Teenagers need house rules; written ones will cut down on misunderstandings. Since you own the house and run the house, you make the rules.
• First, you have to decide whether or not to loan out your car, bicycle, camera, radio, TV, clothes, and so on. If your teenager breaks something, she should repair it or replace it.
• Second, clarify the ground rules about where snacks are eaten and how guests are supervised. If your teenager makes a mess, she needs to clean up.
• Third, while a teenager’s preferences can be tolerated with her own room, they needn’t be accepted in the rest of the house. You can forbid loud music that interferes with other people’s concentration or sleep.
Are these house rules negotiable? Sure, up to a point. Some families find it helpful to hold a family conference after dinner once a week. At this time, your teenager can ask for changes in the house rules and present her case. If her position is reasonable, change the rule. But, if she wants late night incoming telephone calls that interrupt your sleep, say no. I’ll say it again, it’s your house.
During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.