Four Rules for Teens and Older Kids Living in Your Home


A good friend recently asked me, “What curfew do you set for your kids?” He seemed shocked when I told him we didn’t really have a curfew. I told him that we only had four rules for our kids.

We have four children, ages 23, 20, 18, and 15. Our first trip into the teenage years were tumultuous! We had so many rules and we always seemed to be in turmoil.  

We fell into the trap many parents do by failing to adjust our roles as our children were getting older.

When our kids were young, we were the all-powerful rulers and decided what they did and when they did it. As they got older (10-15 years old), we learned that while we are still ultimately the decision makers, we are to become more of a coach, guiding them along the way. Once they started driving, making college decisions and dating, we realized we needed to transition into our next role of trusted advisor.

Honestly, this is a tricky transition.

On one hand, they are fighting for freedom. On the other hand, they could benefit greatly from our guidance and wisdom.

The best way to navigate this terrain was to get them to see us as valuable advisors in their decision-making process. That meant allowing them to make more decisions on their own. We could no longer dictate their behaviors. Trying to maintain control at this point is both frustrating and non-productive and it actually hurts their growth into adulthood.

To assist in this transition and maintain order in our home, we came up with four simple rules, more like expectations really, to help guide our older kids.

Four Rules for Teens and Older Kids

  1. Respect our home and the people in it.
  2. Everyone does his/her share of household chores.
  3. Everyone over the age of 16 works and takes care of their own financial needs.
  4. Be where you say you are going to be.

My wife and I expect everyone in our home to observe these expectations and we address it swiftly when these expectations are not being met. Having these expectations has allowed us to transition to trusted advisors while maintaining peace and order in our home.

I would love to hear from you how you manage to keep peace in your home while sharing space with older kids.

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