Teens can be combative about issues like curfew. You want them to be safe and they want to stay out late with their friends. At times there are negotiations involved like if they turn in their assignments on time, they can stay out late on Saturday or something to that effect. But the question remains, how do you win the constant battle of enforcing curfews?
If your teen makes claims about friends being able to stay out later than they do, don’t hesitate to ask other parents. More than likely, these kids are staying out later than their curfews anyway. If you are contemplating increasing curfew hours, you should consider that the chances of your teen getting into trouble will be increased as well. For instance, having a shorter curfew can discourage teens from travelling long distances to hang out with people from neighborhoods you aren’t familiar with.
As a parent, it is advisable not to stifle your child’s will for independence. You should find a compromise that allows your teen to have some freedom but that gives you a sense of security. One such way is by creating a contract. This involves sitting down to compare both wants and expectations. Just as in a contract, guidelines should be set as well as actionable consequences for not following these guidelines. You should involve your teen in establishing these guidelines that way he/she feels that it is fair seeing as though they played a part in creating it. Pre-set guidelines also prevent the parent from over-reacting when curfews are broken as they refer to the contract to know what consequences will follow.
Before setting guidelines, you should consider your teen. For instance, if your teen is usually responsible and is accepting of rules, they may be able to deal with the responsibility of a later curfew. On the other hand, a teenager who neglects responsibilities and is known for getting into trouble will require tighter reigns to discourage further incidents of getting into trouble. If they are able to stick to their curfew then this signals that they are ready for dealing with the added responsibility of staying out later. Even though the parent should have an idea of what the child will be like in handling a curfew, the teen should be able to have a say in the final decision.
A good way to discourage breaking curfew, is to make an appearance at the location your teen says he/she is if they fail to show up on time. This is embarrassing enough to prevent a teen from doing this again.
Encourage your teen to call you if they will be coming home late. When they do, refrain from yelling and threatening them as they may not be able to trust you when they are making an attempt do the right thing. If a situation occurs that seems like a reasonable excuse to be late, make an exception. However, don’t fall prey to constant excuses.
The aim is to develop mutual trust and respect. This is feasible by constant communication and following through on promises. As a parent it is up to you to teach your teen this and start from an early age.