Teenagers crave boundaries. They do. Boundaries are family values in another form and can really help when trying to make a decision.
Teenagers will push against boundaries and they will blame the adults outwardly. Teenagers may say things are unfair or there are too many limits on their lives. However, internally, they are grateful for the clear line. This line, the boundary you have set, will help your teen make responsible decisions. "My mom won't give me the car" may make you look like the bad guy but inside, your teenager may feel genuine relief. Not having access to the car on this night releases them from having to make hard decisions later in the evening. Where to take the car, who to go with, and all the social capital those decisions take.
When there are clear boundaries what is also seen are clear values. Clear values make any decision easier. "No, you may not take the car tonight because the weather looks bad and we haven't practiced enough bad-weather driving. Our family values safety first." A boundary is a family value in different clothes. A value is a thread that lives through a family -- the core beliefs of a family -- and when they are set into action; boundaries are created. If our family believes in honesty, then there will be consequences for lying. If our family believes in honesty, then parents, we will listen to all the details of the story your teen is telling you.
Three Tips for Boundaries:
BE FIRM AND CONSISTENT
Oh!! This can be hard -- teens are incredible lawyers, arguing the case with fluency and feeling -- and yet, there is a line and it is your job to hold the line.
This is a process that works for me:
I take a deep breath -- I am ready to secure the boundary