April 16th, 2010 - Category: Teenagers
As your children reach their teenage years, perhaps even sooner, you may begin to wonder what are the advantages and disadvantages of having set curfew hours. As a child, my parents never set a strict curfew as to when we should be home. It seemed fairly implied that we were to be home at a reasonable hour and if we weren’t, the consequences that followed would remind you in the future that being home in a more timely fashion would be to your benefit.
I never questioned my parent’s style of not setting a strict curfew, probably because I was a teenager and didn’t want to HAVE a strict curfew. However, as a parent, your thoughts about curfews for your kids begin to sink in a little deeper and you really start to wonder what is the most effective way to teach children responsibility. What are the advantages and disadvantages of curfew hours? Let’s look at a few of these and then let you decide.
First, let’s look at some advantages.
Knowing that your teenager is home safe and sound at a specific time definitely beats waiting up every weekend until the wee hours of the night wondering if he/she is okay. So we start here with a benefit to the parent.
If your teenager is of driving age, by setting a curfew, you know that they will be less tired during the drive home meaning they are less likely to be involved in an accident due to fatigue. Also, many states have laws and restricted licenses for teens regarding how late they are permitted to drive. Setting a curfew can help your child abide these laws and is a good way of justifying your having a curfew for them.
Keep in mind that curfews do not have to be the same every single night of the week. Many parents may choose to have a set curfew for school nights (weeknights) and another for weekends that may permit a bit of extra time with friends on the weekends. This way, you can promote more homework and family time during the week, and allow for rewarding your children with more friend time on the weekends.
Now let’s look at some of the disadvantages that may be present with curfews
Whenever a law is put in place that someone doesn’t necessarily like, there is that much more incentive to transgress that law. It is the same with a curfew. Your teenager may not understand the rule even when you clearly explain the reasoning to him. By not understanding and not agreeing, there is a great risk that your child will end up sneaking out behind your back. This could potentially be worse than not having a curfew at all because then you don’t know where they are or when they are gone. If something bad were to happen, how are you to ever know?
Setting an unreasonable curfew may cause your children to think that you do not trust them and they may use this as one of their key arguments against having a curfew. Though you shouldn’t give in just to show your child you trust them, it is a valid issue. Sometimes a little trust can go a long way in building your child’s confidence and it may open up doorways of communication that weren’t there before between you and your child.
These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having set curfew hours for your children. We invite you to consider them and share with us your thoughts on curfews and whether or not they have been effective in your family.
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