36 answers

Curfew for 18 Year Old Son Living at Home

What is a an appropriate curfew for an 18 yr old son living at home?
My son says their should be no problem with him staying out till 3am, cause i know where he's at and i know his friends. Yes, i 've met them but don't really know them. These girls are older than him by 2 or so years. But everytime he's with them specifically he's sure to be home past curfew. I do trust him and believe he's not drinking, or doing drugs. I don't feel i should just let him run free and do whatever he pleases. i asked him "what could he possibly be doing at those hours that he can't do earlier" and he told me his friends get out of work late so they wanna hang out and watch movies at her house. So i guess this would be the same scenario everyday? I don't want it to be. I believe 12:00 am during the week and 2:00am Friday and Saturday. So please let me know how to deal with this and if i'm going about it the right way? THANKS

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First of all, thank you all for your advice!! Just to clear up some questions.... my son used to work but got laid off. He is going to college in the fall and is somewhat looking for work right now. No, he doesn't pay his cell or anything. I can honestly say i'd feel better if i knew these older late night friends. But how do i go about that, wonder if he'd even want to. I know the other friends his age and they always bring him home at a reasonable time. He's working on getting his drivers license now and he always give me that same excuse "They didn't wanna bring me home" like i'm gonna believe that for a second. And yes the curfew is just for the simple fact of safety and respect. We both get up really early for work, my husband just goes to sleep, and i try to sleep but can't with the phone next to me. He's my only child and if God forbid something ever happened i couldn't even tell you the address where he's at, his friends last name, or what he was wearing. Seems like today more than ever kids at all ages just up and disappear. I don't want to be one of those parents who regret not knowing as much as they should of. My son is my friend as well but i need to be a mother now and set some kind of boundaries whether he likes it or not. Guess i've already made up my mind up. And today is friday lucky me, hope he follows curfew so we can put this behind us. Thanks again for the great input.

Featured Answers

T.:
I know this must be crazy but my 18 year old is home on school nights before 10 pm and she's going to college. I am flexible though and 10:30 is fine. On weekends she must be home by 12 or 1am if we've discussed it ahead of time. I just don't want to wait up all night worrying about her. She hasn't questioned the rules at all and can spend the night at a girl friends house as long as she tells us ahead of time. Though not on school nights.
good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

He is 18. He is an adult. Adults do not have a cerfew. You raised him well I trust so trust him. It's hard I know.

2 moms found this helpful

He's an adult. Let him have his freedom. You've raised him, now trust that you've done a good job.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Your home, your rules. Why doesn't he have a job? Even if fast food places are not hiring (and they always are), he can cut lawns, walk dogs, do fix it jobs, etc. The Army / Navy, etc are always hiring. If he wants to be an adult, then he can move out, and work and pay his way just like all the other adults out there and in his own apartment he can keep what ever hours he wants. While he lives in your home (or any one else's for that matter), then he lives by someone elses rules. Legally he's an adult, but the privileges of adulthood do not come by merely aging past 18 years. They come by making your way and place in the world with work and responsibility. He needs to be working on his exit plan if he can't live by your rules anymore.

8 moms found this helpful

It's true he is an adult, but the issue here is YOUR convenience, not his. It is hard to rest or even sleep if you are always listening for someone to come in the door which is a normal parental reaction. If he lives at home, even if he is an adult, he needs to follow your rules. Your curfew times are not unreasonable and he should respect your life by respecting your rules. It is a hard one, but you need to have your life now and your life includes having some comfort in your home. Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful

Someone else posted this question awhile ago. My reply then was, if you trust your son, let it go. If he's 18 it sounds like he should either be going to college or working? Even if it is "summer break", he should still have some responsibilities be it helping around the house, working, paying you a meager "rent", etc. After that, he should be "one his own"...cooking his own meals, doing his own laundry, car payment, insurance, etc. That's "the price" one pays for being an adult and making his own decisions.

I realize MOST 18 yr olds probably don't have ALL of that responsibility (yet)...they ease into it...especially if they continue on in school.

If he is off to college in the Fall, you'll have no say on his cerfew anyway. So I say, enforce the rules you can at home - like doing his own laundry. And let his late nights go. Afterall, he's the one who will have to figure out how to balance his late nights and work/school, right?

5 moms found this helpful

As long as he is living under your roof, you decide what the curfew is and he follows it. As long as you are paying his tuition, you decide what the curfew is and he follows it. What he does at college is his business, but what he does at home is yours.
So - I think midnight during the weeknights and 1am on the weekends is appropriate. If he doesn't like it, he can get a job and move out.
YMMV
LBC

5 moms found this helpful

I don't think your curfews are unreasonable at all, and something he should comply with as long as he's living with you. Heck, if you give him complete freedom (along with free room and board) he won't move out until he's forty. ;-)

Seriously, though, if he wants your role to be limited to that of a "landlord" that doesn't care when he comes and goes, then he should play his role and pay some rent. Fair is fair, right?

4 moms found this helpful

I have a few thoughts to share, after reading your post, the follow-up and everyone's messages...

1. If you want to get to know his friends better, have a BBQ and invite them all over so you can get to know them. Tell your son you're doing this so you can increase your comfort level with the people he's chosen to hang out with. If they don't show up...well, I think that says something about their character and their level of friendship with your son.

2. In my husband's family, curfews were always set by the level of responsibility each child displayed (my husband was one of 5 kids). My husband was curfew free at 17 because he showed great responsibility. One of my sisters-in-law had a curfew until the day she moved out at 20 because she showed poor responsibility.

3. When I came back home after my first year in college for summer vacation, I was 18 and automatically placed myself under my mom's high school rules. (Old habits die hard, I guess.) My mom changed the rules and said I didn't have a curfew but I had to let her know where I was going, who I'd be with and what time I'd be home (and I was allowed to not come home 2 nights, not consecutive, a week). Considering I had lived on my own for a year, had been in a steady relationship for over a year, was getting good grades in college and had a job, this seemed more than reasonable to me.

Having said all that, and rereading your follow-up, I would say that your son has a few milestones to pass before he can have a "no curfew" life. First, he needs to get a job. Somewhat looking doesn't cut it. Second, he needs to earn his driver's license and drive responsibly for at least 6 months (no tickets, no accidents). If you have to haul him around to do stuff, you get to call the shots. If his friends are hauling him around, they need to haul him home on time. (And, really, they didn't want to bring him home? What kind of friends don't take their friends home? Press pause on the movie or game, for goodness sakes. I'm glad you didn't buy that one.) Third, he needs to earn good grades in college. Once your son has shown this level of responsibility, then he can be released from his curfew. Right now, from what you've said, he has not shown enough adult responsibility to earn this privilege. Just because he's 18 and LEGALLY an adult, doesn't mean his thoughts, actions and day-to-day behaviors are those of an adult.

If your son doesn't like the rules you set, he's more than welcome to move out and live on his own...without financial assistance from you. If he can't afford to do that, or doesn't want the responsibility of providing for himself, then he gets to deal with your house rules. If your son doesn't understand this, then he may not be as grown up as he thinks he is.

Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful

I did not have a curfew after 18. My parents trusted me. I was also expected to get to work on time, or to be up in the morning to help them with chores if I didn't have to be at work. So 3:00 am became less appealing when work started at 8:00.

My older kids did not have a curfew after 18, either. They were expected to tell us if they weren't going to be home that night at all (staying at a friend's place).

4 moms found this helpful

I am assuming that your son has graduated from HS and is either working or heading off to college in the fall. Either way, he is an adult and needs to be treated like one....what are you going to do if he breaks this "curfew"? Ground him? Take the tv away from him?? Why have rules just for the sake of having rules.
I would emphasize the responsibilty and consideration part of this. That he let you know ABOUT what time he thinks he is going to be getting home...or at least tell you if this is going to be a "late night"...and then that he let you know if his plans change significantly. I would also tell him that he will NOT make you and Dad happy if he comes in the house and manages to wake the two of you up in the middle of the night! Let him know that he can call you if he needs a ride or help of any sort..and then just relax. Look at him as a "room mate" and handle it like you would if some other non-related adult were living with you!!!
If you want him to act like an adult you have to treat him like an adult.

3 moms found this helpful

I assume he's going to college in the fall? Are you going to maintain a curfew when he comes home? What is the purpose of the curfew? Is it that you know he's safe at a certain hour? Control?

I agree that he should have a job at 18, if for no other reason than to have spending money in the fall. However, that has nothing to do with curfew.

I recommend considering why you want a curfew, and talking to him about the reasons. At 18 he's old enough to understand and respect your needs, and start having an adult relationship with you. Not about "my house, my rules" or "my way, the highway" but "I worry about you when you aren't here, and I need my sleep" or whatever your actual reason. If you don't have a reason you can name, maybe a curfew isn't really necessary.

Maybe you can come up with a compromise. When my daughter came home from college we realized that a curfew was unreasonable, but of course we'd worry if she was just out till 5 AM. So we came up with the following solution.

If she was going to be out after a certain hour she would text with an approximate time home, and if she wasn't coming home (she decided to stay at a friend's, for example) she would text again. That way I knew where she was, and that she was safe. If I woke up in the morning and no text/no kid she would get hell. If I woke up in the middle of the night and did not have a text she would get a call, whatever the hour.

She had been a terrible curfew-breaker until I made it clear that it was about my knowing she was safe, but she was always really good about the texts.

3 moms found this helpful

I think you are right on!! My oldest is no where near 18 yet but live under my roof and you have to live under my rules!! It's that simple and you are still the parent no matter how old he is or where he lives but in your house he still has to have rules. Unless he wants to pay rent and do his own cleaning..................then he can come and go as he pleases.

S.

3 moms found this helpful

T.:
I know this must be crazy but my 18 year old is home on school nights before 10 pm and she's going to college. I am flexible though and 10:30 is fine. On weekends she must be home by 12 or 1am if we've discussed it ahead of time. I just don't want to wait up all night worrying about her. She hasn't questioned the rules at all and can spend the night at a girl friends house as long as she tells us ahead of time. Though not on school nights.
good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree 100% with B. Your house, your rules. What would you do if your husband chose to stay out till 3am? You would be livid, wouldn't you? If he believe he is old enough and mature enough to be out all hours of the night, he is old enough and mature enough to support himself and live on his own.

3 moms found this helpful

I did not have a Curfew for my older children at 18. I really think he is old enough to know when he wants to come home. If he is a real good kid and you trust him why are you giving him a curfew?

If he is still in HS then I would ask that he be in by a reasonable hour so his studies do not suffer. But if he is out of HS. I would not have one. He is a manboy at this point and needs to grow up. Having a curfew for him I feel is a little demeaning for him. Probably makes him still feel like a child.

Just my opinion , Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

when I was 18 and living at home my curfew was 11pm, the ONLY exception my parents would allow was if we were going to a movie that wouldn't be over until after 11pm, then my curfew was 12am. When I would come home from college on weekends after I moved out, my curfew was 12am. I don't think your son needs to be out until 3am, just my opinion. I know that most of my girlfriends had a midnight curfew as well and honestly we were good kids, but I can't imagine what we would have been up to past midnight. I hope this helps!

3 moms found this helpful

It's your home and your rules. If he wants to live there, tell him these are the house rules. It's about communication and respect. Just be prepared that if he doesn't like it, he can move out. I think your curfew times are respectful - since it is normal for a mom to be concerned. It is about what is right and healthy for you. Those times are typical adult times -- for those of us who work, even staying out to midnight on work nights is excessive. He'll learn that over time, but it is about what is right for YOUR home.

2 moms found this helpful

He is 18. He is an adult. Adults do not have a cerfew. You raised him well I trust so trust him. It's hard I know.

2 moms found this helpful

When I was in college I worked at a movie theater and so did all of my friends. on the weekends we'd get off work between 10 and 11 and meet up to play board games or poker. it wasnt unusual for me to be home at 4 am. My mom said as long as I didnt come home drunk or on drugs or pregnant, or wake her up, she was fine with it. She knew the guys I was out with (and most of their mothers) and she could get ahold of me if she needed to.

What really matters is how much you trust your son.

2 moms found this helpful

Our daughter is going to be a junior in college this fall.
Ever since she graduated from high school we made a deal. While at home visiting or living, she could stay out or not come home as long as she let us know her plans. If they changed, she needed to call and let us know.

Not because we wanted to know her business, but because we do not sleep well waiting to make sure she came home..

Just like if I go out or my husband goes out, we keep each other informed. It is a courtesy.

She has never had a problem with this. She says even up at school, they each tell each other expected return times and such, so they always know where each person is supposed to be.

2 moms found this helpful

Hello, I guess the question I have is: Does he work or go to school? If not, why isn't he? If he is working or going to school, then he should have to be up early. Are the late nights causing him to be late? If not, then it might not be a problem. Are the late hours keeping you up? If so, then he is effecting you. I agree about being able to do the same things earlier, but he also has a good point about the friends working late. However, does he have to see them every night?
Whatever you answer to these questions, it is your home and therefore your rules.
Good luck with your precious son.
K. K.

2 moms found this helpful

I am a hands-on parent and believe in close discipline when it comes to my children in order to diminish the chances of them getting hurt. When it comes to an 18 year old, it's important to clearly state what we expect from him and the consequences of not following proper/better/safer behavior. Quite frankly, I don't think an 18 year old should be outside at 12midnight. In the world we live in, too many things can go terribly wrong. Once something happens our power to correct it is very limited, it's much better to try to avoid as much as humanly possible. When it comes to teens of the opposite sex spending time together late at night the potential for things to go wrong multiplies. Do we really know what our children are doing once they step out of the house? In my case the answer is no! The more time they spend out of the house, the more chances of something unpleasant happening to them or those around them. It's harder to be strict than to be condescending but it usually plays better for our children in the long run. An 18 year-old out at 2am? Forget it! You said it well when you said, what could he possibly be doing at that time outside? The answer is obvious, isn't it? The occasional outing with friends to come back home late (around 12 on the weekend!!) is ok depending on his maturity and overall behavior. This is not to become a daily or weekly way of life at all. And so it'll be hard to you to control him and set boundaries because he will resist it so it'll come down to character and belief on your part that you're doing the right thing. What I'm trying to say is:
define clear boundaries
Truly believe in what you're doing
Get ready for the battle ahead

Best of luck to you and your boy!!

2 moms found this helpful

you sound very reasonable to me.

2 moms found this helpful

I am clapping my hands for Suzanne!!!

You said it very well and very supportive... I totally agree that when the kid turns 18 and shows responsibility, he will get privileges. After all, you are not just raising a kid... but a responsible, reliable adult.

Best of luck to you, your parenting style is changing...
What will he learn from the curfew?? That he comes home at a reasonable time so parents don't worry and also so he can be up and dressed by 9am to look for a job. If he comes home at 3am, that means he is sleeping until noon. How is that good for your household?? I did not have a curfew at 18 years old. I was still in hight school for 5 months. But my Mom told me that I am an adult and that adults need to make good choices for themselves and considering those around him.

Curfews can get you out of trouble too.. I made it an excuse to get home on time, so I wasn't pressured to go to THAT party...

I did pay rent after high school and my mom saved every penny of it (without me knowing) and after Mom told me to save $1000 on my own, she surprised me with the rent money and that's how I bought my first car.
I felt that it was all mine, because all the money is what i earned myself.
The first adult thing I ever did. Thanks Mom!!

M.

2 moms found this helpful

I was that 18 year old. My parents didn't give me a curfew. Most of the time I was pretty self-limiting, mostly because one of my jobs was a newspaper route and I had to be up and out of the house at 4:30AM seven days a week, and then in class at college by 8ish.

HOWEVER, my mom asked that if I was not going to be in by midnight - because the other job was at the university's theatre and we might not be done by midnight - that I call before they went to bed (which was after Johnny Carson's monologue at about 11:40PM). This was a respect thing in my mind. It wasn't that she was trying to control me, it was a "ease her mind" kind of thing. In reality, I always called earlier, because I didn't want my much younger sibs complaining that the phone woke them up.

So maybe a call to let you know when he'll be in would help. At least you'd know where he was, and when he should be in.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that until he is living in YOUR house he needs follow some rules.
I know is a is man now, but he is still living in your house therefor why you need to be sick worry for where he is and counting minutes.
With that say, l also think that:.
1) If he would be working I would agree to stretch more the time since because he is working he will have less time during the day between school at work.
2) You should know that this curfew may lid to him want to leave early for freedom.
3)This should be a start and that you guys can slowly move the curfew time depending in his maturity and your comfort.

1 mom found this helpful

I personally think that's reasonable! But if he disagrees you should allow him the opportunity to tell you what he
Thinks is an appropriate time. & if he wants to be grown treat him like he's grown. Charge him rent, utilities, etc

1 mom found this helpful

When I was living at home in the summer when I was in school, I did not have a curfew, but had to let my dad know where I was so he wouldn't worry. It was the same for me; after 11 was pretty much the only time I could hang out with my friends because I worked 6 AM to 2 PM or 7 to 3 at the grocery store and 3 or 4 till 11 at the pizza parlor. Given the fact that I was working so much, my dad figured I should be allowed to have fun whenever I could. That being said, I don't think he would have been as cool about it if I were staying home and not working, or if I were living there not just for school vacations.

1 mom found this helpful

He's an adult. Let him have his freedom. You've raised him, now trust that you've done a good job.

1 mom found this helpful

If he lives at home it is still your rules. Does he have a job himself, does he pay rent? There are reasons for your worry and those need to be validated too. I believe that if he is not working or paying rent then you have the last say. I understand that his friends get out of work late, but that is not your problem. Kids think they know how life works, and personally he is still wanting to be a kid. I think the rules you have set are good and fair. He does still live at home....

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter just graduated. She's 18. She has no curfew. As long as she's a contributing member of the household (chores, etc), working for her money, treats us with respect, lets us know where she is at all time and whom she is with, we don't care. And, most of the time, the kids are at OUR house hanging in our spa or watching movies in our den til 1 or 2 in the morning. And they often don't start until 9 or 10 in the eve because many work or have family obligations. And I know they're not drinking or doing drugs. Just good kids having good fun.
Many may disagree with me, but I think the kid and the behavior should set the tone, not random times that are meaningless.

1 mom found this helpful

That is a tough one. At 18, should there be a curfew? If you trust him, which it sounds like you do, I would be a little lenient. Does he have a job? Is is being overall responsible? If he isn't drinking and driving home, I would rest easy.

1 mom found this helpful

I can't believe some of these answers!!! An 18 year old at home is no different than a 15 year old. The key phrase here is "at home." If your child chooses to be at home at 18, then he/she must obey your rules. Those who say "trust" your child and forget the curfew, have no clue. It is widely known that most accidents (and trouble) occur after midnight. It's not only your child you need to trust, its the others that are out late at night that play with your trust. Do you all not watch the news? Your home is not a hotel, that allows an individual to come and go as they please. You retain the right to have some information as to where he will be (not an exact schedule) just so that you will have some peace of mind. That's not much to ask for in return for free room and board...not to mention free cell phone. In answer to your question...12:00 p.m. is late enough for any 18 year old to be out weekend or not. Don't compromise your home life with your husband over your son. You will regret it.

At 17 I was already in the USMC... by 18 I'd been in for 1-2 years. The only time I had a curfew was in combat training... and it was that I had to be back on base by 6am monday morning.

I guess what I don't understand is what a curfew is supposed to be teaching him?

When I was eighteen and living at home I had to be home by midnight. My father would usually stay up reading until then so it was his usual bedtime and he's a very light sleeper. The general rule is, if you wake dad up coming home, you won't be allowed to go back out again for a long time. If he went to bed and you got home after that... tough noodles.

When we argued he would say, "I worked long and hard to buy this house, raise you up, feed you, clothe you and pay for whatever other odds and ends you can't seem to live without. All this hard working makes me tired. When I go to sleep, I want to stay asleep. If you wake me up... find a new place to live."

I moved out when I was nineteen.

Too old to live at home! He's an adult and should have his own curfew in his own place. He wouldn't stay up that late if he was paying for things and needed to work.

I moved out at 17 (three roommates-tiny place-three jobs) because paying rent and following parents rules at home (which I would have had to do at 18) was NOT preferable to having my own place and freedom for all my hard work. He's acting spoiled by hanging out so late all the time. Bad habit to form at the beginning stage of adulthood.

Your house, your rules!! He don't like it get out!

Hi T., at 18 I don't think you should give him a curfew. We have our23 year old son and our 21 year old daughter still leaving with us, and at 18 they did not have a curfew, we were 4 adults living in one house. However we did expect respect and curtisey, my husband and I always let our grown children now when we leave, where we are going and around the time we will be home, and we expected the same from our children, we did this for in case of an emergency, and curtisey. J.

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