How to Write a Teen & Parent Contract

Teenagers crave independence and enjoy new privileges such as driving and dating. Since teens are not always mature enough to make the right decisions in light of these responsibilities, parents should set limits to make sure their teen stays safe and keeps up with chores and schoolwork. Drawing up a teen and parent contract is an effective way to establish clear, consistent guidelines and state the consequences for broken rules.

Meet with your teen and spouse/other parental figure so that you can discuss the contract together.

Make a list of problem behaviors, or potential problem behaviors, such as breaking curfew or getting poor grades.

State the expectation for each behavior, for example, “teen will come home at 10 p.m. on school nights,” or “teen will maintain a B average.” 1

State the consequences or privileges for each behavior outcome 1. An example of a consequence is: “If teen gets lower than a B average on his next report card, he must complete his homework every day before going out with friends/watching TV/talking on the phone.” An example of a privilege is: “If teen gets a B average or higher, he may continue to do his homework whenever he wants." Commit yourself to enforcing the consequences or offering a reward consistently.

Check with other parental figures to make sure they agree to the consequences and privileges.

Include a clause for updating the contract with additional rules, consequences and privileges, as necessary.

Have everyone involved sign the contract.