“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” — teenagers everywhere

While this quote could have come from your tween (or a teenager most anywhere in the U.S.A.), it is credited to the great actress Katharine Hepburn. Testing rules and limits is all in a day’s work for your 9- to 14-year old. However, as the parent, you have a critically important role to set some rules and limits that are not open for discussion, such as drinking and driving.

Be an eParent®!  With your child, find websites that relate to those non-negotiable rules and use them as talking points. For example, view the youth-produced videos on the “Above the Influence” Facebook page that highlight alcohol and drug prevention messages. Vote on your favorite commercial and talk with each other about why you picked that message.

As an adult with mature reasoning skills, you are able to determine if and when to test rules or limits. However, your tween may be pushing as many rules and instructions as they come up against! While this is normal, it can be incredibly frustrating for you. Use your parental wisdom to identify rules you expect your child to follow. Discuss some other rules that may be negotiable and listen to your child’s point of view. Don’t give in to the temptation (or pleas from your child) to change the firm rules – at least not until they are older and show they can act responsibly.

You can read more about teens and risk taking.

To learn more contact UW-Extension Family Living Programs or like Family Living on Facebook.

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