The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Teens and Curfews

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teens and Curfews

How many of you with driving teenagers give them a strict curfew?  When my children were teenagers, I encouraged them to come home at a reasonable hour.  They seldom disappointed me and usually came in around midnight, give or take a few minutes.  My problem with strict curfews is that if a teen is twenty minutes from curfew but twenty-five minutes driving time away from home, he or she is very likely to speed to avoid the dreaded restrictions.  I can think of nothing more dangerous than a speeding new driver at midnight when the usual drunk adults wander the streets. 

Here's another story:  My daughters had a friend whose parents took away her TV, phone privileges, and other luxuries when she arrived home even five minutes after her established 11:00 pm curfew, even if it was beyond her ability to get home on time.  Here's what happened... I was the designated driver from the bowling alley that night, picking up my daughters and several friends, all under driving age.  I arrived on time at the bowling alley to get everyone home on time, but as luck would have it, a fight had broken out, the cops arrived, and I was delayed getting out.  My daughter's friend, who had the extremely strict curfew, was hysterical on the way home.  She kept encouraging me to go beyond the speed limit, but I refused to drive unsafely with other people's kids in the car.  I offered to speak to her parents about the problem, but she said it would make matters worse.  We arrived at her house at 11:05.  The following week, she could not watch TV, could only go to school and back home, and couldn't call any of her friends.  Arghhh!  Is it any wonder that she left the nest immediately after graduation?  Flexibility is a key component to effective parenting. 

Are you a flexible, understanding parent?  Or are you unyielding and strict with your demands on your children?   For more tips on teens and curfews go to http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/disciplin1/a/curfewtips.htm



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