27 answers

Curfew for Teenagers...what Time Do You Have in Your Home?

This is for those of you moms who have older children and have or are facing what curfew you have for your teenagers. We are the parents of 4 children...our oldest having been married just over 3 years (she's 22), and our son, 19.5, and twins (boy/girl) 17 years old. The 19 year old will be moving home in January 2010 to go to college. The main issue is our 17 year old daughter who loves to go out and be with her friends. Each of our children have vehicles (supplied by us) and so I am wondering...do we give our son that is moving home a curfew with regard to the two 17 year olds...do you have the same time for each of them or the older they get they get to stay out later? I am just confused as to what to do for them now that they will all be home together and the 17 year old daughter has tried to use that "why does her older brother get to do thus and thus and my response "well he is older". Up to this point it has not been an issue, but with the kids going to school (the twins are in 11th grade), both have jobs and the other son moving home...is it "all is fair in love and war?" Just not sure how to handle this one. Any of you have any good/helpful advice with this?

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I just want to thank each of you moms so much for taking the time to give me your thoughts. I really, really, appreciate it so much. I received some great advice and things to think about. Thank you, thank you.

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I have 4 step kids who are now 21, 20, 17, 12. The 21 is out of the house. The 20 is back home. We have always had a 10:00p on school nights and if they are going to be out later call. If they don't call they can't go out the next night. The weekends we set 12:00a. If their grades are bad because they are out having fun when they should be studying then they have to have the homework done before they can go out.

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The 17 year old is just going to have to deal until she is 18. I grew up with 4 sisters. 1 older and 3 younger. When we turned 18 our lives were up to us. The only rule was that during the week because of school/work nights, the house had to be quiet by 10. If we came home after that we had to be quiet and with no friends. If your child is old enough to vote and go to war then he/she is charge of their own life. However, if you are paying for school, you can definitely require the grades to be stellar. The twins will survive with living with the rules that have been placed. Let them whine, they will get over it. Good luck.

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Just speaking for myself, when I was that age:

As long as I was still in HIGH school, I had a curfew. This is to be expected.
My sister, who was a couple of years older, and was in college already, did NOT have a curfew. But she had other expectations...those of an adult.

Once I graduated high school, and was IN college myself... I did not have a curfew. But I had other expectations, as those of an adult. If I was not responsible nor respectful as a FAMILY MEMBER regardless of "age"..... I was denied things. I was ALSO responsible for daily responsibilities in our home... because that is just the way FAMILY is... you are a TEAM and EVERYONE contributes... in duties and monetarily to various degrees, regardless of "age." THAT is how my Parents raised me... and whether or not we lived at home or not... which we did at various moments.

Keep in mind, that a High School kid, IF they do not have a "curfew" could hypothetically even come home at 4:00 in the next morning. AND you need to know what the age of consent/age of a minor/legal age for drinking & buying alcohol is in your state.... because if they get in trouble... this does matter, legally.

All the best,
Susan

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We all know that each child is differnt and has differnt boundarys that they push. I would base the time on one that you feel confortable with. When they build your trust to stay out longer than grant them that. As for your child in college it is hard to say. Just remember that the twins are still only 17 and there's alot of trouble out there waiting for 17 year olds

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Don't know if this helps, but once I went to college and came home for vacations, I never had a curfew...I was respectful and let them know where I was going and when I'd be back, but they pretty much acknowledged I was an adult and treated me like one. I guess I responded in kind and so it worked. My sister is two years younger than I am and was still at home at had a curfew while in high school...she was younger, that was the rule.

Good luck!
-M

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My opinion is that a 19 year old is an adult, and therefor you are not responsible for his behavior outside the home. As such I think he should not have a curfew. I think he should have certain household responsibilities. It would be fair for you to let him know you expect him to give you the courtesy of letting you know if he won't be home for dinner or that he will be out late so you know not to worry, but really you should give him his freedom. He has lived on his own it sounds like so he is obviously capable of managing his own behavior.
As for the 17 year olds... The first thing is that there is, in most places, a curfew for minors. You are also responsible for them because they are minors. That is what you tell them when they balk at their older brother having more freedom. I think 10 on school nights is reasonable. Depending on the curfew laws in your area I would think that later on Friday and Saturday would be fine - even midnight. This is assuming they are good kids who don't get into trouble. Obviously gloves come off if they start running with a bad crowd or drinking/using drugs etc. I really think it's wise to give older teens as much freedom as possible because you have the time to see if they can be responsible with that freedom while you still have an opportunity to help redirect them if they find themselves on shaky ground.
As a teenager my only rules (literally) were: Call if you won't be home by ten p.m., let us know where you'll be, let us know if plans change, let us know if you won't be home for dinner. There was no asking permission for my plans and no curfew at all... it was just a matter of keeping my parents informed. I never got into any trouble so I kept those freedoms. I knew if I had screwed up that freedom would quickly change.
Good luck!

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Hello P.. I say, regarding the 19 y/o, no curfew, as long as he tells you where he is going and when he'll be home (out of respect). That's what I do with my 18 y/o. Even though she has a cell phone that she can use, I prefer to know where she is going, who she'll be with, and about what time to expect her. As far as the twins, I say it depends on what they are doing. I think 11 or 12 is a good time, but maybe 10 is also good. It just really depends. Also, if it's a school night I say no later than 11:00.

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I pretty much agree with the other moms here. Your twins should have a curfew that you feel comfortable with. It can be different on school nights vs weekend nights. As far as your 19 year old son goes, he shouldn't have any curfew. He is an adult in the eyes of the law and should be treated as such. He does need to be respectful while living under your roof by communicating his whereabouts and when he will be home.

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Once an individual is viewed as an adult, it's usually a bad idea to try and give them a curfew. Curfews will be put up with by adults for a limited period of time (military personnel, occasionally get put under different curfews, for different reasons, usually while they're in training or deployed... cities with emergencies can get put under curfew, sometimes martial, sometimes not, halfway houses have curfews, etc)... but the preponderance of evidence is that an adult under a curfew will chafe, and will eventually rebel.

I would personally ask myself, what is the point of the curfew? Curfews are, by nature, controlling... so who, why, and what are you trying to control? Trying to teach? (Note: I'm not against curfews... although they're not my favorite way for teaching responsibility & common courtesy & trust... but they're a way a lot of people like & use well).

While I think it's totally reasonable to have rules of conduct within your house at ANY age... I think it's asking for trouble to put a grown child (considered to be an adult by family and society) who has lived away from you under such restrictions without cause. Same token, I think it's ALSO totally reasonable to keep the twins under curfew... if those are the rules that you used with your other children before they were grown, and are using with them now. Even whining that it wouldn't be fair can be met with a laugh. HOW would it not be fair, if the 19year old was under curfew as well when he was their age? Are they proposing that they KEEP a curfew until they're 19 as well? Somehow I doubt that. :) Or that they'd thought that particular "not fair" argument through... unless they're just trying to guilt one by you. ;)

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I do not have a teen, but I think I have some good advice so I'm gonna chime in:) Hope you don't mind. I think curfews are important... at 17 one does not make good choices all the time and in today's world there are way too many things going on. If you check, some cities also have curfews for anyone under the age of 18 so that might also help you support your case At 17 I would suggest that school nights would be 10pm and non-school nights 11pm. Anything later is on a case by case situation agreed upon ahead of time. If she is going to be late for ANY reason she is to call. No call = the time moves earlier by 1 hour for at least one month on both school and non-school nights.
As far as your son goes, i agree with the other poster who said to try to set a curfew on someone who is viewed legally as an adult can totally backfire. My family tried it with me when I was staying at home during college on breaks. It didn't work well. What I did respond well to was being told that I was expected to have common decency and respect and to let my granny know what time I was going to be home and if anything changed then I let her know. That's it!

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At 17 my daughter still had to be home by 11pm unless there was a specific reason she needed to be out late a movie getting out after 11pm. She always had the earliest curfew of her peers but it did keep her out of trouble. When she graduated high school she was still 17 and she still had to be home by midnight. After she turned 18 in August we moved it to like 1pm (by then her boyfriend was 20 & no curfew) She is really good about letting me know where she is and when she will be home. I also agree with the driving issue if she was driving she had to be home by 11pm if someone older was driving it was ok to be out later. Good luck

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I think you give the 19 year old some guidelines as respect to yourself. If they are living in your house they need to have some rules and respect for you (not that he doesn't). My mom never sleeps when her older kids that live at home are out. (20/24) She asks them what time they will be home so that she knows when to worry/when to worry less. I think you can do this with your 17 year olds too but just not as late. If they are jsut hanging out with friends 10/1030. Going to a movie at 8, 1/2 hour after movie is over. School dance, as appropriate for dance end time/travel time/maybe stopping at dennys for a bite. This is what we had growing up and I think it worked well. The more we respected curfew the more chances we got to go out. If we were EVER going to be late we HAD to call. (meaning find a pay phone, a little tough. your kids probably have cells so NO EXCUSES.) =0)

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Hi P.,
I have a 17 yr. old son who is a good kid and does well in school. I enforce 9pm during the weeknights and on the weekends he is permitted to be out until 10:30-11pm unless there is something special that requires him to be out later such as the movies....

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Lately there have been a lot of fatal crashes after midnight, some because of drunk driving. I would set the curfew at midnight, mainly because it's so dangerous on the roads after that. I have a friend who has a 17 year old son who as an 11:00 curfew because of dangerous roads after that time. He gripes a little, but goes with it. It's very dangerous out there late. I just remembered, there is a legal curfew for kids under 18, I think 11:00. They should abide by that. My daughter is only 14, but even when she's a little older, I would have her in by 9:30 on a school night because she needs her sleep to do good in school.

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I agree with what other posters are saying and what you told her. He is older. He is an adult. When I was seventeen in high school I had a curfew. When I moved back home when I was 20, I did not. Good luck! :-)

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You might want to check the law regarding minors driving. In California I think under 18 are not allowed to drive after 11:00pm. Our 17 year old son has an 11:00 curfew if he is driving and 12:30 if he's not.

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Hi P.,

I thought my husband's family (five kids) handled this one very well when my husband was a teenager. Curfew, very simply, is set based on maturity and responsiblity, not age. If a child is mature and responsible and can handle a late (or non-existent) curfew, then that's what he/she has. If a child does not show maturity or responsibility, then there is a strict curfew.

For example, my sister-in-law, three years older than my husband, lived at home until she was 20 and ALWAYS had an 11pm curfew because she could never make it home on time, crashed the car, and showed little responsibility unless it was school. My husband, on the other hand, was curfew free by 17 because he had shown he could meet curfew, handled all his responsibilities well and had generally shown he knew how to make good decisions when out and about.

My mom handled it similarly. My curfew in high school depended entirely on what I was doing and who I was doing it with. For example, I worked at an ice cream parlor my senior year that closed at midnight, then we had to clean the store. My curfew was 3:30am because my co-workers and I would go to an all night pancake house for "breakfast" and unwind after work. When I started dating my husband, and hanging out with him after work, my curfew was cut back (severely) to one hour past clocking out...and my mom would call and check. I was pretty darn mad at my mom for that one, but I understand why.

It may be time for a family meeting to set the "guidelines" for curfew with the disparate ages and maturity levels in your household. Remind everyone that as long as they live under your roof, your rules apply, and age is NOT the determining factor. Responsiblity and maturity are. If your daughter wants later curfews, she will act accordingly and that includes accepting that there are limits on what a 17 year old girl can safely do in this world.

I would also call local law enforcement and see if there are any local curfews for high schoolers in your area.

Hope this helps. Good luck! I've taught high school for 17 years and this is a sticky issue. But, most parents do a good job and it's only after the fact that students "get it." Safety first.

1 mom found this helpful

P.,

I have an 18 year old son living at home and going to college. All of our children had a curfew of midnight until they reached 18 because the law in our community states that all children under the age of 18 must be home by midnight. With our 18 year old we have set a curfew of 2:00 a.m. or he must call prior to that (and I don't mean at 1:59) to let us know he will not be home for the night. We instituted this because I don't want to have to worry about him when he is out. This has been working out great. Good Luck.

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My friends always had midnight curfews when we were in high school. I never had a curfew, but was almost always home by midnight anyway since there was no one to hang out with after that!

I agree with another poster that you can make different rules for the twins because they are in high school and not college.

One friend used to have an 11 p.m. curfew and we all thought it was way too early! I think midnight is great for high school kids.

K.
http://oc.citymommy.com

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im not sure if this curfew exists in the OC, but in LA its illegal for kids under 18 to be out after 10pm and they can get ticketed for it. the movie theaters where i used to live dont even let teens buy tickets for movies ending after 10pm

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Providing your 19yo is respectable and doing what you ask of him - (doing well in school, helping out at home, etc..) I wouldn't put a curfew on him. Your daughter is 17 and still in High School. Enough said.

Yea, she is going to say that's not fair.. but it is. He is 19 AND in college. He had a curfew when he was 17, right?

I think my curfew was midnight at that age. Well, let me just say - looking back, that was too late. We weren't doing anything productive at that time of the night! LOL!

Congrats on being married so long and raising 4 good kids!
M.

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Curfews can be useful to the teenager as well as the adult....

In High School, after 16 years old my curfew was 10pm. On weekends, 11pm. I was to always call if I wasn't making curfew with a good excuse. As I got older (I left the house at 23 years of age) my curfew was 12am. My Mom and I had clear communication. I didn't have a cell phone. I was to call at midnight, no matter what and let Mom know when I was coming home. Often she would not go to bed unless every kid in the house was home. She was never angry or nagging... she showed respect at all times.
So, I would explain it as a courtesy issue with your 19 year old. Under my roof... we will be safe and parents do worry. I wouldn't give him a curfew, but do require that he calls by 12am to let you know when he is coming home. Coming in late will wake the household....
Sometimes curfew is good.. one time, I had a bad date and my curfew safed me. It was nice to come home and get rid of a bad situation.

Have your kids use this as a tool not a punishment.

Good luck,
M.

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Hi P.,
Even though your daughter may think she should have the same privileges as the 19 year, she is still a minor and he is a legal adult. She should have a curfew. I believe that all through high school our daughter will have a curfew of 12:00, no later. She is only 15 now and has to be home by 11:00 to 11:30 right now, but I am the ride and so that's when she gets picked up. She will be driving soon, Feb. and I know things may want to change. I just believe that children shouldn't be out or driving home past 12:00. That is my parental opinion and I am sticking to it! Good luck!
~~D.

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When our older son was 19, living at home, we did not give him a curfew...but we would ask when he expected to be home, and if he wasn't going to make it please give us a call so we didn't worry....
He moved out to get married at 25 and he always followed this, we would get a call or he would be home.
Good luck!
C.

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I have 4 step kids who are now 21, 20, 17, 12. The 21 is out of the house. The 20 is back home. We have always had a 10:00p on school nights and if they are going to be out later call. If they don't call they can't go out the next night. The weekends we set 12:00a. If their grades are bad because they are out having fun when they should be studying then they have to have the homework done before they can go out.

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Hi P.,
There have been some great responses, I have a couple of questions for you...

What is the reason for the curfew? Safety? Are you worried they will get into trouble? Do you feel they will wake the house? Are you concerned with the choices they will make? Are you scared, controlling, or just think you "should"?

If you set the curfew and they don't abide by it, what are the consequences? If they do meet curfew, what are the consequences? (Consequences are both good and bad)

P., ask yourself WHY you truly think a curfew is necessary and speak to your children. Ask them what they think and want. Discuss with them your feelings and your reasoning. Explain the what's and the why's of your feelings...THEN ASK THEM THEIRS. Then you all can make an informed decision, one that is mutual and THAT is most important! Get your children involved, if they are old enough to go out by themselves, they are old enough and capable enough of discussing with you their ideas, their wants and needs. Communicate, at any age.

B.
Family Success Coach

1 mom found this helpful

I am a mother of 3. My oldest is 24 and expecting his 1st baby on Jan 18. Plus I have twin 14 year olds (boy/girl-also). My son lived at home till he was 22 years old and he definitely had a different curfew then my younger kids have now. He only had to let me know where he was and what he was doing after he turned 18. My twins now have a 8pm curfew during the week and 10pm curfew weekends. When they get 17 the plan depends on if they are working or they are out with friends and if there is a special event. Mostly like their older brother it will be 9pm on weekdays and 11pm (if it is a party or special event 12) on weekends. But what is more important is I needed to know where they were and what they are doing. Another important thing is if your kids are trustworthy. Explain to your twins that he is an adult and has shown that he can be trusted, and you are not responsible for what he is doing. Another thing is are they keeping their grades up, because if they are not then curfews are earlier.

I'm 17 and live in the UK, and have never had a proper curfew. I am doing well at college, never get into trouble and have good grades... my parents and I trust each other completely and they like to give me freedom, letting me make my own choices and decisions, and because of this I respect them and don't mess around and also can learn from what I do rather than be restricted - the teenagers that are given no freedom to make their own choices are usually the ones that end up rebelling. However my Mum only lets me out in my friends cars when she knows they have been driving for a while and are responsible. When I was around 16 I would have nights out to friends houses and parties where I would come home at around 1 but my parents would always know where I was and I'd get a taxi home. Nowadays I actually come in earlier anyway... I think through being taught how to take care of myself and be responsible, that has made me more sensible in the long run when it comes to going out.

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