Teens: The Three Month Rule, A Parenting Tip
Like so many things, I learned about the three month rule from a client. (Yes, parenting tips are another perk of the job.) One of my clients told me about creating the three month rule when her daughter was a teenager and I think it may be one of the best parenting tips I ever learned. It’s pretty simple: If your teenager has done something and didn’t get caught, they can tell you at the three month point and not be punished. Its sort of like a statute of limitations for teens. It’s important that parents hold up their end of the agreement, or their teenager will never tell them anything again. Let your teenager know that you will still want to discuss the issue with them but no matter what they tell you they will not be punished. This is a great way to open up communication with your teenager and to understand what is going on in their life. It also gives you an opportunity to have a mature conversation about what they are doing, and hopefully influence them in a positive way.
I think that many parents are in denial about their teens and have a ” not my kid” attitude. I remember being a teenager and I can tell you that some of the kids that had really strict parents were the most rebellious. Teens may be tempted to try things, and have regrets after the fact. If they are comfortable talking to their parents, then you can provide them with the tools to avoid a similar situation in the future. I don’t believe as parents we should be our children’s friend, but we should try to not be so intimidating or judgmental that our kids can’t talk to us. Often our kids want to tell us things but are afraid. The teen years are difficult, it’s the time in your life that you try to find your identity and face the pressures of your peers. Teenagers are also dealing with the transition from child to adult. If we want to prepare our children for the adult world, we need to be able to have adult conversations.
Parents should be prepared for anything from skipping class to drugs, alcohol and sex. Remember, you can’t flip out! Listen to what they say, stay calm while you discuss your views and invite them to ask questions. If parents use the three month rule fairly, it can be an amazing parenting tool. Try it, let me know what you think.