Tom Barthel Consulting

Still confused on how to use a written contract with rules for your child?

Have you confused the purpose of Accountability Agreements?

This service for parents is about SAVING your children (teen or young adult) from troubling and criminal behaviour, drugs and alcohol, poor mental health, and inability to be motivated and go out and live life functionally.

The same information is about teaching parents how to stop that from ever becoming a problem in the first place.  Do what I say below, and things can begin to change.

Does laying it out on the line for your teen feel like a good fit for your house?


Call and tell me about the struggle you are dealing with.

Parenting Tip For You

Today we are going to talk about contracts between you and your children. Oh I can hear the comments now of a frustrated parent “But I have tried contracts they do not work”. That must be very stressful for that parent, seeing as contracts work incredibly well, and I’ve got them to work every time. I however like to call them accountability agreements

Note that I have an accountability agreement for kids that live at home, and for

young people that live outside the home I have relationship accountability agreements. Relationships are still things parents have when their kids live outside the home and we can still hold those young people accountable.

Below I will clear up some of the misunderstandings of these agreements on paper, and why some parents are simply not able to get them to work, even though they work almost all of the time for other parents. I get so fired up when I talk about accountability, I almost swear in this article !!

Truth of contracts

 It’s The Presenting Of It That Is Important!

Below is a short list of items that are horribly misunderstood by parents when it comes to having accountability agreements or a relationship accountability document.

Number 1- A parent always has a accountability agreement going on with the child from a young age until 40 years old. That agreement may be unspoken and have many assumptions in it but the agreement is there. There are expectations from both parent and child going on all the time. So I don’t want to hear anyone say they don’t need an accountability agreement because they actually have one going on already.

Number 2- There can be major malfunctions with the above mentioned accountability agreements.

• The agreements are unspoken.
• Parents are brutally unclear if they say anything at all. Kids can only read body language and infer their parent’s ulterior motives. They can interpret in their own perspective the following from their parents:
• Disappointment, non acceptance, criticism, ambiguity, confusion, hostility, foolishness.
• And everything else that destroys a child’s life.
• Kids don’t do anything to reveal their true thoughts and feelings, they are young and immature and don’t know how, they don’t have any parents role modeling for them how to communicate clearly so they can learn.
• So they just act out, without describing anything to anybody.
• One big massive uncontrolled reaction, spiraling them downhill.


  • For two, their agreements are assumed.
  • Parents think the children know what the parent is thinking but they don’t.
  • Kids are way off base in the perception of what the parents are thinking about the kid’s life, thoughts and feelings.
  • Both sides wait for the other one to behave the way the way they expect, then that person doesn’t, so they grow irritated and lash out, which the other thinks is happening for a different reason, and lashes back with more frustration than ever.
  • Then we have broken homeshomeless childrendrug abuse,unsuccessful attemptsto manage mental illness, and more pain and fear than you can imagine.  
  • For 3, these parents are having a hard time presenting their  contracts to their children.  It doesn’t go well, and it feels  uncomfortable.

What is going on for these parents is that they offer this agreement to their child and the child curses and swears their name.  “You are trying to ruin my life” and “you are playing some weird game with me”, and “I hate you, you never have been fair to me”.  Then the parents feel this isn’t working, the kid is even more mad, this is too uncomfortable, their child won’t even talk to them now.

Here's The Thing.

(the ultimate lesson, pay attention)

The parent is not doing this to make the child happier, or get them to
agree right now.
The parent is offering these things so that the child can hear them Present it.
Then the parent is supposed to present it over and over again so it burns into the child’s mind that the option to live under those rules are there.
We don’t need the child to agree with it, we sure as HELL don’t need the child to like it. Does the bank care if you like their mortgage terms? Do they? Do they give a RAT’S BEHIND if you are not comfortable with signing an agreement on paper?
The bank does not give a flying! @(“*%$#@! how you feel about the contract, or whether you like it. They are the boss end of story. If you don’t want to sign an agreement with the bank then don’t. Live without the loan. Either way, you as a customer learn what’s needed, your behaviour improves, and one day you learn to co-operate and be more responsible with your money so you can access what the bank has to offer. You are supposed explain your terms to your children the exact same way.
The more upset your children get the more it means that your accountability agreement is targeting their malfunction. This directly means that you are making progress.

Call me right now


If you want to set your teenager straight, once and for all.

You are the parent. You have the teen that has troubles. You are the one who needs to respond and learn what to do, so you do not make things worse than it has to be. With this approach you also get to create the solution and receive quite a bit credit solving it too.

Myself and my four kids are all great. My son is not totally out of the woods yet but he has come miles from where he was and I thank you again for your help. He is physically back to being very healthy and has not lost his love of staying very fit and keeping his love and God given talent for volleyball. It’s like we have our loving brother and son back. Our relationship is almost back to where it used to be. Please continue to send me your newsletters and know that I would recommend your help to anyone who I know needs it.

Michelle Johnson, Red Deer AB, Accountant.

So What Do I Do Now?

Call to action:

This call to action is to help you understand that there is something you can do to “put” accountability into your child.

• Create an accountability agreement on paper for your home that outlines the rules you already have, expectations outside of allowance, and expectations you have that you will pay for, times and curfews for video games, eating dinner with the family, etc…. and privileges you will take away from your child within 5 minutes that they are non compliant.

• Do not give it to your child, because you will fail at applying it because you will get scared and back off.
• Instead look at it, have it reviewed by someone that works in a treatment center for youth, or by me, or by someone who has successfully straightened out there kid. Perfect it.
• Then contemplate why you are scared stiff to violate the rules of your banks contract with you and your mortgage. Contemplate for hours and several days. Write down what a bank would do to you if you stopped paying your mortgage, and how decisive they would be.

• When you are willing to treat your child like a bank treats you, deliver your contract.

Helping Other Parents:

You may know a parent struggling with a young person, and you want to help.

Let that parent know it doesn’t have to stay that way; that there are proven strategies.

Then YOU message me and tell me about them.

Together, you and I can get those parents some free information and a new point of view.

Counter Testimonial:

(in response to a complaint from an audience member)

Okay, I think they’re off base on those thoughts. At no time did I think that you glorified this lifestyle. Certainly the feedback from my students indicates that as well. They hung off your every word and sat still for your entire presentation. Unless they see life threatening situations, mental health concerns, and darn near losing all that was important to you as glorification, but certainly you’d have to be a bit warped to see it that way. The kids were very positive and took your message to heart. They listened to me when I directed them after you left, and I am working on running a little tighter show. None of it dealt with the glorified drug dealing aspect. Hope that helps.

Jennifer Smith, Department Head.
Special education. Notre Dame Highschool.
Red Deer Ab.

Call Today

Get the behavior you want from your child.

I will teach you how to train the skills you want into your teen.

I will do it with you, and in extreme cases I can do it for you.

I have templates, resources, and real-life examples you can model.

Let’s talk.

Click Here

Get the behavior you want from your child.

I will teach you how to train the skills you want into your teen.

I will do it with you, and in extreme cases I can do it for you.

I have templates, resources, and real-life examples you can model.

Let’s talk.

Call here


For a quick response

P.S. If you know another parent who is struggling, call me now. Tell me about them. I can help you get them started in a new direction. 403-391-4184.


Tom Barthel