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,

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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!

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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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