Ahh, curfews. Necessary to you; evil to your teens. But, your curfew doesn’t have to evoke an eye roll. Here are three strategies experts say parents can use to set a curfew with a teenager.
Setting Curfew Time
1. Open the floor for curfew debate. Teens become frustrated with seemingly arbitrary rules, so let them partake in the preliminaries. Explain that your teenager needs a curfew and what your fundamental goals are for setting a curfew. These include protecting sleep—nothing good comes from going to bed at 3 a.m. every weekend— and physical security (and as they say, nothing good happens after midnight). Then give your teenager a chance to respond. Strive for a curfew that everyone can get behind (for the most part), as well as agreed-upon consequences if the teen doesn’t abide by it. Additionally, research your city’s laws on curfews for minors to ensure your negotiated curfew remains within those parameters. Asking other parents with teenagers of a similar age what their curfews are can also be helpful.
2. Be flexible. Curfew can vary, from day to day, especially from weekday to weekend, depending on your teen’s schedule. So, have a process for your teen to negotiate a curfew from time to time. Also consider renegotiating for special circumstances. Finally, if your teenager is running late (say she had to drive a friend home), ask her to text you, so you won’t worry.
3. Establish consequences. According to psychologist Dr. Joseph Steiner, determining curfew is a balance in giving teens freedom and keeping them secure. Consider extending the curfew as your teen matures in his decision-making and ability to behave responsibly. But, a breach of curfew? Sure, being flexible about breaches here and there is sensible. But continued breaches should be addressed. Go back to Step 1 to reiterate the goals and impose the consequences if necessary.