Four Hour Curfew for an 18 Year Old?

Updated on July 11, 2017
M.Q. asks from Meridian, ID
31 answers

My 18 year old daughter just turned 18 in March. She has a job of her own, is responsible with it and her chores at home, pays her own phone bill, and even buys any extra items needed around the house which she claims makes her responsible. However, she keeps asking for a permanent curfew of 11 pm no matter when she leaves but my husband and I believe that she shouldn't be staying away from the house for anything longer than four hours at a time; depending on when she leaves do we give her a set curfew. If she leaves at 3 pm then she needs to be home at 7 but she cannot be out past 10 point period. We find this perfectly reasonable but I figured I would get the opinions of other moms or parents.

Edit: She ran away at the ends of May and just recently came back to live with us because I felt she needed to be with family. I don't see why a respectable young lady should be gone an entire day from her home where she belongs. Not out in the street. Opinions?

Additional information: My daughter can very much work for more than 4 hours, she works a 7 hour shift and we're perfectly fine with that. We just aren't comfortable with her being out with friends or her boyfriend for longer than 4 hours at a time, especially when it use to be a whole lot more stricter than this. If you must all know, she ran away because she no longer wanted to follow our curfew rules and because she was irresponsible enough to run off, I don't see why we should extend her curfew to what she is asking.

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answers from Tampa on

Quite frankly, I think you are completely unreasonable. She is 18 and legally an adult. What is up with this arbitrary 4 hours rule? This rule seems to have no logic or reason to it. She could go to the mall with her friends for lunch, shopping and a movie and easily spend more than 4 hours. It sounds like she is very responsible and should be given more leeway to live her life. Technically, she could move out and do whatever she damn well pleases. Keep it up and you will push her away. At her age, I didn't have a curfew and came and left as I pleased. I'd just give my Dad a courtesy call as to when to expect me.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

She is being responsible!!! You are holding on so tight you are strangling her. That is why she left. She didn't run away, she left home. This curfew is ridiculous. I have never heard of such nonsense in my life. I can't even begin to express how idiotic this is. Wow. That about sums it up.

In a few years, you will post "why won't my daughter talk to me". This is why.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Omg... that's very unreasonable.

She's trying to be a responsible ADULT and you're putting this type of restraint on her? Geesh

Rest assured, she'll save her $$ and get away from you as soon as she can manage it.

If you want her in your life, be more reasonable. I've never heard of an 18 year old with this type of curfew.

Maybe that's why she ran away the first time.

You need to trust that you raised a good kid. She deserves a social life. Let go momma

She does not need a dictator.

I really feel for her being in this type living situation. So sad.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Wait...what? She can't be out of your sight for more than 4 hours? And she's a grown adult?
At 18 I was living on my own, by myself, paying my bills, working, had a boyfriend, bought my own EVERYTHING.
I can't imagine how stiffled your ADULT child must feel. I actually can't imagine she's ok with an 11pm curfew.
Maybe things are different in Idaho? But to are unreasonable.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You are completely unreasonable. I hope this is a joke. I have never, ever heard of a parent giving a child - of any age - a limit on how long they can be away from home. If my parents had been so ridiculous, I might have run away too.

What if she wants to go to the beach for the day? Or drive to a city that's an hour or two away for an event? What about going to a concert or to see a play? What about sleeping over a friend's house, or going away for a weekend? Or how about just shopping, getting lunch, hanging out with friends?

My two oldest are 19. Since they graduated high school, they've had free rein to more or less come and go as they please, as long as they don't come in late enough to wake me up.

Give her the 11 PM curfew. Better yet, make it midnight.

What are her plans for the fall? I really hope that she's going to school away from you, so that she can live life like a normal 18 year old.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I've never heard of this. I didn't have a 4-hour curfew when my son was 10.

So your daughter cannot go to the beach/lake for a day, cannot work a job, never went to a slumber party at a friend's house, can't go to school/college? What is magic about 4 hours? If she's going to get into trouble, she can easily do it in 2 or 3.5 hours.

If she ran away and has come back, then she understands the value of family. I can see a REASONABLE late night curfew especially if her coming in very late will wake the whole household (for example, if you have a dog who goes nuts barking when the garage door goes up or something like that). I think it's common courtesy and decency to let people in the household know where you are (more or less) and roughly what time you'll be back so that there's a way to know what time one should worry or whether one should prep dinner.

But other than trying to control her, stop and ask yourself how a rule like this is preparing her to be an adult and manage her own life? She's 18, nearly 18.5, and you want to restrict her in this way? How will she ever learn to be responsible enough to be on her own, out in the world? What is your plan to teach her the skills that, somehow, you have neglected to teach her at 12, 14, 16, and now 18? Honestly, if she cannot be out and about like this, it is much more of a reflection on you and your husband failing as parents to teach reasonable life skills.

Is this some sort of payback or revenge for her running away? And if so, do you think it's more about you? Do you know why she ran away? Do you think she was rebelling against unreasonable restrictions but didn't have the life skills to make it on her own? So she came back? Stop with the rules and start with the adulthood. She pays her phone bill, has a job, does chores, and purchases household supplies, and you treat her like a 6 year old? Please get some family counseling to help with this. Do you have other children who are growing up the same way? This is a disaster in the making, turning out new adults who cannot survive because their parents wouldn't let them live.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

You may have forgotten the goal of parenting - to raise an independent adult.

Unless you left out extremely compelling details as to why you're micromanaging your adult daughter, I think you lack appropriate boundaries. Your 4 hour rule is weird. I've never heard of such a thing before, not even among the strictest parents I've known.

An 18 year old is an adult who is free to leave his/her parents home at any time, with or without consent, and not be considered a runaway. She came back because *you* felt she needed to be with family? That is also extremely odd. She should only be back in your house if it was her choice, not because you demanded it.

The summer I was 18 and newly graduated from high school was my last few months living in my mother's house. I did not have a curfew and I was not out wandering the streets at random. I was at my job for more than 4 hours at a time. I went out of town for shopping and it would be literally impossible to do it within 4 hours. I stayed overnight at friend's houses occasionally, sometimes in other towns. I went on a trip out of state. These are all normal and reasonable things to do.

I left for school in the fall and from then on I lived in student housing, work related housing, or in my own apartment. When I would visit my parents, they treated me with the respect as another adult.

Your daughter's suggestion of a flat 11pm curfew is MORE than reasonable. It's less freedom than other 18 year olds have. I suggest you allow her to have control over her time.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Totally unreasonable on your part.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I don't get it. I worked longer shifts than that at 18 at my part time job.

ETA: saw your Added Info.
Hmmm. After all the replies, you still don't see why you should extend her curfew - so all I can add is that your daughter will continue to feel the way she does - but more so. Resentful.
Growing up is about change - letting your daughter have say over her own life. Support her. Look out for her. But unless you can tell us why spending more than 4 hours with friends or boyfriend is harmful - I'd allow her to have freedom to choose who and when she spends her free time with. That's my two cents worth.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You and your husband are being unreasonable.

ETA: I don't understand the goal you are trying to achieve by giving her a four hour window of freedom. I am sincerely asking what you and your husband think this will help her achieve.

If I read into your post, I get this sense that you and your husband are anxious parents. Are you afraid that something will happen to her? That she will make life altering bad decisions? Or use illegal substances? And that the 'four hour alarm' will deter this?

Is there a history where she has been unsafe or made life devastating decisions?

The thing with parenting, is that you have to let them make significant mistakes so they come to you needing guidance on how to prevent the big mistakes. It sucks.

But if this four hour window allowance is not due to her having a history of dangerous behavior then it is due to YOUR fear/anxiety of failing as a parent and needing to control her. It might be best to talk to a professional about this because you are PREVENTING your daughter from maturing and being the responsible person you keep telling her to be.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

She is 18, not 5. If she wanted to she could join the military and ship out tomorrow and you would have no control over it. It is time for you to realize she has to be allowed to live her own life or she will never learn any independence and will resent you. Let her grow up already.

Added: you added a section about her running away due to your unreasonable curfew rules, what do you think will keep her from doing so again? She is an adult, so really it is not running away anyhow, simply moving on/out.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I have never heard anyone say that their 18 year old shouldn't be away from home more than 4 hours. This sounds bizarre. And yes, I'm a mom of two boys, ages 22 and 24. And I lived 4 hours away from home going to college many years ago, and probably only went home to visit 3 times a semester. So I have been both the girl AND the mother in this.

How do you expect your daughter to grow up? How do you expect her to meet someone to marry one day? Or do you think that you get to choose him and tell her that she has to love him?

It's as if you feel that she should have to wear a ball and chain.

She's 18 now and has presumably finished high school. She didn't "run away". She tried to strike out on her own. Instead of trying to hold her hostage, saying she belongs at home and shouldn't be "out on the streets", you should be helping her find ways to learn how to be an independent adult. She's not 50 years old and doting around the house. She should be out working, being with friends, and having a life outside of you. It's great that she has chores and pays her own phone bill. But all you are doing is keeping her from growing up.

I doubt you're going to listen to anyone's viewpoint here, but what is probably going to happen if you keep up this archaic way of treating your daughter is that she's going to grab the first guy who offers to take her away from your clutches and marry him, instead of finding a guy who will love her and be good to her. But maybe you think that the only thing that a respectable married girl is good for is "belonging at home" too? I feel very sorry for your daughter.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have never, ever heard of an 18 year old having a rule for only being allowed to be out 4 hours at a time, and having a curfew of 10 pm. I don't mean to come across as rude, but I just honestly wonder why would you do this? There is absolutely nothing that is not respectable about a young adult being out working, seeing friends, socializing, etc. That is developmentally normal for her age. My 17 year old has had plenty of experience over her teen years with trouble and bad, dangerous choices, etc. At the moment, and for the past many months she is doing very well. She will be 18 in less than 2 months. She drives and has 2 part time jobs. She goes to school in the morning. I see nothing wrong with her going from school to work, or from work to plans out with friends. She stays in contact with me so I always know where she is and who she is with. She is not "out in the street" If she was really out on the street doing bad things she would not have a car or a phone from us. Her curfew is 12, but she is not always out that late anyway. Of course I worry. Life holds no guarantees and a lot in her background puts her at higher risk. But I can't keep her in a bubble, or keep punishing her for past mistakes. She does need to grow up.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I find that very limiting. When I was her age I would go to Six Flags with a group of friends. That would be an all day event. I also liked to go to baseball games. We would drive 2 hours to the game, the game usually lasted 3 hours (or more), then 2 hours back.

There are just so many completely innocent things that people can do with their time that take more than a couple of hours and are not at their actual house.

I've honestly never heard of anyone having curfew involving a time limit. I've only ever heard of curfews that meant "Be home by a certain time." Also, my parents never gave me a curfew. I was definitely not a "wild child" at all, so they really had no reason to give me a curfew. They knew I wasn't going to do anything crazy.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Let me give you a clue - anything that can be done after 11pm can be done before 11pm.
If she's sexually active - she could have sex 10am in the morning, 3pm in the afternoon, etc.
If that is what you are concerned about - just let that go.
If you want a curfew - not so much to control what she's doing - but to not disturb the wage earners that need sleep - then let her know "I need to be sleeping during these hours and you/people coming and going during those hours isn't going to work for me".
Some parents will say - if you can't make it in till 2am, then don't come home till my wake up time at 7am.
She's run away once - so you shouldn't be trying to be overly controlling - BUT - it's your house and there should be respect for the needs of every one that lives there.
She doesn't get to call all the shots - she's going to have to compromise with anyone she lives with - so it's not unreasonable that she be able to compromise with you.
Try to treat her like any other adult that might be living in your house.
Try to make it welcoming so she WANTS to be at home instead of someplace that she's trying to escape from.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Which era are you living in? "Respectable young lady?" Really?

When I was 17, I had graduated and had a job. The restaurant I worked at required us to stay until cleanup was over, so after close and then some. I couldn't go home until my entire station was broken down, put away and cleaned. Sometimes that meant staying until 1 or 2 in the morning. And after that, my coworkers and I would go out, grab a soda, talk about what happened during the shift...go home,grab some sleep, and do it all over again.

Your daughter *is* trying to show responsibility, not just 'claiming' to do so. You are being disrespectful of her effort to find a happy medium in your home.I wonder if you are considering that she's doing more than a lot of kids her age. "Even buying extra items needed around the house"? So she's financially contributing to her family's well being but it isn't enough for you?

Shame on you, for thinking so little of your daughter and her ability to make good decisions.You are being outrageously unreasonable. You should be thanking your lucky stars that she came home in the first place when you asked her to. (I had a sibling who ran away,a lot, and you should know-- by coming home, your daughter is saving your family a lot of distress and sleepless nights and work, trying to track her down.)

If it were me, I'd do what I usually do... grant the privilege asked with the understanding that if something bad comes of it, it's her responsibility to clean up her own mess. I'm willing to let my ten year old ask for what he wants (more freedoms) with the understanding that it's on him to show me that he can do it. Why is it that I can give a 10 year old that sort of respect but you can't seem to muster it up for a person who is technically an adult? Absurd.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I've raised two boys to responsible adulthood. One in his 20's, the other in his 30's I mention that only so you'll know I'm an experienced parent and middle aged.

I think your 4 hour system is nuts. Your daughter's request sounds responsible and reasonable.

I can't think of any reason your 4 hour idea makes a bit of sense.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

You are crazy. Not sure why she came back home. When I was her age, I would let my parents know what time I would be home and where I was going. It wasn't a requirement but parents are going to worry no matter how old their babies get. Loosen up and let your daughter grow.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

So if she goes out at 10am she has to be home at 2pm?

So she is not allowed to get a full-time job? Is this a religious thing?

ETA: It sounds like you are eager for her to move out and get married. You are not telling us any other way that she can get away from your "rule". Well, moving out and getting married are great when those things are done in a responsible way, at the right time, to the right person, etc. Your rules are likely to rush her to do those things in haste, which could mess up her life much more than staying out for more than 4 hours!!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

At 18, I was living a 6.5 hour drive away from my parent's home. I was going to college, working a part time job and only called home once a week on Sunday afternoons because way back then long distance calls were expensive.

So, I have to think that I a most respectable young lady did just fine for longer than 4 hours away from home at a time and continued to do so until today.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Yikes. 4 hours is completely unreasonable. I'd say that 11 is unreasonably strict also, and you be grateful it's an option.

Just because she's not at home with you doesn't mean she's out on the street. Leaving home at the age of 18 is not running away. I think that a lot of kids would do the same thing if they faced the same constraints at home.

Let her spread her wings and fly.


6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I see everyone has jumped on the "you're a bad parent bandwagon" already. Well, I am guessing there is a lot more back story to this. I guess I could see having this type of curfew if I had a child who had been in trouble due to drinking and/or drugs - using and then having time to sober up would make it difficult to hold a child accountable and safe. Also, if I had a child who was prone to running, if they didn't have to check in all day and took off, they would get one heck of a head start. 4 hrs minimizes how far they could get vs. say 8 or 10 hours.

However, note I said "child" not "adult." If your adult is helping with paying for household items, working a job, and being responsible, then maybe it is time for her to move out on her own rather than being subjected to these rules. Your house, your rules - ridiculous or not, but how long is she supposed to live at home and have this type of life?

By the way - you don't "run away" if you are 18. You are leaving home for whatever reason.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have a 17 year old son. If I followed your policy/rule of only being gone for 4 hours at a time? My son would NOT be able to work. His shifts are anywhere from 5 to 9 hours (with a lunch break).

Rethink your ridiculous curfew. She's an adult.

My 15 and 17 year old have an 11PM curfew.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My 14yo is often away from home for over 30 hours in one stretch. She frequently stays at friend's houses overnight and my 19 yo will not be able to pay for her phone for several more years yet she does not have a curfew.

If you want to have a decent relationship with your daughter tell her you have been unreasonable and it's just very hard for you to let go but you are working on it. You must recognize your daughter is an adult and you should start treating her as one, Best of luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

A four hour curfew for an 18 year old is unreasonable and disrespectful.

You have described your daughter as, "responsible".

Why not treat her like a respectable adult? She will leave again with this tough and unreasonable limitation placed on her. You are fortunate she came back home unharmed from running away in May.

Ask yourself if these same rules would be in place for her if she were 20, 25, 30? Would you have the same rules if you were hosting a foreign exchange student or had a foster child who reached adulthood? Did you have these rules imposed on you at that age? What are you so afraid of that you refuse to encourage and support her maturity and adulthood.

If you don't change you will loose her. What's most important to you?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'm LDS and my sister is a Jehovah's Witness and neither one of us would have rules like this, and our religions are STRICT about dating and going out with friends and such. Your oppression of this young adult is going to backfire in such a big HUGE way. I can't imagine her not walking out on her 18th birthday and never looking back. That's what I did.

I married the first guy that asked, slept with him the first time he asked, got pregnant first time we had sex too. I didn't love him, thought I did but he was my "savior" that made it all possible for me to play grown up. I had a child and was divorced before I felt more than 12 years old mentally because my parents hadn't let me make any decisions on my own. I had a job and did activities outside of church too. I grew up going to the Baptist church at the end of the street and I went to Falls Creek, played softball, basketball, volleyball, and more on the church team, in city leagues, and other friends church teams.

Overall my childhood and parents parenting methods ruined me as far as being an adult. They kept me from being a person that was able to have confidence and make good choices because I didn't know how.

She is an adult. She shouldn't even have a curfew at all. She didn't "run away" she moved out. Adults don't run away from home.

You do realize, don't you?, that your restrictions on her are completely abnormal? She has no adult skills because you haven't allowed her to have any.

She's going to go crazy with freedom when she finally breaks away from you because she doesn't know how to be an adult.

I'm sad for her. Completely sad. She has to learn, all by herself, how to be responsible and a grown up. It will probably take her 5-7 years to successfully be on her own and not making juvenile mistakes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

She's an adult. I think it's nice that she asked for a curfew. Since she ran away once holding a tight reign on her will probably make her run away again. Is this rule cultural? I know in some cultures parents run their daughters lives until they are married and then the husband takes over running her life. As an adult I think I would run away if I had a curfew at 18. Sometimes rules makes people do what you don't want them too. Wow.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

She is legally an adult. She can do what she wants.

If she is living at your house? She needs to follow your rules. I personally think your rule of no more than 4 hours is a tad extreme.

She ran away 2 months ago. That does NOT make her responsible. However, that does not justify a 4 hour window of being gone.

If she does something illegal? She needs to pay the consequences for that "crime".
I do believe that you are choking your daughter (not literally) and this will cause her to rebel even worse than before and running away again.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

What are you trying to prevent with a 4 hr curfew? What do you think could happen that takes more than 4 hours, that couldn't happen in 2 hr? Or even 30 min?

When I was your daughter's age, I had a 10PM weekday curfew and midnight curfew on weekends. If something special was going on, they made exceptions to the curfew as long as I let them know in advance. My parent's logic was that they didn't sleep well until I was home, so my curfews corresponded with their bedtimes. I didn't always love it, but it makes sense.

I see no logic in your curfew rules, and so I can't help you defend them. Unless you have some additional reasons for your rules that you don't want to say, I agree with your daughter that they are unreasonable.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Well, as far as time with her boyfriend, anything she wanted to do could be done in 4 hrs, so......not sure about that argument. Imo, you're being too strict. She's 18. Sounds like my curfew when I was 15. She should be able to do whatever she wants too and if she's back at 11pm every night, count yourself lucky. Shoot, at that age I'd go hang out at the beach for like 6 hrs straight easy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't get the 4 hours at all. When I was that are mine was midnight and my parents were supper strict. She is an adult. My son is 18 and I feel I am pretty strict with both my boys. But once he turned 18 we have told him we want to know where he is but he has freedom to come and go as long as he doesn't wake people up in the process. And when we have plans that include him we let him know.

1 mom found this helpful
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