Bowling is still a popular event, but who is going to pay for the game? If the kids are out with friends bowling, what time do they need to be home? Establishing rules for family can be difficult. Generally, the first response is that you are restricting them by pulling some of their decision-making away. It sounds negative, but it actually has positive life lessons built into it.
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Young children need a bedtime schedule. This lets them know the expectation is to go to bed by xx o’clock. They can then plan the way they spend the time up to that point. The start time for school or work is generally set, but if the bedtime is not, they could have fewer hours to sleep. It is recommended to get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If not, they will be tired and their resistance will be low. With lower resistance, they will have more trouble fighting off germs if they are around them.
Teenagers need a curfew. I’ll let you know up front, you will not win any prizes letting them know this. Whether they will admit it or not, they also need some amount of sleep to function their best the next day. Parents need their sleep too and many will not sleep well until everyone in the family is accounted for and safe at home. Let them know if you want to be waken up when they get home. I’ve heard of one parent who set an alarm with the time that the teenager should be home and they had to be home to turn off the alarm. If the alarm went off and mom woke up, somebody was not home so they were in trouble.
Adult kids living at home need rules too. At our house, I don’t give them a curfew, but instead ask what time should I start worrying. They tell me the time and if they are going to be later which is perfectly okay, they just text to give me an update.
Family arguments need boundaries. While it is not good to just walk away and not handle the issue, the timing needs to be right to continue to discuss it calmly. Set up a phrase that any of your family can use and it is understood that it will be respected to stop the conversation for now…….and continue it later. It is easy for things to get out of control quickly. Communication is not just about words, but also body language and tone of voice. If they are not all in sync, trouble looms.
Little things can snowball and become a huge issue when we’re stressed or not feeling well. This phrase stops the clock for everyone, or at least the one person, to cool off. It can be something quirky as “shrimp stew” that stops the argument momentarily. Sometimes you need just 15 minutes while other times it can be longer. Be patient and respect others during this time.
School dances and proms need budgets. It is tempting to let your 17-year-old daughter go all out on their senior prom. After all, she is a senior, right? This is the looked at as the best time of their life, you certainly do not want to put a damper on it. Wrong! This is a teaching opportunity to give them a fair budget and let them decide how to manage what they spend. Here is a list of what many expenses for prom include:
Tickets to prom
After prom activities
Outfit for after prom activities
I’ve been blessed that my children did not always ask for money. We always tried to be fair and give them enough money to have fun, but also wanted them to understand the value of money and that it did not grow on trees. Generally, kids think a little more about how much they are willing to spend on something if it is their money.
Try to come up with a fair number to spend that will pay for the “necessary” items and not break your own budget. Let them know upfront how much they have available to spend so that they can plan. Sure, they will have to make some choices, but that is what life is about. If they want to spend money on hair, make up, and nails, they may not be able to buy a brand new pair of shoes. They’ll have to wear some shoes they already have. They’ll still look great and have a good time!
I giggle every time I think back on how we used this method for my daughter on her school dances and proms. (Let me just say that boys are easier for these events!) My daughter was asked to go to a prom with a friend after she graduated, so she paid for everything. It was interesting to see how she decided what to wear and the extras. She told me, “I’m not spending all of that money just for one night.” …….Oh, really!?!
Money for clothes. Establish a dollar amount that they can use for clothes. If they don’t buy anything one month, be sure to communicate if the money will roll forward or not. This helps them decide if they want to use the money you’ve allocated and put up the rest themselves if the clothes are too expensive. Discuss how school clothes will be handled as well. If there are school uniforms, that will be easier to distinguish between school and other clothes.
Money for toys. Establish an amount for this as well. It is a delicate balance to let them get some things through the year versus waiting for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas.
Money for entertainment. I guess the first thing to do is define just what “entertainment” is with your family. Does it include the money for school activities like dances, football or basketball games? Or does it refer to bowling, movies, and going with a group to eat pizza? Whatever the definition, communication is key, so everyone understands who pays for what.
Establishing rules for any age teaches life lessons. It takes discipline to follow these set guidelines. Setting bedtime, curfews, family argument time out triggers, and budgets for school activities, clothes, etc. is not fun for either side, but is necessary to teach responsibility and accountability.