I rarely watch TV but when I do I tend to favor reality TV. While watching the Housewives of New Jersey, I did see one of the families make their teenage kids write a contract that they would abide by. The kids where sent off to write their contracts.
Once the contracts where finished they had a family meeting where they discussed the contracts and the kids got to read their contracts out loud. They where also able to voice their thoughts and concerns regarding their life in school and around friends.
I really thought that it was unique that these kids had the opportunity to share with their parents what they thought was wrong and how they might need to amend the contract in the future.
One of the kids practically admitted that he would try his best at staying away from normal stuff that teenagers do but he would not lie to his parents about it. I think it is critical that kids have clear communication especially when they are tempted to do something that violates the rules or break the law.
The contracts opened the conversation up and made everyone as comfortable as possible to discuss sensitive subjects which in some households and families are not spoken about.
This small exercise on TV got me thinking that in the future I need to make sure my daughter has a clear understanding of what she can’t do and how making a contract demands a committment to certain rules. Once again, the value of these contracts was an opportunity to have the kids ask questions of items on the contracts that had a grey line.
It would be great if we could create a checklist on items that any kid should have in their contract and how as parents we also need to commit to our kids.
What do you think should be included in the contract?
How will you approach sensitive subjects that might not be as comfortable to talk about?
Here is a link to a site with a Parents Pledge and Kids Pledge, which can serve as a guideline for us to make our own pledges and have our kids follow along.
photo credit by NobMouse