Your Teenager Without Hovering
There are ways to keep track of your teen without looking too nosy. For example, you can establish a rule with your teen for them to call you on the way home. You can also create a rule like limiting screen usage or setting curfews.
Set expectations for your teen in order for them to better carry them as they grow up. With clear, agreed upon rules in place that they feel are fair and respectful, it’s more likely that your teen will follow those rules.
If Trust is Broken While Setting Boundaries with Your Teenager
Naturally, teenage rebellion will take form where teens will get a thrill out of breaking the rules. If this is the first time your teen has broken the rules, you can go easy on them by taking one privilege away while keeping a closer eye on them.
If this keeps happening, your teen may have to earn your trust back. This can mean taking away privileges for a while and having a discussion about what went wrong. Perhaps there is something deeper going on. This is your chance to uncover it. Try to approach it calmly, as anger may just make them respond in kind. Emphasize that being disappointed doesn’t mean you love them any less.
The memories your teenager will make with you will shape who they will become as they get older. If you are still struggling with how to set boundaries, family therapy can be the first step to forming a connection with your teen and making them comfortable at home.