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Teen Perspective: On Curfews

by Louise | June 9th, 2011 | Teen Perspective, Teens

When we say curfew we most often refer to the time when a teenager is expected to return home after being out with friends. Do you set a curfew? Are you setting a fair curfew?

I never had a curfew until my twin sister and I learned how to drive. Before then, my parents or the other parents would discuss a time when I would be picked up or brought home. I had no control in the matter aside from begging to be picked up later. When I got my own set of car keys, they were accompanied by a new set of rules. In my state, the law requires drivers under 16 to be off the road after 1 A.M. However, that was too late for my mother’s standards; she wanted us back by 10 P.M. Honestly, this seemed way too early, especially on nights when we didn’t have school the next day. We got around the problem by simply inviting friends over to our place; they all had later curfews. I’m not sure if this was my mother’s plan: yes, we were home on time, but our house also became the most common place for our group of friends to hang out during the school year. If you set an early curfew, be lenient about having friends over; this kept me from wanting to break curfew somewhere else.

But what about summer? What about if we wanted to watch a movie and were planning on starting it at 9 P.M.? We weren’t going to leave after seeing an hour of the movie; that would be pointless. My mother understood this, so we made a deal. If we called when we were starting the movie, which had to be before 9 P.M., and then called when the movie was finished and we were heading home, then we could stay for the whole movie.

A curfew can also apply to use of a computer, telephone, or other general electronics. I think a useful curfew to impose is to not allow electronic devices half an hour before bed time. Encourage reading to avoid the bright light of a computer of television screen; your teen will sleep better. Of course, my mother always let me go past curfew on the computer if I was finishing homework. However, if your teen is consistently breaking curfew to “finish homework,” you may want to check on him or her earlier to see if there’s a reason the homework never seems to be done on time.

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