March 02, 2012,
R.G. asks from Redwood City, CA on April 13, 2008
Punishment for Sneaking Out at Night
My daughter, 16 years old, and her three friends sneaked out of our home last night and we noticed this at 4 a.m.!!! My husband immediately called our daughter and told her to come home right away. She and her friends arrived to our home within 15 minutes. My daughter has done this one other time (that I know of!!) and she got grounded for a 1 1/2 months, along with taking away her cell phone, and personal use of the computer. I also banned sleep overs as I did not want to be responsible for other kids if they sneak out from my house. However, after almost a year, we revisited the banning of sleep overs and she said she had learned her lesson and if she could sleep at one of her best friend's house. My hubby and I agreed and she slept at her friend's home. Feeling I could trust her again and giving her another chance, she asked to have a sleep over last night and I agreed. Well, she and her friends sneaked out and if it wasn't for my husband getting up at 4 a.m. and noticing the window wide open (we have a security system now, so they could not leave by the door, so they left through a window which did not have a contact on it, but is going to be installed on Wednesday by the security technician)we would have never known they were not home sleeping. I feel betrayed again and extremely disappointed. I thought I could trust her after the last incident. I was thinking of grounding her for one month, and not allowing her go to her prom which is this weekend, however, my husband said we should let her go to prom but she needs to come straight home afterwards which is at midnight. What fair punishment would you do? Thank you in advance for your advice!!
So What Happened?™
Thank you everyone who took the time to respond! Really appreciate it very much! My husband and I decided to let her go to prom only--no parties or any other activities afterwards and we would pick her up. We are letting her go to prom as it is a very special event in high school, but this was the only exception. We grounded her for five weeks, with no personal use of computer, limited her phone use to one day on the weekend only, no more sleepovers ever again, and no birthday celebration. She was planning a birthday get together with all her friends for next month, but I said "No" because she is still grounded at that time. She is very upset about that, but I told her she did it to herself and should have thought about the consequences. I also explained about the dangers of being out, but I think at this age they feel they are invincible regardless. I also had ADT security come by yesterday to add another contact to the window she got out of--that was the only window that didn't have a contact on it and she knew it. Now there is no way she can escape at night as I have a different security code to arm the security system at night, and she cannot disarm it with her code. I had informed the other moms of my daughter's friends about what happened, and those girls receive some type of punishment as well. Thank you again for all your responses and help! :-)
K.G. answers from San Francisco on April 14, 2008
Missing prom sounds like a great punishment. I would sneak out when I was a kid. My parents tried to stop me but I found ways. I think if they would have been a little more extreme with me I wouldn't have gotten into as much trouble. There are so many bad things that can happen at night. You could also sleep in her room with her for a few weeks. My friends parents did that to her, it worked.
PS: I missed prom when I was a kid, and I am still alive and could care less.
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S.G. answers from Miami on April 22, 2008
Hi, my advice is yes you should let her go to the prom. But she needs to go back g
home at midnight. Wish you the best !!!!!
T.S. answers from San Francisco on April 14, 2008
I would let her go to prom and she would have to come home right after prom and then when school is out and summer starts she would have to come straight home on the last day of school and she would be grounded for the whole summer because that was a serious situation. Just because i would of thought she had been kidnapped because her window was wide open at 4a.m in the morning.
T.V. answers from San Francisco on April 14, 2008
Go into the Mercury New Obituaries and look at this:
Jessica Stephens, 16, died in car crash on Jan. 9, 2008 (Visit her guest book and have your daughter do the same).
Jessica is/WAS the cousin of a co-workers. Jessica sneaked out of her house with friends just like your daughter and was killed in a car accident that night. Needless to say parents, family, and friends are devastated. Her parents thought she was sleeping in her room, just like you did with you daughter.
It is too bad that the prom is coming up, very bad timing for your daughter to pull a stunt like this. Does she know you so well that knew she would not have to miss the prom? Did you know how many teens rent hotel rooms a party before, during and after prom?
I say absolutely NO prom, no cell phone, no computer (except for homework), no outside activities except for family outings and after a month (at least), friends over only when you or your husband are home. You might get her involved in some volunteer work at a local hospital. The end of the school year and Summer will be here before you know it. Your daughter has some growing up to do and trust to rebuild. When she asks “how you could do this to her”? Remind her that she did it to herself!
Don’t you know how Jessica’s parent along with many other parents of teens who have lost their children due to stupid decisions wish they could turn back the clock and dish out a larger dose of TOUGH LOVE?
I would also remove the door of her room for a month. She has proven twice that she doesn’t deserve much privacy.
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M.P. answers from San Francisco on April 14, 2008
I think you're right on with no cell phone, computer, car, etc.I wouldnt let her go to the prom. Could you spend prom day at a nursing home visiting lonely people and then spend the night ordering pizza and watching a movie as a family? I know she wont be happy, but that's the way it goes. Plus, if shes 16 (not a senior) then she can get it right next year.
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Z.M. answers from San Francisco on April 14, 2008
First of all, you have my sypathies-- I am a therapist and specialize in helping families with adolescents get from 13 years old to 18 while still liking each other, so I can understand where you are coming from. I know you want a punishment that will guarantee this doesn't happen again, and for good reason, but I think your chances are slim of finding such a one-- if taking away her cell-phone for a month and taking away sleep-overs for the foreseeable future didn't stop her, what would? A better bet is to try and understand where she's coming from. When you feel calm, sit down with her, and in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way, ask her what her thoughts and impulses were when she decided to sneak out-- the answers may surprise you. Keep an open mind, and remember that, while it's natural to feel hurt and frightened when teens do this kind of nonsense, they are rarely thinking about their parents at all-- it's really not about you. You might also try the book _Grounded for Life?!'
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M.D. answers from San Francisco on April 14, 2008
Well, I can tell you what my parents did to me when I was 16 and sneaking out. They took my door off the hinges for 2 months. It was the worst thing ever. At 16, girls want their privacy and my parents told me I had to earn my right to privacy again. They also screwed my window shut so that I couldn't sneak out of it. As far as prom goes, that's a personal call. I think if it's her Jr prom then you might consider her missing it, but if it's her senior prom then I would have to agree with your husband.
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T.T. answers from Boca Raton on April 22, 2008
We also are going through the same thing. This has happened so many times, that I have lost count.
This a very hurtful situation to be in. You just can't trust them......they really need to earn the trust back.
Just recently, we have moved, we have no security system here to let us know if anyone opens an entry....so, we have to take care of that. That was a great idea to get your security system!
Our daughter is turning 17 in June and honestly, we really thought all this was behind us....we really thought she had made a change....until I found out she had a myspace, again, which we forbid.
I suggest if your daughter had a myspace, take a good look at her profile. You would be surprised at what these kids reveal about themselves. You will be able to see what they talk about, who her friends are, what they are up to.
We also took away our daughters cellphone, we took away her computer, we took away her tv, we just recently we through every single nook and crannie in her room and seached it....wow, was I surprised at what I found. We looked everywhere...under the mattress, in her pillowcases, behind bookshelves, under bookshelves, in her drawers, in her clothes...Everywhere.
Also, we had an officer come out and speak with her. Sometimes, that really does help. He also at the time told us, at 17, if she does not straighten us, we can emancipate her ( not sure if that is spelled right).
We told her this, not that I would do that, but, to really just try and give her a wake up call.
We have also made it clear, she is getting a job.
Teenagers are so hard, but, we just have to keep loving them, even if it means tough love.
Good luck to you and God bless ;0)
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D.G. answers from Modesto on April 22, 2008
I just wanted to share a wonderful little story with you. My aunt told it to me about her own daughter when she was a teen who snuck out in the middle of the night once...and only once.
My aunt went in her daughter's room to check on her, having forgotten to tell her something. When she walked into the room, she saw what really looked like her daughter fast asleep in bed, but in acuality, it was just pillows assembled in a way to resemble her body.
My aunt pulled back the covers and revealed the pillows. She then checked the window, discovering that it was unlocked and that her daughter had climbed through the window to go out.
After locking the window again, she proceeded to take her daughter's door off its hinges, storing the door in the garage until needed again. When the daughter came home, she was livid. She had to use the front door instead of re-entering through her bedroom window and she wasn't sure if her mother went back to sleep or not after her discovery. My aunt had every intention of waiting up and opening the door at the ungodly hour of 3am, but she was also aware of the fight (as well as a bit of fun) to come.
In her anger, the daughter went stomping to her room, only to find that her room no longer had a door on it. She then demanded an explanation for the removal of her door. My aunt offered this one line, "If you're using the window, you obviously have NO NEED for your door anymore!" She then added, "When I see that you are becoming more honest with me, you may have your bedroom door back, but until then...I have to keep my eye on you." No late nights out, no more sneaking around...and no door.
I don't know if this helps you at all, but it sure gives me a giggle when I think about that situation. [By the way, the door was returned to its rightful place soon after the incident...when the daughter had a clear understanding of how to use her door AND her mouth the proper way].
We moms just want to make sure our kids are safe. My heart goes out to you, Geneva. I hope your daughter learns to use communication instead of the window in the future.
Hugs to you!
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L.W. answers from Dallas on April 22, 2008
I have three daughters over 16...They grow up so quickly. When my girls started being influenced by "bad advice" I tried to spend more time with them....coffee, lunch, shopping, movie... my husband and I would each start spending more time with that child. We felt, when they were acting foolish, we needed to surround them with wisdom...those who are grown up and can help steer them. We saw the foolishness as a sure sign that they were spending too much time with friends and not surrounded by those who know what life is really about. WE would use that time to talk about the future...what do you want to do? We used that desire for the future to forge friendships and volunteer opportunitites for them to meet others in the same field.
A vision of the future did wonders to remind my kids that the present foolishness is not where they wanted to be. Also the extra time with my kids reminded me how much I like them. It was also really good for them to have that time with their dad. A dad's perspective is so healthy in a young ladies' life.
I hope that makes sense. What started as a negative, turn into a positive for your relationship. If she is grounded...make it an opportunity to spend more time together remembering what your family is about...don't make it about punishment and boredom....but about a reminder of who she is. Let it be a fun, good time for the family...play and talk together.
Many prayers to you.
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P.D. answers from San Francisco on April 14, 2008
Perhaps put an electronic device on her window too. Why does she need to sneak out? I would not allow her to be with those friends any longer.
Your past admonishment didn't stop her.
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