Appropriate Summer Curfews for Teenagers

It’s that time of year again:  Summer. Which means heat, barbeques, and… that the kids are out of school. As for most kids, summer means freedom. Freedom from school, freedom from homework, and, unfortunately, for many of them, it means freedom from rules. But for a parent, it can mean nightmares. How far should a parent go when allowing their teenagers to bend the rules for summer vacation?

Some parents may reason that it’s okay to cut children some slack during the summer months. After all, for the majority of the last ten months, they have been studying, doing homework, taking tests and generally not having as much fun as they’d like to. But should summer vacation really equal a time free from rules such as curfews?

Consider: During school months, a child usually has a curfew to keep them on task in their school work. But it extends much further than that – it also involves their safety. Should a child be allowed to stay out later during summer months, simply because they do not have to be at school the next day? The answer will probably vary by individual. However, wouldn’t it be more reasonable to continue an appropriate curfew through the summer months for the protection of your child? The child will likely disagree. In the same way that you require your child to acknowledge the rules during school months, though, rules should be put into place to keep your child both safe, and out of trouble during the summer months as well.

Something to keep in mind is that you can always make another rule that a curfew may be broken on certain, limited occasions, with the stipulation that the child must give detailed information of the activities for that night, as well as keeping in touch with the parent throughout the night. This allows the child some freedom, without letting them completely lose the discipline they’ve acquired through the school months. This privilege can always be revoked should the teen step out of line.

So what is an appropriate curfew? Of course, this will also vary by parent, child, and age. The best way to figure this out is to decide at which point your child may become unsafe, or what time they might become involved in inappropriate activities. Asking for tips from other parents in the area, or possibly even the authorities, may provide you with adequate information to determine the proper curfew for your child.

In any case, the important issue is to be firm with your decision. Wavering too much can cause the child to think the rules do not apply. Remind them that these are privileges, not rights, and that you appreciate it when they follow the rules. Most importantly, try to keep tabs on them as much as possible, without becoming too overbearing. Knowing who your child will be with, and what they will be doing is essential. It is a delicate balance, but it can be achieved. Doing these things and providing an suitable curfew can allow you to sleep well, knowing that your child is safe, and that their next year in school will not be affected by how they spent their summer.