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By GreatSchools Staff
The problem: You have made the rule that your child has to do her homework before going online. But when you catch her on the computer with unfinished homework, she says, “That’s not fair. My English homework isn’t due for two days. I just want to finish up this chat. I’ll get the homework done as soon as I get home tomorrow. I swear.” You’re tired of fighting , so you think, “Oh, why not?”
Try this instead: Stick to your guns. She hasn’t followed the rules, and you can’t let her have control of the issue by dragging you into a no-win discussion. Tell her that once she has finished the homework, you can talk more about that rule and maybe refine it a bit. But for now she needs to focus on the main issue: Her homework isn’t done, and she needs to finish. If you give in on a negotiation, your battles will never end. Instead, by showing her that your rules are hard and fast, she’ll stop testing you.
The problem: Your child asks to stay up till 11:00 p.m. on a school night to watch a movie on TV. To bolster her case, she tells you that “all the kids at school stay up all the time.” You don’t want your kid to think you’re uncool, and you don’t want her to be the only one whose parents make her go to bed early. So you say yes.
Try this instead: You are not your older child’s friend. You are her parent. Though in many ways she may act like a young adult, she still needs you to set boundaries. Tweens and teens are negotiating lots of new territory (that old sex and drugs again!), and they need the reassurance of knowing that their parents are still there, setting and enforcing the rules. They also need to know you’re providing the security they need now more than ever. Remind your child that the house rules still apply to her.
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