Teens usually benefit from having specific boundaries in which to stay. A code of conduct might serve effectively to communicate your expectations for your teenager. As you formulate an appropriate code of conduct, consider the overall goal of the code, which should be safety for, and outgoing respect extended to, everyone.
Respectful conduct includes the way teenagers interact with and treat others. Examples of disrespectful behavior include threatening or intimidating others, name-calling, uncooperative behavior with adults in authority, violating rules and using obscene or abusive language, according to a code of conduct published by the Donald W. Reynolds Library of Baxter County.
Safety issues also deserve inclusion in a code of conduct to ensure that everyone stays safe from harm and injury. Include points such as a zero-tolerance drug, alcohol and tobacco policy (covering both possession and use) and a weapon policy. Also devise rules about fighting, loitering, bullying and damage to property (if applicable).
After formulating a code of conduct, teenagers need clear communication about the code to ensure they understand your expectations. After explaining the code of conduct carefully, get agreement from teenagers to indicate that they intend to follow the code. You might even print out copies of the code, distribute it to teenagers and get them to sign and date the code in agreement. Give teens a copy of the code of conduct as well to enable them to refer back to it for future reference.
Enforcing a code of conduct will be an ongoing task to ensure that teens follow the rules. Monitor the youngsters’ activities and behaviors. If you see or hear violations, confront the offender(s). Violation consequences may vary according to the degree of the violation and history of the teen’s conduct. A minor or first violation might receive a warning. A more serious or subsequent violation might involve isolating the youth from contact with other teens. You might also prohibit the youngster from participating in future activities, according to a code of conduct used by the City of Durham Teen Center. As teens see and realize that you will enforce the code of conduct, they should adjust their behavior to ensure that they follow the code to avoid punishment.