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Teaching Teenagers About Rules and Laws

Teens are the perfect age group for teaching rules and laws. They are old enough to understand how to be productive members of society when someone engagingly teaches them.

Teens are the perfect age group for teaching rules and laws. They are old enough to understand how to be productive members of society when someone engagingly teaches them. 

Teaching teenagers about rules and laws matters because they will eventually participate as productive members of society. They learn how to drive, sign contracts, work part-time, and earn freedoms. When they know how rules and laws work, they are less likely to have someone take advantage of them. 

Rules and laws apply not only to society but to school and the classroom. Teens also need boundaries in their households, so they gain an understanding of boundaries with their parents and friends. 

Learning Before the Teen Years

Before students reach their teenage years, they should already understand how rules and laws work. Preschool and early elementary teachers often include contracts in their classrooms. Students learn how to share, behave in class, and follow procedures. Teachers share basic concepts rather than detailed terms and content. 

Throughout elementary school, teachers help students learn to resolve conflicts safely by instituting rules and agreements. Children learn that they cannot use violence to solve problems at school. At this age, parental reinforcement of rules and laws helps students recognize boundaries and foundational skills. 

In the upper elementary years, teachers begin sharing government concepts. Students learn how the legislative process works, and they develop an understanding of how that process creates a functional society. They also begin to build ideas about what happens when people do not follow rules and laws. 

During middle school, students start to test rules, so they need more engaging lessons with hands-on activities. Middle school students have more understanding of logic and reasoning, so they can process analytical assignments. 

Middle school is the perfect time for teachers and students to create contracts and write laws. They can also analyze the need for authority figures. Young teens start to see injustices, so teachers can use this time to discuss how best to handle them. 

How to Teach Rules and Laws to Teens

When students reach high school, they should have a solid background in rules and laws. They’ve made it through several years of school, so they’ve had time to test the rules. When they reach high school, they can think with logic and reasoning. Their brains have developed to understand abstract thought, too. 

Teachers can share how laws and rules have evolved throughout history. Then, students can see how rules and regulations have affected the success of societies and governments. They can practice drafting laws and contracts to show they understand the terminology. 

Teens should learn about more than just government rules and laws. They should look at how business laws affect the economy, the environment, and employees. Teachers should also teach due process and criminal law, so students understand what to do if they have legal trouble of their own. 

At the high school level, students have opportunities to visit the Supreme Court and other institutions. When they visit these iconic locales, they can see how the legal system works and why it is important to maintain it. 

Freedom and Boundaries

Teenagers need to learn about rules and laws, but adults cannot be imposing. Teens often take opportunities to find ways to defy authority, so if you are overly forceful with teaching rules, teens might try hard to break them.

To help teens understand why laws and rules exist, explain that rules and laws give people freedom. If we were constantly worried about being assaulted or robbed, we would not be able to live a free life. 

Teens also need to understand that breaking rules and laws forces authority figures to take away freedoms. Those who cannot follow the rules do not add to society, instead they create chaos and take away the freedoms of people who do follow the rules. 


When teaching teenagers about rules and laws, teachers and other adults should focus on analytical and logical thought. Teens enter the conversation with enough background knowledge to fully understand the rationale behind rules and laws. The trick is getting them to understand how important it is to follow them. 


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