A Parent's Strategic Retreat

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Getting teens to mind their manners can seem like a losing battle. But most of the time, parents can gain ground just by changing the rules a little bit.  Being flexible and keeping a sense of humor are essential!

The Rules*
*for now

On the Use of Headphones

1. Use of headphones is limited to bedrooms.
2. If headphones are worn in the living room, they must be removed when guests arrive.
3. Volume must be turned down so that guests seated in living room can’t hear music leaking from headphones.

On Late-Night Snacking
1. Paper plates must be used for late-night snacks.
2. Dishes used for late-night snacks must be washed by teens.
3. Teens must put dirty dishes in the sink before going to bed.

On PG-rated Video Games
1. Teens must not allow younger siblings to view PG-rated video games.
2. Children must not watch older siblings play PG-rated video games for more than fifteen minutes.
3. Children who stay up late watching teens play PG-rated video games must still get up at 7:00 the next day.

On the Use of Cell Phones During Mealtimes
1. Teens may not bring their cell phones to the dinner table.
2. Texts received at the dinner table may not be answered.
3. When texting at the dinner table, teens must hold their cell phones on their laps.

On Maintaining Clean Bedrooms
1. Teens are to keep their bedrooms in order.
2. Teens must help Mom to straighten their bedrooms.
3. When Mom straightens teens’ bedrooms, teens are not to complain that they can’t find anything.

On Gum-Chewing
1. Only teens are allowed to chew gum.
2. Teens must not share their gum with younger siblings until the school day has ended.
3. Younger siblings who get gum in their hair during recess will be punished.

On Training the Dog
1. Teens must not allow the dog into their bedrooms.
2. The dog may not sleep on teens’ beds.
3. After removing dog hair from bed pillows, teens must return the lint roller to its proper place.

On Curfew
1. Curfew is 11:00pm sharp.
2. Not one minute past 11:30.
3. Teens who are out past midnight will be locked out of the house.
4. Unless the weather is too cold, too hot, snowy, or rainy.

Copyright 2010 Celeste Behe

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About Author

Celeste Behe is a Bronx-born Italian Catholic who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and eight of her nine homeschooled children. She is an active Toastmaster who loves to entertain and encourage audiences with personal tales of failure and success. Celeste writes for Catholic Digest and the National Catholic Register, and blogs about faith, family, and Swiss chard at http://thecatholicvegetarian.com.

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