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Teenage curfews

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As soon as your child starts high school, the requests for more freedom become increasingly frequent.  While your teenager is ready to start exploring the world you may, understandably, have some reservations.  Teenage curfews act as a compromise, allowing your child the freedom she craves but within boundaries that suit you both.

Why set a curfew?

Curfews are a simple way to give your teen more freedom within set restrictions and ensure that she is home in time to get plenty of sleep.   It means you’ll know exactly what time to expect her home by and she will learn self-discipline and the importance of time management.  A set curfew also gives your teen a get-out clause if her friends are off to do something she’d rather stay out of.  “I need to be home by 10 so I’ll give it a miss,” usually results in less peer pressure than just saying she’s not interested.

How to set a curfew

Teenagers are much more likely to comply with curfews if they have a say in them.  Sit down with your teen and discuss it together, taking into account activities that she might be involved in and travel arrangements for coming home.  If there is one bus every half  hour then arrange the curfew for after it arrives at her stop rather than a few minutes before.  Likewise if a friend’s parents are happy to give her a lift at 10pm there is no point in making a 9.45pm curfew and have her travelling home alone.

Do your research beforehand.  If you know some of her friends’ parents then you could ask what time their kids have to be home by.  This will give you an idea of where to start and will give you the upper hand when your teen comes out with the inevitable, “But all my friends are allowed out later than that!”  Be prepared to compromise and offer a later curfew at weekends on the understanding that you know where your teen will be at all times.  A little flexibility is important when it comes to special occasions like parties or school discos.  Teenagers are much more likely to stick to a curfew if they feel they are not missing out on anything by being home on time.

What is an appropriate curfew?

The curfew you set for your child will largely depend on her age and maturity.  Other factors such as homework should also be taken into consideration.  If your teen is going out with her friends before her homework is complete then she should be home early in order to do it before she gets tired.

Don’t be afraid to set different curfews for each teen in the family – your 14 year old might object to a 9pm curfew when her 16 year old brother is allowed out until 10.30pm.  Take the time to explain the reasoning behind the differences.  It’s not that you have less trust in her; it’s just that she is younger and less experienced.

Enforcing the curfew

When you set a specific time with your teen you should also agree on what will happen if the curfew is broken.teenage curfews  Make sure you don’t back down on this as the curfew will become meaningless if there are no consequences to not meeting it.  Having to be home early for a week or being denied their laptop for anything other than schoolwork can be effective punishments.  However, if there is a genuine reason for lateness, take that into account.  There is no point in punishing your child for something that couldn’t be helped and doing so will only diminish her respect for the rule.  If she is going to be late for any reason make it clear that you’re much more likely to be lenient if she calls to let you know.

Flexibility

If your teen usually obeys her curfew then it is worth offering a later one now and again if she is going somewhere that you know she will be safe, such as a friend’s house.  This gives her an incentive to keep sticking to her curfew and shows you trust her.  Older teens can benefit from flexible curfews and being allowed out later some nights as it can ease the transition from living at home to moving to college or university.  They are much less likely to go wild partying all night as a fresher if they have already had a taste of freedom.

Whatever your approach to curfews, they are a valuable tool in developing trust between parent and teen, teaching children responsibility and easing your own worries.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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