To kids, curfews are a parent’s way of putting a damper on the night, ruining their fun and their social lives. But to parents, curfews are a way of keeping their kids safe and showing that they care. If you are thinking about giving your kid a curfew, there are some things to consider before doing so.
Curfews can offer much-needed structure to a teen’s life, but a new schedule and rules take time to get used to. Allow a grace period for your teen—and you—to adjust to the new regulations, and understand that there will probably be slip-ups. Fifteen minutes late is better than three hours.
Test of Responsibility
Curfews shouldn’t be used to punish your child, but instead to teach them responsibility and discipline (the good, character-building kind). If they have school or work the next morning, they need to realize the importance of sleep and being home at an appropriate hour. It also doesn’t hurt to learn to abide by rules, especially ones they don’t like.
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Make it Clear
Spell out expectations and consequences of missing curfew to your teen. Maybe give them a little leeway if they’re a few minutes late, but let them know there is a cost for being super late—other than being very tired the next morning. If there is a reason why your teen won’t be home on time—maybe they had to drive a friend home at the last minute—have them tell you in advance so you’re not worried or mad when they get home.
Curfews don’t have to be the exact same every time your kid goes out. You can work with your teen to establish a curfew based on where they’re going and with whom they’re hanging out. The more you work together, trust and respect each other, the easier it will be for you to enforce a curfew and for your teen to follow it.
No matter which way you decide to handle curfews, make sure you explain your reasons to your teen so they can understand where you’re coming from as a parent. Let them know these rules are in place because you care and look out for their safety. And when in doubt, talk it out.