The Teen Years: To Quote Dickens, “The Best Of Times…The Worst Of Times.”


“It is our goal that you have more freedom than any other teenager you know.” Statement to kid

Obey a 9PM curfew for 6 months and it will automatically extended by 30 minutes.

Continuing along it gets to 12:00 midnight by age 16.

Sustain for 6 months and he can set his own curfew.

No excuses, even the truth, are accepted if he’s late.

There is no gray. You are either home on time or not.

You may be 16 and setting your own curfew, or your curfew may be 9:00PM.

Everything is established in advance.

He missed once. Told and explanation and asked for a variance. Wasn’t granted. That’s how he learned the idea of “margin of error.”

Curfew doesn’t mean that you can come home when you please. You have to commit to a time in advance be held to it.

Secondary: after 5PM you have to call us every 30 minutes and say where you area and who you’re with. Parent reserves the right to spot check.

Never had any issues with this at all.


Same approach works with money. Gave his song a $100 month allowance (in 1982), deposited into bank monthly without overdraft protection. Experience using a checkbook & registry.

1. With this money you will now buy all discretionary clothing. (It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure you have descent shoes. Example $12 Payless sneakers because he’s own growing anyway. If they want a more expensive one, they can take that $12 and pay for the delta from their own funds. Same thing: blue jeans (Dollar General). Winter Jacket, etc.)
2. You will now will pay for all of your own recreation unless it includes one other family member. Movie with your fiends: you pay for it. Take your sister along: parents pay for it.
3. No after draft protection. You will pay the banks fine and fees. You will pay a fine to your parents. Comes off future allowances.
4. We will never give you an advance under any circumstances.


Let them have the last word. What does it matter than they have the last word. Let them.

They’re never going to say “I love you mom” at the end of an argument.

There is no problem with giving reasons. Don’t try go get them to say they agree with you

Six Reasons for saying no:

You’re not old enough
You might get hurt
Not enough time
Not enough money
We don’t believe it that
We don’t like those kids

Not everything has to be so serious. You can have fun with this.

There are things that you simply can’t explain. Example, long story about his Son’s request for a motorcycle.

“My 15 year old daughter hasn’t talked to me in a week, what do I do? Take a vacation.”


Amy was a delightfully child until she hit 13 then she needed an exorcism or something. We started calling her Princess Bucket of Sass.

Him: Asked to help out.

Amy: “I’m not gonna. I’m taking a day off.”

Him: Did you hear what I told you I wanted you to do?

Amy: “Did you hear me say I wasn’t going to?”

Don’t wait for a problem to occur before you to decide what to do about it. [Stoic.]

If you respond impulsively, you will responding a way you regret which means you won’t enforce it because you feel guilt.

Him: So what this means is we heard each other really clearly. In most family’s I work with, they’re terrible communicators and operate on the basis of misunderstandings. Because we heard each other clearly, that means we don’t have the sort of problems other families have which makes me feel good.

He left.

She didn’t help out, so they did it afterward at some cost in extra-effort.

She ends out going out with her friends.

The punishment should never fit the crime. The size of the punishment is in the head of the beholder. She has done something “big” and invited my response. It’s not over.

Good things come to those who wait.

A couple of days later when she wanted to go out with her friends…

Him: “You can’t go out tonight.”

It’s not negotiable. In this case, this discussion happened to in front of her friends.

Life Lesson: when you defy someone who has authority over some aspect of your life, there will be consequences. Even if the parent is wrong. Parent, Boss, Government etc. Only learnable by experience.

This wasn’t funny when it was happening. It’s funny now.

If Amy had left, I would have let her. Instead, I would have gone out to her car and pull the distributor cap on the weekend and not tell her. It’s going to cost you about $150 to get a new one. If you don’t want to spend that, you’ll need to wait a month for me to give it back.

If there’s an incident of insolence, disrespect, or any bad behavior the month starts over.

Didn’t have to go there, courtesy of her friend Angie, not to cross the line again. Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing.

Shift the conversation away from the power struggle. That’s because it’s central to your teenager’s attitude which you can’t control. Instead execute against what you can. Example: Bedtime.