Household Rules for Teenagers (Independence, Responsibility and Ethics)

Parenting a teenager can be challenging. While you want your child to have their own independence, you still need to put some guidelines into place that will help guide and shape them into a responsible adult.

That’s why it’s important to have household rules for your teenagers. Household rules and responsibilities can provide your teen with the framework they need to steer them in the right direction while also giving them the freedom to grow independently as an adult.

Teenage boy and teenage girl sitting back-to-back on the floor

What are the Rules and Responsibilities of a Teenager at Home?

While it’s important that you allow your teen to have independence and autonomy, there are still some rules they need to follow at home and while they’re out living their life.

When it comes to the rules and responsibilities of a teenager at home, there are four main goals to remember:

  • Safety. Some household rules for teenagers revolve around keeping them safe. From rules that encourage driving safely to curfew guidelines, there are several household rules that need to be put in place in order to keep your teen safe and secure.
  • Healthy habits. In addition to keeping your teen safe, having rules in place that encourage good ethics and healthy habits are also important. From ensuring your teen is respectful and polite to helping them improve their moral compass, these rules are great for guiding your teen at an important and influential time in their life.
  • Household responsibility. Since your teen is a valued member of the family, they should have responsibilities within your home. That often includes chores and other household tasks that should be completed on a regular basis.
  • Relationships. Making sure your teen is a good friend and companion is important. So, implementing rules revolving around their personal relationships is an important aspect of creating household guidelines, too.

Household Rules to Keep Teens Safe

When it comes to keeping your teen safe, there are a variety of rules you could put into place. These guidelines are a great starting point for coming up with your own household rules for safety and security:

Teenage boy driving car with a teenage girl passenger

Road safety

To make sure your teenager is safe while they’re driving, implementing a few ground rules is important. These road safety rules are perfect for ensuring your teenager stays safe while they drive:

  • Do not go over the speed limit.
  • Always wear a seatbelt.
  • No texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  • No drinking and driving.
  • No more than one passenger in the car at a time.

Drug and alcohol usage

Making sure your teen stays away from drugs and alcohol is essential. That’s why it’s important that they know the rules of your home regarding drugs and alcohol.

These rules are a good starting point for keeping your teen away from harmful substances:

  • No alcohol until they are of legal age.
  • No smoking or vaping.
  • No illegal drugs or misuse of prescription drugs.


Setting a curfew is a good start to ensuring your teen comes home at a reasonable time. The time for your teen’s curfew will depend on your own household rules.

Here are some additional guidelines on curfew and other time limits throughout your teenager’s day.

  • A curfew for when your child must return home on school nights and on weekends (if different).
  • What time your teen needs to go to bed on school nights.

Rules for going out

Teenagers will likely be spending a lot of time with their friends. Setting rules regarding where they go and who they’re with is a great way to ensure you know what your child is doing when they’re away from home.

These rules for going out are a great start for creating rules for your own teenager:

  • Give prior information about where they will be going and who they’ll be with.
  • Keep their phone on at all times and respond promptly to phone calls and/or texts.
  • Call and let you know if they will be late (within reason).
  • Limit to how far they can travel away from home or requiring approval to travel out of town.
Image of teenage girl looking at her phone. Image says household rules for teens.

Rules to Teach Healthy Habits

Helping your teen learn how to live an ethical life is how you’ll help shape them into good people. That means you’ll need to incorporate some rules that teach your teen healthy habits to ensure they develop into responsible adults.

These basic rules can serve as a guide to help you come up with your own rules at home:


Making sure your teen is respectful is very important.

With these rules revolving around respect, you can encourage them to be respectful in their daily life:

  • Do not disrespect or talk back to your parents, teachers, or other adults.
  • Treat everyone with respect and be polite to others.
  • Always acknowledge and respond to someone who is speaking to you.
  • Do not bully, gossip, or call people names.
  • Always be honest and do not omit details or hide the truth.
  • Ask before you borrow something from someone.
  • Knock before entering a room.


Teen girl doing school homework

Helping your teenager stay on top of their school work is another opportunity for household rules. These rules are important for ensuring your teen stays responsible when it comes to their grades and extra-curricular activities.

  • Homework should be finished before they can watch TV or spend time with their friends.
  • They can only participate in extra-curricular activities and sports if they are passing their classes (or getting a certain grade in each class).

Electronic usage

Making sure your teen has a healthy handle on their electronics usage is a great way to teach them to limit their time in their devices.

These rules will help you regulate your teen’s phone and gadget usage each day:

  • Cell phone and other electronics can only be used during a certain time of day.
  • Cell phones and other electronics cannot be used at the dinner table.
  • Cell phones and other electronics must be turned off at a certain time each evening.
  • Social media posts and profiles should be regulated and be available to parents for viewing.

TV and video game usage

In addition to monitoring your teen’s cell phone usage, it’s also important to monitor other screen time.

These rules regarding TV and video games will help your teen get a handle on the amount of time they spend in front of a screen:

  • Set limits on the amount of time your teenager can spend watching TV and playing video games.
  • Provide rules regarding the types of video games, television shows, and movies they can watch (using ratings as a guideline).
  • Set a timeframe in which your teen can watch TV or play video games each day, including when the television must be turned off each night.

Personal responsibility

Making sure your teen takes responsibility for their actions is another factor to consider when outlining household rules.

These ideas can serve as a guide to the rules you set in your own house:

  • No complaining, whining, crying, or arguing about any rules
  • Accept the consequences when the rules are broken
  • Do not blame others for their actions or mistakes

Household Chores for Teenagers

Teenage boy carrying a hamper full of clothes while listening to his headphones

In addition to rules that revolve around personal habits and safety, you should also outline household chores for your teen.

Chores are another way to encourage your teen to take responsibility for themselves and be a responsible member of the household.


When coming up with chores for your teen, consider these guidelines:

  • Outline the chores your teen needs to complete each day, including tasks that contribute to the cleanliness and operation of the household (like taking out the trash, doing the dishes, or walking the dog)
  • Make sure your teen is responsible for their own room, bathroom, and belongings, including doing their own laundry and cleaning up after themselves around the house

Relationship Rules

Your teen will have a variety of different relationships as they get older. From navigating relationships with significant others to being a good friend, there are several different types of household rules to consider in this regard.

These relationship rule ideas are a great starting point for creating rules and guidelines for your own teen:

  • Dating is allowed only when they reach a certain age
  • They need to stick to the outlined curfew when they’re on a date
  • Parents need to meet their date or new friends before they are allowed to go
  • They should tell you where they are going on the date or when out with friends
  • Physical contact (holding hands, kissing, and physical intimacy) is not allowed until a certain age
  • Outline a list of places that they are not allowed to go on dates or when out with friends

These rules may seem like no-brainers, but teens need constant reminders as their brains are still developing. They need to be encouraged to choose to always do the right thing as often as possible.

This list of household rules for teenagers is intended to be a starting place for parents. Use it as a starting point to get ideas about the kind of rules you’d like to have for your teen, and customize it to fit your home.

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