The 7 Secrets to Setting Boundaries for Teenagers

Why do teens test the boundaries? Why won’t they listen to you? How can you control their behaviours more? Common questions, with a Secret Solution. Teens test the boundaries for several reasons; to ain a sense of freedom, to get your attention, to determine what they can and can’t get away with and to feel like they power and control. In order to better respond to these reactions from your teen, check out the following seven secrets…

Secret 1 – Remember your teen is a Developing Adolescent

The four cornerstones of adolescent development are independence, body image, peer relationships and sexuality. Your teen’s behaviours are driven by these factors, so keep that in mind when setting boundaries.

Secret 2 – Learn the Value of Compromise

There is value in this as you can reach an agreement with your teen, it’s fair and equal and teaches your teen that something or part of, is better than nothing at all. Refrain from adopting the Brick Wall Parenting approach or “My Way of the Highway” syndrome, as this may lead your teen to rebel even more.

Secret 3 – Set boundaries that each Cooperation & Responsibility

With this focus, teens will develop a real sense of freedom through being empowered to take responsibility, and thus be confident in making more choices for themselves. They can become problem solvers and feel compelled to be more useful and helpful to others.

Secret 4 – Communication is the Key

Be assertive and stick to your guns when setting boundaries. Emphasise what might happen if the boundary wasn’t upheld, but don’t resort to “Worst Case Scenarios” or make verbal threats. Consider making the conversation future-focused, highlighting the long term benefits and rewards for your teen by them following boundaries now.

Secret 5 – It’s up to You to Control the Conversation

Plan and prepare for your talk I advance; this has many benefits. By knowing your desired outcome, you can structure the talk around boundaries and be more prepared for your teen’s possible refusal and defiant questions.

Secret 6 – Use the Power of Positive Reinforcement

When your ten follows and respects your boundaries, reward them for it! You can just simply come out and say “I’m proud of you”. Even cook them a special meal, increase their pocket money, or do something fun together. Rewards will encourage your teen to continue to follow the boundaries and see the benefits in doing so. But remember to reward reasonably.

Secret 7 – Always Keep an Open Mind

Try your best to let go of strong judgement. This can reduce disappointment, prompt effective questioning and honest answers and build self-awareness in your teen, and you. Consider multiple approaches to setting boundaries and try them all.

Extra Top Secret – Focus on the Relationship

Pretty self-explanatory really. Get to know your teen as they change and grow. Spend quality time with them, but also allow them their space and independence. Ask questions about their day, interests and just how their life is going in general. The better your relationship is, the better behaved your teen will be – guaranteed!

Author Profile

Brian McAleer
Brian McAleer
Life | Career | Youth Empowerment Coach | Workshop Facilitator and author of Setting Goals Using the Smartest Method.

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