Should Teens be given a Curfew by Parents – Yes

Setting a curfew for your children is a sign of a loving and caring parent. While your children probably won’t appreciate it while they are living at home; their attitude tends to change once they are on their own and have children. Particularly once their children become teenagers. It’s funny how our attitudes tend to change once we are put in our parent’s position.

From birth children need both love and discipline, and giving them reasonable rules is part of that discipline. But, make sure your rules and curfews are reasonable. Why it might be appropriate for a 17 year old to be out till midnight, you probably would not let a 10 or 11 year old stay out that late. Why? Because the 10 or 11 year old probably doesn’t have any reasonable place to be after that time of night, and on school nights I made our children’s curfew earlier. Like I said they didn’t always like the rules, but they knew there would be consequences if they were late coming home or coming in. And they knew they could always count on Dad being awake and in the living room when they came home at night; no matter how late.

Learn to be somewhat flexible in setting your child’s curfew. There are going to be special events/circumstances in life that need to be accounted for. Expecting your 16 year old to be home at 10 the night of the Homecoming Dance isn’t a reasonable expectation. By being reasonable and listening to your child’s reason for wanting to stay out later for a particular activity shows your willingness to consider their desires. If you disagree with their logic or excuse for having an extended curfew that particular evening tell them why. Don’t make the mistake so many of us, especially fathers with daughters, have made and say “Because I said so.” That answer satisfies no one and can lead to rebellion on the child’s part. By listening and giving a legitimate reason for the denial, you are at least showing them that you’re trying to take their feelings into consideration.

As our children got older, their curfews were extended as were the places they were allowed to go. But, we still had to know where they were going, who they were going with, and what time the time started and could be expected to end. And we always insisted on getting a phone number of their friend’s parents and if we had any doubt about the plans we were not afraid to call that other parent to confirm the plans. You really only have to do this a couple of times to convince your children that you are not afraid to check up them. We always made sure that our children had money with them when they left the house, keeping in mind the possibility that they might need to call and come home early. Because our children knew what our expectations were, there was more than one time we received a call asking us to come and get them. As a parent this was particularly gratifying when they found themselves somewhere that possibly questionable activities were taking place.

Each of us have to live with rules on a daily basis. By teaching our children to follow rules from an early age we are doing them a favor. We’re not only helping them avoid the possibility of getting in trouble; we’re giving them a leg up on dealing with life as an adult. Do yourself and your children a favor, have a curfew for them. They’ll probably fight you a little now, but later it will dawn on them how you loved and cared for them while they were growing up. Just remember to be reasonable and fair.