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Curfew for Teens
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Curfew for Teens
I was wondering how other folks handled their child turning 18 during
senior year, and what home rules changed or didnt? mine seems to think
it will be anything goes, as much as we say it wont. what have others
done about curfews, alcohol, and other choices that kids are making at 18
but parents arent approving of? what about consequences, did they
change? were they enforced? i know we're in for some trouble and wanted
to hear how others approached this time. thanks !
Think about what leverage you have, and use it as well as you can.
Do you pay for your child's entertainment, car, car insurance, gas,
cell phone, computer time, etc.? Well, if they're old enough to do
whatever they want, they're old enough to pay for all that.
It would be great if you could talk this out beforehand. You could
write down the cash value of what you provide (the easy stuff, I
wouldn't calculate intangibles) and say, this is the cost of being
an adult. If you're not willing or able to pay for this, then you'll
need to abide by house rules or there will be consequences.
So I'd say, if your child violates a curfew, you calmly say the next
morning that the cell phone goes away for a week.
I bet your school counselors will have some suggestions--you're not
the only folks dealing with this.
glad my kids graduate at 17
My son turned 18 in senior year (and my now 16 yo will also).
My son(now 20 and away at college) was not difficult so we didn't
have to struggle too much...
If he was living in our house and we were supporting him, then our
rules were the rules he had to observe. We were lenient w/ curfew,
but he had to call us and check in if he was staying out later then
agreed upon time.
Once he moved out, even though we are still supporting him he could
make his own decisions. I like to think that our firmness during
high school taught him to be sensible on his own...so far so good.
Both of my kids turned 18 during their senior years - one quite
early in October and the other in January. Not much changes, and it
sounds like you are saying that to your child and need to continue,
maybe amplify it. Legally, very little changes for them. Alcohol is
still illegal. I can only think of two things: one, if they are new
drivers, as my son was, the restrictions on who they can drive with
disappear. Two - and this is worth repeating - any legal trouble
they get into, they will face the full force of the law as adults,
Our kids had the same curfews, the same rules about drugs and
alcohol. Those rules were focused on their health and safety and
their ability to do their job, which was succeed in high school.
They are still financially dependent and as such owe us the respect
of following our rules in our home. But I won't lie, there were
lapses and boundary pushing and we tried to not loose all
perspective while still standing firm behind our principles.
We did do some things to honor and acknowledge the milestone. But
they are mainly about responsibility, rather than license.
Registering to vote was a big deal. Males have to register for
selective service - at least if they will be applying for college
and student aid - and that led to some interesting discussions. Does
your child have a checking account and debit card? If not, they can
start on that, if so, is there a way to give them more
freedom/responsibility with their money?
It's a tough balance, you want them to grow and to acknowledge the
milestone, but practically very little changes. The real change is
with high school graduation and what comes after, not the birthday.
From a mom whose oldest turns 21 in 3 days - now there's a birthday
with some real impact!
My son turned 18 over the summer and he is still at home and is a
senior in high school . Nothing has changed. He has the same
restrictions, same rules to follow, etc., as he did when he was
younger. My feeling is that he lives in my home, under my rooftop,
I pay the bills, buy the food, etc., etc. He is still under my
charge and is my responsibility, so he needs to follow my rules.
And, yes, we have argued about this (his wanting to smoke pot at
home now that he's 18, stay out later, etc.), but I have stuck to my
guns about this and he knows he can't. I think the problem is that
parents cave in and allow their children to make the rules, do what
they want, and yet, we still have all the legal and financial
responsibilities. I would say, ''don't cave in''.
What is an appropriate curfew for an 18 yr. old boy? My son is
a senior in h.s. and after he turned 18, he feels that he
should have more liberties, i.e. staying out until 3 or 4:00
a.m. on weekends. He has been going to teen clubs in S.F. which
close at 3:00 a.m. He drives his friends to these clubs or they
take BART. When he asks ''Why?'' can't he stay out late, I have
no answer, other than I want him home safe. That does not go
over very well. Presently, his curfew is 2:00 a.m. which he
hates. I am surprised that the other kids' parents allow such a
late curfew. He is a good kid and his grades are above average.
It is gotten so difficult negotiating every weekend, he is
upset and I am frustrated. Please help with ideas, insights,
information, anything is appreciated.
Even though your son is 18, if he lives in your house, he has to
follow your rules. You don't really have to give a reason, though
you may get along better if you do!
My kids have a curfew because I can't sleep well until they come
home. If this is true for you, then say that. I would make it
midnight myself! And perhaps occasional exceptions till later, even
3 or 4, for a special event.
By the way, I used to ask my son to wake me up when he got home
because I would often fall asleep and then wake up and be unsure
whether he had come home and finally go to his room to check, which
really disturbed my sleep. Then I put an alarm clock outside my
bedroom door set to the time of his curfew and told him to turn it
off when he came home. This works really well--if the alarm goes off
I know he has not come home in time and I can start worrying! (Of
course, he could come home, turn it off, and leave again, but no
system is perfect...)
Still the boss
You probably have some bargaining chips if you want to play
hardball. You could stop giving him money. Take away his computer
when he isn't doing homework. Put limits on cell phone use. Or take
the door off his room. But I don't recommend any of that. I suggest
you have a discussion with him about the pros and cons of staying up
late. Get in touch with the other parents and see what they say. Are
you sure he is at nightclubs? Maybe he is really out with a girl and
you should be talking about condoms. After you have had the
discussion, just let him do what he wants. There is no way to win
this battle. If you actually get him to come home at an earlier
hour, he will resent you and make your life miserable in other ways.
Parents don't really have control over their kids once they get to
middle school. I suggest that you keep complimenting him on his
grades or whatever else he does well, and give up the rest.
how about this: He's living in your house, you are supporting him,
therefore he must follow your rules. My son is now 20 and a college
student in another state. When he's at home he's expected to
communicate where he's going and when he'll be back. He's generally
expected to be home by midnight and to text if he's going to be
later. He's expected to respond promptly if I text him. We put
this in the context of our concern for his safety and courtesy to
other members of household. So far he's been agreeable to our
policy. He hasn't been out past 2am, he's generally back about
12am and has communicated if he'll be later with an updated eta.
imho, bad things happen in the early am hours. other people with
poor impulse control who have consumed too much alcohol or drugs are
out either looking for victims or not paying attention to the
impacts of their actions.
also a parent
I have a question regarding setting a curfew for our 18 yo son. He will
be living at home while he attends the local community college. I
recognize that he is an ''adult'' and yet it seems reasonable that there
be house rules. He is very responsible in almost every area of his
life. He just is a night owl, and thinks nothing of returning home at
3am and 4am. There is no alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, etc....just hang
time with friends. We get tired when we wake up when he returns, so it
is a problem for my husband and me. Any suggestions? Am I being too
I was having the same issues. Though my daughter will be leaving in
Sept., we had the whole summer stretching out before us and I had to
put my foot down. So, here's where we're at: weeknights 12:30,
weekends open. She needs to tell me where she is and what time she
will be home, even on the weeknights. Part of it is for safety reasons
and part for my own sanity (and sleep).
I have an 18 yr old who lives away from home now (which I am really
happy about since we had lots of struggles about rules).
I think that as the parent and ''landlord'' you do have the right to
establish house rules (like wash your dishes when you're done, no
smoking in the house, etc).
I don't think you have a right to establish a curfew for him, but I do
think you have the right to set up a system so you are not woken up
every night! So if there is no way for him to get in without waking
you up, then essentially yes, you are going to set a curfew, but don't
describe it to him that way :) And perhaps have some flexibility re
My 15 y.o. son and I are arguing about the terms and
conditions of his going out on weekend nights, particularly
on what his curfew should be. He snuck out of the house
after we were asleep, one night, planning to return home un-
noticed, before we awoke. I would really appreciate a
discussion on what others have set as curfew for their high
schoolers for the each of the ages (14-17 y.o., i.e.,
different times for different ages), as well as, related
experiences and suggestions.
The perennial teen-parent battle.
What to do:
Pick a reasonable time (and keep it in your
Ask them what they think and why. Ask them to be specific.
Let them know how important their safety is to you...and
that you think about them AND all the other people that make
things more or less safe.
Let them know you trust them but that its your job to be the
parent, and that no one ever died from too early a curfew.
Let them know that the sneaking out isn't a good idea.
Its a form of lying and it shows that their judgement isn't
quite ready yet.
Ask them to suggest a time and a plan for
communicating...cell phone check in, wanting to know where
they are, are parents around or not, drinking etc.
And try to have this conversation with other people...or
turn it over to somebody you both like and trust.
Its amazing how much better things go when more than two
people are witnessing the conversation.
If talking about it is too hard...try writing letters back
and forth...its goofy, low pressure, and works
wonders...takes a lot of fight out of the battle, and you
can save your energy for crazy hair cuts, sex, and the ''its
my life..let me fail'' battles.
Be the parent they need, not the parent they ''like''.
You didn't say what time your son's curfew is now, but I
would be really upset if my child snuck out in the middle of
the night and I would come down hard on that. That said, I
would also try and work out with him what is an acceptable
time to return home on weekend nights. For my daughter (17)
it's usually between 12 and 1am depending on what, where,
and with whom. At 15 she wasn't going out with friends on
the weekends much so it wasn't an issue. She would just go
over to someone's house and sleepover. I assumed that they
just stayed at the house and didn't go out. I guess that
might be a difference between girls and boys. You don't say
where you live or what your son does when he's out (not that
we REALLY know), but I don't think that Berkeley is all that
safe at night. I grew up in NYC where I stayed out really
late as a teenager and felt fine. Here the streets are dark
and there aren't many people out late at night so that
worries me. Also, there is a lot of violence these
days...things to think about when you are talking about this
with your son. Good luck!
I too am the parent of a 15 year old and struggling with similar
issues but this is how I look at it. What are the things that are ok
for teenagers to do that happen after 11 pm? My only answer is
virtually nothing. Based on that and the concept that every year
until he is 18 we will move the curfew later, our hs soph's curfew is
10:30 pm. That gives us 1 1/2 hours of leeway until he is 18 - as I
consider midnight the latest until he is on his own. For special
occasions (prom, etc) he can request an exception ahead of time.
our city (Walnut Creek) has a curfew for under 18's of 10 pm
on weekday nights and 12 pm on weekend nights. That is what
we have used, though it hasn't stopped our son from sneaking
He is now 17.5 and behaving well, so we now often let him
stay out later when he asks (that was something he really
wanted and we said following the house rules was a
precondition for that). We still do not let him spend the
night places where there is no adult (we talk to parents) as
it seems like that's when the most trouble
happens--unsupervised parties. He has been beaten up and
robbed and had some close calls.
It's very hard...
glad to have an almost grown up teen!
Well. The discussion would be moot until he wasn't grounded
anymore. No matter when his curfew is, he snuck out of the
house with the intention of fooling you and getting away
with it...he shouldn't be going out at all for several weeks.
After that, I'd set his curfew at a time convenient to me --
certainly no later than 11 or 12 on a weekend night, and I
would not let him stay at a friend's house unless he had
previously cleared the plan -- specifically, I'd want to SEE
him on any evening when his plans changed abruptly; the
sudden urge not to go home after all is often a sign of
The sneaking out would drive me mad -- a kid I can't trust
can't be trusted out on a Friday or Saturday night, at all.
My 16 yr old has a 10:30 curfew on weekend nights and 8 pm
on weeknights. I'd also be curious to hear what other
parents are doing. I'm lucky, in that he understands this
is about safety and hasn't given me a problem about it.
I'd like to know how people enforce curfews. I can't stay
up as late as my kids. And if I tell my 17 year old he's
grounded, what's to stop him from going out? He already
doesn't get any money from me, only food. I can take away
occasional rides and the cell phone (that I pay for). I
can make it uncomfortable for him to sleep in. Changing
the locks, or telling him to live elsewhere, would be
drastic, considering that he's not being defiant, just
showing bad judgment (and not gotten into any actual
trouble doing it).
I'm upset but feel helpless.
Don't feel helpless. Don't get upset. You are the parent.
You are going to be uncool when you impose limits and you
have to live with that. You do have leverage over your
child - including food and cellphone - and a major part of
it is your goodwill. You might as well start now as wait
until your kid IS in trouble. I was tricked by having one
kid who was never a problem and then the second pushed the
limits more. You should certainly make it uncomfortable for
your kid to disobey you - if necessary with a bucket of
water when they sleep in after a non-permitted late night.
You should also begin by sitting down and work out clearly
what the ground rules are - first for yourself, then in
consultation with your kid. Talk to the parents of friends.
Get their landline numbers. Get your kid's friends'
cellphone numbers so you can embarassingly call around and
ask for your child. And talk to your kid, explain what
you're doing and why and let them have input (but you make
I'd like to hear what other parents of teen girls ( 10th grade, or 16 yr.
olds) do about curfews - both for weekends and weekdays.
I have always insisted on knowing ( or tried to know) where my daughter
is if she goes out with friends, with whom, and, if visiting a friend's
house, confirm that a parent will be home. My daughter finds all this too
restrictive. I'd be interested to hear how other parents feel. Thanks,
I've never given a curfew because I don't let her just go "hang." I
have always insisted on knowing ( or tried to know) where my daughter
is if she goes out with friends, with whom, and, if visiting a
friend's house, confirm that a parent will be home. And I try to find
out what they're doing, therefore how long she needs to be out. And
she should call me if plans or locations change. So far, it's worked
fine. She grouches, but puts up with it.
I also followed this procedure with my son, who is now a senior. I'm
amazed that now I let him stay out until all hours (2 or 3 a.m.) and
even all night. The reasons are that he's a male, he's 18, he's been
responsible all these years in telling me where he is, and finally, I
know, like and trust his friends and their families. In other words,
I feel he's earned privileges. I'm not sure what I'll do with my
daughter a few years from now.
I have a just turned 16 year old son. He has a curfew of 12 AM, and I
want a parent to be home when he goes out at night to other people's
houses. He can go to "parties" if parents are home. (My son says these
are not parties). None of the friends (girls or boys) he is currently
hanging out with seem to have a curfew at all. (According to my son
the other parents just need to know where the kids are. I know that
the kids are not always honest about where they really are. I realize
that this is very typical behavior for teens.) He is a good kid (but
has done some "experimenting" in the past) and gets great grades. Am I
off base here? I have tried to meet the parents of several of these
friends, but they don't seem interested. I am wondering what the
curfew is of other just turned 16 year old kids.
In response to curfews for "just 16" teens:
My just 16 daughter is very independent, and responsible. She is
actually working at 2 great jobs this summer.
Her curfew is 12, and she may not spend the night or attend parties at
someone's house unless there are parents there. She cannot spend the
night alone in our house either.
I too have determined that other teens her age do not have curfews;
many parents do not even check to see if kids arrive home safely.
Last winter my daughter was asked to baby sit another 15 year old
whose parents were out of town, and the kid was TOO scared to spend
the weekend alone, so my daughter was asked to keep her company!!
My daughter thinks I am "Psycho" with my rules....
signed -Mary (7/00)
Our 17.5 yr old curfew is 11:00pm except for "special occasions" then
Their driver's licenses have a midnight curfew!
On school nights we expect 10:00pm with occasional negotiated
The 18-year-old has a midnight curfew on the weekends. If he is
staying over at a friend's, he has to stay put after midnight. Some
of his friends do not have curfews. Some have 1:30 am. The ones who
drive have midnight curfews. Special exceptions can be arranged
in advance, for instance a concert in the City that runs late, where I
know how he's getting home and with whom. Most of his friends are not
supposed to go to a friend's house unless there is a parent there, but
this is hard to enforce and sometimes doesn't get enforced. The
15-year-old doesn't really have a formal curfew since he does not
really go out on the weekends. If he goes out, usually a parent
picks him up, and the pickup is before midnight.
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