What arehealthy boundaries in relationships?

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   Eight Ways to be a Better Friend
   Time Management for Kids


Bonding With Your Teen Through Boundaries









10 Universal Laws for Parents of Teens
Author: Jeff Herring

  1. "Law of Belonging": The greatest need of teenagers (after music and the phone) is a strong sense of belonging. They need to feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves. If they don't get it in a healthy place - with family, worthwhile friends, clubs, sports, youth groups, etc. - they will get it in an unhealthy place - with inappropriate friends, drugs, gangs or cults.
  2. "Law of Hope": Recent statistics show that one of the age groups in which the suicide rate is rising is adolescents. This is the direct result of a lack of hope - hope for the future, hope that things will get better.
  3. "Law of Power": Once you enter into a power struggle with a teen, you have already lost it. Remember the closing line of the movie War Games: "Interesting game . . . the only winning move is not to play."
  4. "Law of Management": A management approach to raising teens puts parents clearly in charge. The goal is to manage them eventually out of your lives and into their own. Parenting is one of those jobs in which the goal is to eliminate the need for your job.
  5. "Law of Modeling": If you don't want your teen doing something, make sure you are not doing it yourself. Teens have very strong and sensitive hypocrisy meters and are eager to use them.
  6. "Law of Differing Views": It's no great insight that parents and teens view the world in different ways. One clear example of this is school. For parents, the view is we work all day, kids don't. School is their job. Therefore, they should get good grades. The view of teenagers can be that school is right in the middle of their important social world.
  7. "Law of Punishment": Punishment often springs from anger. Punishment breeds resentment and a desire for revenge. Teens have many creative ways to retaliate.
  8. "Law of Consequences": Consequences teach teens about the real world. In general, consequences need to be reasonable, respectful, swift and strong enough to get the attention of teens.
  9. "Law of Structure": Parents need to set boundaries and structure from day one. If you don't do this while they are young, what makes you think they will obey a curfew once they have a car? We tend to over structure the time of young children and understructure the time of teens. Teenagers need structure as much, if not more, than younger children.
  10. "Law of W's": When teens are away from home, parents need to know who they are with, where they are, what they are doing, and what time they will be back.
  11. Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist specializing in working with teenagers and their parents. A nationally syndicated relationship columnist and speaker, Jeff is also the founder and CEO of www.parentingyourteenager.com, where you can subscribe to his f'ree internet newsletter "ParentingYourTeenager." E-mail Jeff at jeff@parentingyourteenager.com.



Time Management for Kids
by Rachel Paxton

Do you ever feel like there's not enough time in the day? You've just realized it's time for bed, and you still haven't accomplished all you set out to do today? Put yourself in your kids' shoes. If you can't prioritize and accomplish your own daily tasks, how can you expect your children to do the same?

Time management is an acquired skill. Help your kids learn to be better managers of their time. I have devised a way to help our 12-yr-old daughter with time management by dividing her main activities into five basic categories: homework, chores, bed time, social activities, and telephone. Homework and chores kind of go hand in hand. They have to be accomplished every day. Our daughter started middle school this year, and she is exhausted when she gets home every day. I have a hard time putting her to work right when she gets home. Our initial rule was that her chores and homework had to be done before bedtime. That worked to a point, except that she was always underestimating how long it would take to get everything done and she'd save it all until the last minute. We then tried a different approach. Our daughter gets home at 3:00 every day. Dinner's at about 6:00, and bed time is 9:30. That gives her approximately the same amount of free time before and after dinner. The new rule is that one thing (chores or homework) has to be done before dinner, and the other one after dinner. So far this has worked very well for us. She has a little time to relax after school and feels she has a little control over her own time.

Bed time has always been a problem at our house. We initially told our daughter she had to go to her bedroom at 9:30 but she could stay awake as long as she likes (reading, listening to music) as long as she got herself up when the alarm went off. This worked for a couple of weeks and then she started sleeping through her alarm. So now the lights go off by 10:00. As soon as she proves she can get up on her own again, she will earn this privilege back.

Social activities are great, as long as they're supervised by adults and also granted in moderation. Don't spoil your kids by letting them go wherever they want whenever they want, even if they have all their chores and homework done. The more time they spend with their friends, the more time they have to be influenced by who knows what kind of peer pressure. The more time kids spend at home with their families the better. Make social activities a privilege your children have to earn so they will see them as a privilege and not something you owe them. Teach them to spend their time in more constructive ways like reading, writing, or playing games with the family.

And along with the social activities comes phone privileges. Telephone conversations at our house are limited to 15 minutes each, 2 to 3 maximum per day, and not after 9:00 p.m. Even this is lenient, but it gives our daughter ample opportunity to talk to her friends about homework, etc. Limiting phone time also encourages kids to spend their time in more constructive ways and teaches them to think about what they want to say before they get on the phone.

Remember, kids not only need to learn how to manage their time, they also need to learn to use their time wisely. That's the only way they will be able to compete in today's world. There's plenty of time for fun, but only after the work is done. Kids have a lot on their plates these days, and they aren't born knowing how to manage their time. This is where you come in. Kids need to be taught these skills, and not just by word, but by example. Don't forget to practice what you preach.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who publishes the Creative Homemaking Recipe of the Week Club, a weekly newsletter that contains quick, easy dinner ideas and money-saving household hints. To subscribe send a blank e-mail message to FreeRecipes-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Visit Creative Homemaking at and Suite 101 -http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/creative_homemaking.


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