When your teen was younger, it wasn’t necessary to set a curfew for him. Most likely because you were the one who was running around dropping him off and then picking him up. As he grows up and gains independence, it is more likely that he is driving himself or otherwise making his way around by himself. In these cases, he must understand the expectations you have for him when it comes to when he should be home.
Setting a curfew for your teen is an integral part of not just establishing boundaries but also helps to ensure that your teen is home at a reasonable hour. Despite what your teen may think, he shouldn’t be spending time outside the house beyond certain hours during the week and on the weekend.
If it’s time to establish a curfew for your teen, you may be wondering the best way to approach it. We have a few tips that may make things go smoother for you and your teen.
Why does your teen need a curfew?
Setting a curfew may get your teen frustrated and angry with you. After all, setting a curfew in your teen’s mind is akin to restricting his freedoms. It’s expected that you may clash with your teen over various boundaries as he grows up. You may be able to negotiate some things in order to find a happier middle ground. But there may be less room for negotiation when it comes to his curfew.
There are several excellent reasons that your teen needs a curfew:
- Setting a curfew can help to keep your teen safer.
- Knowing when to expect your teen to be home can let you know whether something may be wrong when he’s late.
- Getting home later in the night could make your teen overtired for school the next day.
- Boundaries are important for teens to learn.
A curfew can also help parents have peace of mind when they know their teen will soon be home and safe after a night out.
The benefits of a curfew for your teen
If your teen is pushing back on your curfew, there are a few things you can point to as benefits of the curfew:
- Keeping teens safe. A curfew can help to keep your teen from getting into legal trouble at night. Some cities even put curfew laws in place because they have seen that they can reduce teen arrests for the crimes they tend to commit at night.
- Curfews actually give teens the power and responsibility they need to learn and grow. Setting a curfew can help your teen to understand what it means to be responsible about their time and where they go when they are out of the house. It’s the first step in teaching your teen what it means to take on more responsibility as they grow up.
- Curfews offer a structure for teens who have a hectic schedule. By providing your teen with this extra bit of structure in his life, he will be able to manage his time better. Structure and time management are two crucial things for teens to learn and adapt to their lives.
- A curfew can offer your teen an out if he is in an environment where he doesn’t feel entirely safe. Instead of saying he isn’t comfortable, your teen can default to using your curfew as his excuse to be home. Most of his peers can understand that he doesn’t want to get in trouble and have his parents angry at him.
If you find that you and your teen are struggling to reach a compromise on his curfew, remind him that some things are simply non-negotiable. You may be able to come to an understanding about another area where you can potentially compromise, like giving him more time gaming or having more friends over to your home.
Helpful tips for setting up a curfew for your teen
It can be hard to set a curfew that won’t make your teen rebel and argue almost relentlessly. You know why you need to set the curfew, but it doesn’t need to be an unpleasant experience for you and your teen. These tips may just help you get those boundaries in place without damaging your trust and relationship with your teen.
- 1. Be reasonable about the time you set. Consider an appropriate time for weeknights so that he has plenty of time to get the rest he needs before school the next day. Then offer him more flexibility for weekends or summer holidays.
- 2. Consider where he will be going and what he will be doing. If your teen is practicing for the school play, he may need to stay at rehearsal later than his curfew. If he will be out at a party with friends, he doesn’t necessarily need to stay out past 11, even on the weekend.
- 3. Remind your teen about any applicable laws. If your state or city has a curfew law, be sure to research it and let your teen know how it will apply to him. He may not be legally allowed to be out past a particular hour, even if he’s driving. Keeping your teen informed can also help him to avoid getting into any legal trouble.
- 4. Be clear with your expectations about your teen’s curfew and his understanding of it. For example, when your teen is out, he could text or call you every few hours to let you know where he is. He should call to let you know if and why he may be late getting home. He should also be well aware of the consequences if he breaks curfew without giving a valid reason for doing so.
- 5. Listen to your teen’s thoughts and opinions. By simply laying down the law, you are more likely going to see your teen protesting and arguing with you about his curfew. If you listen to him and include him in the process, he’s much more likely to be agreeable.
- 6. Adjust curfew times as your teen grows and becomes more responsible. This will demonstrate to your teen that you trust him and trust his ability to make the right decisions. If, on the other hand, your teen is consistently breaking curfew, you may need to be a bit more restrictive until he takes responsibility.
Teens may argue against it but they truly do thrive in a structured environment where they know what is expected of them. Letting your teen go out with friends is a massive step in your relationship with him. It involves a significant amount of trust. His curfew is just one way you show him you trust him to make the right decisions when he’s out of the home.
At HelpYourTeenNow, we focus on connecting parents and teens with the resources they need when they are struggling with the ups and downs that life can bring.