Teen Issues

I have to admit I was a horrible teenager; however, I am now mum of two teenagers myself. It is quite amazing how you grow to see things from your parents’ point of view. So having seen both sides of the fence, I think I’m in the ideal position to comment on this subject.

The best way to gain more freedom is to show that you are mature enough to deserve it. This may sound obvious, but most parents just want the reassurance to know that you can be trusted with more freedom.

If, for example, your parents raise your curfew and allow you to stay out until 9.30 p.m., then make sure you are home by 9.25 p.m. That will prove that you were monitoring the time and making a conscious effort to be on time. Your parents will appreciate this and know that you were acting in a mature manner.

Also, phone your parents if you are going to be home late. There is nothing quite as worrying as being a parent, sitting at home, watching the clock because their teenager is late. The parent won’t want to phone the teenager as this will only embarrass them. But as the minutes tick by, the blood pressure will be rising. All sorts of images will be flashing through your parents’ minds. Have you had an accident? Are you hurt? Are you drunk? Then when you arrive home all your parents’ worry will flood through them; first of all as relief, but turning into anger as they realize that all this could have been averted with a simple phone call.

I used a simple method with my daughter. If she came home 10 minutes late, I would ask her to come in 10 minutes earlier the next time she went out. She soon realized that a quick phone call, just to let me know that she’s okay, would save an earlier curfew next week.

If you are truly unhappy about the level of freedom your parents give you, then talk to them – and I do mean talk, not shout. Ask to speak to them in a quiet manner, and plan what you want to say. It will show your parents that you have thought about this, and are mature enough to go about it in a calm manner. Try not to use the old cliches like, “But my friend stays out until 10 p.m.,” or “Susan’s parents would let her.” Just show your parents that you can hold a discussion and make a reasonable argument without losing your temper.

Parents only set rules for their teens because they worry about them. They want you to be safe. So show them that you respect your parents’ knowledge of the world and they will repay you with more freedom and respect.