Typical major determinants regarding Curfew allotments:
- Age of adolescent
- Developmental age of adolescent.
- How much parent trusts adolescent.
- The parent’s self-history of having a curfew.
- Peer’s curfews.
- Work schedule of parent/s.
- Fatigue level of parent/s.
- Expectation of community for curfews.
- Adolescent’s academic progress.
- Adolescent’s work schedule.
In working with adolescents, I have noticed that parents generally tend to choose one of three following styles for curfews:
A) There is the definite time frame: “You have to be home at 10pm on weeknights and 12am on weekends.” This leaves the parent helpless to exert any limits without a battle over rules. It also leaves the adolescent frustrated when an event goes beyond the curfew late hour rule.
B) There is the “Don’t ask for a curfew until you . . . .” Which usually applies to poor academic record, or a history of poor decision-making (drugs, runaway, sexual behavior). Typically this type of curfew gives the adolescent a hopelessness that they will ever get a curfew. The hopelessness drives the justification that “since I will never get a curfew, I might as well sneak out.”
C) Some parents have initiated the “no” curfew: “You don’t need a curfew, we trust you.” Some kids can handle this type of independence, but it does place them in a difficult situation if their friends know that they do not have to obey any curfew limits. “Your parents don’t care. You don’t have to go home this early.”
Here’s my take on it: I DO NOT BELIEVE IN CURFEWS.
I do believe that each time my adolescent wants to stay away from home, that he or she will have to present the reason why, who they will be with, when they will be home, and what, if any concerns either of us have for emotional and physical safety. It also gives Mom and adolescent a chance to “check in” with needs for academics, after school activities, and/or work schedules. All of this to keep communication open and expectations on both parts to open and hopefully supportive.
Every time. No exceptions.
When I don’t come directly home from work, I tell my family. When I leave home during normal hours to be at home, I tell the family. I check in BEFORE I leave. Family will know where I am, who I am with and when to expect me at home. If this rule is good enough for Mom, it’s good enough for kid.
By having the need to clear all “away times” from home, I’m teaching my kid how to present his case, be logical and reasonable. What an awesome piece of education. What a wonderful opportunity to continue to work on parent-child relationship.
Okay, I’ve had my say. Please leave your comments about this normal family step into practicing independence.