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#ParentHack: A Clever Way to Check Curfew

It’s a Saturday night, and it’s been a long week. I’m not as young as I used to be, and staying up until my teenagers get home at 1:00 a.m. for their curfew is a real struggle.

Here’s how it usually goes. My teenage son is out having fun, but I’m yawning. I’ve got to get some sleep. “Just wake me when you get home,” I tell him. “You know you have a 1:00 a.m. curfew.”

“I will, Mom. I promise.” And he goes out, and I go upstairs to bed.

And then the next thing I know, it’s morning. I confront him: “When did you come home last night? I told you to wake me.”

“But Mom, I did wake you, and you said, ‘G’night, honey.’ Don’t you remember?” he protests.

Did he? Did I? Maybe … possibly…

A teen curfew is easier said than done.

This scenario played out every weekend when my oldest was a teenager and his friends started driving. Try as I did to stay up until they came home, I would always fall asleep. And, listen, I remember being a kid myself—nothing good happens after 1:00 a.m. Nothing. But arguing and fighting about when he got home or if he was late? That gets old really quick.

To be honest, I couldn’t be sure if he was telling the truth. If they didn’t really wake me, how would I know it’s “only” 1:00 a.m., anyway—what if it was 2 or 3? How could I know they were home when they said they’d be, and that they were sober and in one piece? Would my kids lie to me knowing that I had no way to know what time they had actually gotten home? You bet they would.

I finally found out a way to outsmart my clever “of-course-I-woke-you” kids: I went to sleep in their beds while they were out.

Now they had to wake me up—all the way—when they came home, and I could really rest easy.