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Even if the divorced parents do not agree on other issues, it is tremendously important for them to agree on how to manage an out-of-control teen.
In situations in which two divorced parents really don't get along, the Home Rules Contract can sometimes best be accomplished with the help of a third party, such as a qualified therapist.
Identify a maximum of five (5) problem behaviors that you feel need to be improved.
These behaviors could be priorities, and some should be related to the behaviors that are causing the most problems, i.e., legal problems, school problems, or medical problems (such as illness due to drug abuse or an overdose, or medication compliance issues if the teen is on psychiatric medications such as Ritalin).
Again, the participation of each person in the family who will be involved, if at all possible, is vital to the success of your contract, but don't allow yourself to be undermined by a teen who is threatening noncooperation!
Your final contract should be the results of negotiation and compromise, taking everybody's ideas into consideration.
Many parents have had to actually decrease the punishments that the teen has stated he or she should have for not following certain rules.
Unfortunately, some parents, in an effort to "get tough" on their wayward teen, will go overboard and ground the child for weeks and weeks for a single incident.
Adults will tend to have different expectations of a teen depending upon their own outlook, and many times, adults who are not ultimately responsible for the teen may not enforce the rules and consequences which you are taking the time to carefully plan, in essence, undermining and making your contract ineffective.
ALL TEENAGERS AND PRETEENS in the family should be included in the Home Rules Contract.
Sometimes your teen will refuse to participate, and if that's the case, then you may let him know that this contract will be implemented with or without his cooperation, and if he makes the choice not to participate, you fully intend to follow the contract to the letter.
If he ultimately doesn't like something that is put in the contract, then that will be his problem because he didn't participate in writing it.
The primary purpose of a Home Rules Contract is for teens to be held accountable for their behavior while allowing parents to maintain a reasonable amount of control.