Parenting Tips: Enough Rope to Grow Yourself

Jeff Herring

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Let's take the burning issue of curfew and apply the 6 step management approach for parenting teenagers.

Enough rope to grow yourself

A solution that works for many families, and that meets the six criteria of management vs. control, is what I call the “enough rope to grow yourself" solution.

In this solution, the parents choose a starting point for curfew, maybe 10 p. m. If the teen is able to keep that curfew (not even five or 10 minutes late, because 5 minutes can quickly turn into 20 minutes) for a certain period of time, let's say six months, then the curfew can be extended an additional 15 or 30 minutes. If at any time during the six month period the teen breaks curfew, the six-month period begins all over again.

The numbers here are just for example. You can of course change them to fit your own situation.

The 6 criteria

Checking this out with our criteria for managing teenagers, we see that the parents are clearly in charge, the teen has a way to earn more responsibility and trust, the parents have a way to monitor progress, consequences are clear, and there is a map for rebuilding trust and responsibility when it is damaged.

The passage of adolescence can be difficult enough without a never-ending power struggle for control.

Taking a management approach can go a long way toward helping parents work themselves out of a job and helping the teenager grow into a well-functioning young adult.

Visit for tips and tools for thriving during the teen years. For regular weekly tips you can subscribe to our f-ree Parenting Your Teenager Newsletter. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 5 day e-program on The Top 5 Things to Never Say to Your Teenager from parenting coach and expert Jeff Herring.


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