Summer Curfew for Teens

Updated on June 23, 2014
S.R. asks from Milwaukee, WI
23 answers

My daughter is 17 the last month of summer and going to be a Senior. She is 16 but more mature probably because of the grade thing with older kids. Curfew here is midnight so I just moved it from 11:30 to 12am. She works and drives and is responsible. She wants to be with her friends when she's not at work ( if they're not working). Question is how much do you let your teens hang out during the week/weekend without coming home in between? Sometimes she wants to leave at 3pm and come back at curfew. I don't think a teen should be out on their own all that time. I'm thinking if she's home for dinner that would be better. Then go back out again. Kids could be off in a different state with all that unsupervised time. There's a lot of girls around here walking around with different boys all the time and doing whatever they please. They are not getting introuble as long as we don't know about it right? In our eyes. I just want opinions on how others handle the hanging out time for their teens during summer. Also do you have a later curfew on weekends than week days for your teens? No negative comments please.

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So What Happened?

No need to say I don't trust my kid. It's not that. It's wanting to see her face around and having dinner with the family once in a while since some days she is working at dinner time. We do not live an hour away from friends or sports so we are good there. We are close to her work and her friends. Everything is within 20 mins from our house. I am not strict. I am just concerned what my kids are doing and who they are with. That is called being a good parent.

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answers from Richland on

I always based these things on my trust in my kids, my feelings on their maturity. See my kids knew right from wrong and they had no trouble voicing that. They always told me what was going on and I never had any reason to think they were anywhere else.

My daughter's school was 15 miles from home, the fields where she practiced soccer another 45. Considering I completely trusted her judgement why on earth would I make her come home, scarf down dinner and run back out to a friends house? Oh some of her friends lived 15 miles past the school between the fields and the school. That would be an extra hour of driving just to placate me.

The other thing is why I could trust my kids was they valued that trust. They could see I trusted them more than their friends were trusted by their parents. That made them feel more mature, more responsible and they wouldn't do a thing they thought would violate that trust. I in turn did nothing that showed I was questioning their responsibility unless I had a reason. Seems to me, drive an hour out of your way so I can see you are alive, a clear indication I didn't trust them to still be alive.

The two oldest are adults now and believe it or not they did nothing wrong. They told me a few stories from college but not high school. I didn't worry and apparently I had no reason to worry.

My kids did call every time their plans changed.

Oh yeah and they also worked all summer. Just too much going on for them to be calling mommy every hour. Either you trust them or you don't. If you don't trust your kid to be making good decisions you shouldn't allow them to drive on their own. Based on my teen years you could get into plenty of trouble long before dinner time.

Per your what happened, I figured you trusted your child, that is why I pointed out the value of the trust. Kids that are micromanaged are the ones that given an ounce of freedom do really stupid things. Kids you have grown to trust value that trust, it is worth more than some stupid adventure.

Seemed like during the summer breakfast became the family meal.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

If you cant trust her from 3 pm to dinner time, you can trust her from 3 pm to midnight.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think your idea of dinner at home is a good one and agree that it's the long stretches of unaccounted for time that are a problem. Three to midnight is 9 hours...way too long to just be hanging around. Of course you can make exceptions for specific excursions that really need an early start (going to an amusement park that's over an hour away, going to a concert where they have to drive a ways and get something to eat first, having dinner at a friend's house where you know the parents are home, etc.) but for everyday hanging out and doing nothing? No one needs 9 hours of that.

My two oldest are 16 (step-daughter will be 17 in the fall so she's going into junior year along with my son, who is a few months younger than her) and I'm not a fan of giant stretches of social time. My kids don't drive yet and neither do their friends so when they do get together with someone parents are involved in driving or are home (yes, I'm the mom who checks) so I'm fine with occasional longer stretches of free time now but once they're driving? Um, no.

I think a midnight curfew is very generous at this age. For us, my husband and I emphasize that just because they're on vacation doesn't mean we are so they have to be in by 10 PM on weeknights, can't have weeknight sleepovers, etc. We give them a little more leeway on weekends but not much, maybe an hour.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

It depends on the child.

One way to get her to be home for lengths of time is to invite her friends to your home. Cookouts in the back yard. Big Spaghetti and meatball dinners. Sunday Brunch..

Game nights with fabulous snacks. Maybe invite their parents over also to join in. Root beer floats, popcorn..

My mom and my friends moms were always hosting fun gatherings, especially in the summer. Some of the times they invited the other parents and to this day we are all real close o each others parents, that are still alive.

Or if there is an event.. Free Movie in the park, Outdoor performance, Free concerts.. You could kind of put it out there that they all gather with you and a picnic.. And mom, ask them to bring cold drinks, dessert.. bags of chips. This way they know they are expected because you are depending on them to bring things.

Every once in a while might be ok, IF your daughter is a responsible person. Common sense etc. But if you are not sure or her friends tend to not make great choices.. then I would tell her she needs to come home for dinner.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I've raised two teenagers (now 32 and 29). I would come to an agreement WITH her about her daily and weekly schedule. Teenagers will more likely follow "rules" that they have had a say in creating.

I really don't remember using the word "supervised" after our kids were old enough to work and drive. They didn't need supervision then, only occasional guidance, and a few basic rules that we just expected them to follow.

Some suggestions:
Nightly curfew is what the law says it is, no exceptions.
If plans change from the original, a text or call is made to inform you.
Pick a night (or several) of the week for a regular family dinner and a friend or two is always welcome/invited. Make this an enjoyable time so she looks forward to it, not a time to bring up issues or such.
As long as trust is not compromised, then you trust her to be where she says she will be.
Friends are welcome in your house (as long as they follow basic rules of behavior).

There's only one more year until, legally, she can be completely on her own. At this stage, she needs few rules and much responsibility.

Our kid were sometimes out from the start of school in the morning until curfew time at night. But, usually they dropped in long enough to drop off books, change clothes, grab a snack and run out again. For a time, Friday night was scheduled dinner (with a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend). Though dinner was offered any day their school/work schedule allowed. And, we made our house a welcoming place to be, so that they and their friends often chose to be there.

Summer - they slept late, worked quite a few hours, did chores around the house as asked, and hung out with friends either at our house or out. If they had too much "free time" we would come up with more chores...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

When kids are seniors it's time to start cutting the cord, if you haven't already. It's perfectly normal for a 17 year old girl to stay out from 3 p.m. until midnight.

Your daughter works and drives and is responsible, you say. She is not going to go to a different state or hang around with a bunch of different boys all the time and do "whatever she pleases" just because she's out for 9 hours straight. Your daughter will be in college in a year -- time to give her more freedom and trust. I agree with Julie S.

p.s. Cell phones are a wonderful thing.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

My son turns 16 next month, so I can't say I've been there, or know what we'll do exactly. But, I don't really see a need (?) to set a flat out curfew and then they just get the run of doing whatever they want until curfew.
I mean... it's fine to say, never out past X time, (maybe different on weeknights than weekends?), but that doesn't mean that they are free to do whatever they want up until that time. Does that make sense?

I don't expect my child to just decide what he's doing and go do it. I will expect him to discuss his plans with me. If something comes up and he isn't home, he can call. He has a phone. And we can discuss if it is something he can go do, or not.
I wasn't ever running the streets freely when I had a car and a license in high school. I went to my after school job, etc. But my parents knew when those shifts were. And on weekends, I'd say that I "wanted to" or my friend and I were "planning to" ___ and they would assent or ask more questions, or say, but you ____, or just flat say, "no, that's not a good idea." Or whatever.
I was not an adult and still had to converse with my parents to get permission and let them know what I was doing. They ALWAYS wanted to know when I'd be home. It wasn't a matter of whether it was past curfew or not.

"Me and __ are going to the mall and to see a movie."
Them: "Who all is going?"
"What time is the movie?"
"When do you expect to be home?"
(If there was a lapse between the end of the movie and the time to get home, then it would be, "what are you doing after the movie?")

I didn't just have free rein to disappear until curfew. So I don't understand that concept.
As long as I lived under their roof, that was the case. And as an adult, it is the same when we visit, because not to discuss your plans on being in their home is just rude.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

When my oldest (now 19) was still living here and in HS, I didn't impose a daily curfew. My child wasn't super social, and was not free to just go out cavorting where ever she wanted. She also did not have a car. My teen was required to have a destination, and what time she was expected home depended on where she was going and how much time was reasonable to be there. Yes, she could later outings on weekends, because it was hard for us to sleep when she was still out, and hubby and I needed our sleep on work nights. So we didn't tell our teen that she could stay out til X time every night, no matter what the plans or where she'd be. She had no desire to be out every night, and I wouldn't have found that necessary,

Good luck on figuring out what's best for your teen!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

When I was a teen I did not have a curfew of any sort. I was just expected to come home a reasonable amount of time after my evening activity ended. Whether I went to a movie that ended at 11:00pm, or a dance that ended at midnight or a party that ended at 1:00am or I worked until 3:00am I was just expected to come home shortly afterwards.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Considering that in a year she's going to be an adult and able to come and go as she pleases I suggest you back off and allow her more freedom. So that if she does make some mistakes she is still living at home and has you to support her.

Get her work schedule each week and post it on the fridge where everyone can see it. Then plan a family dinner one of her 2 nights off. Otherwise she can go be with her friends if they have plans for things like going swimming. The pool is likely open through dinner time and she'd have to pay twice if she left and came home.

If she's just at a friends house hanging out then perhaps dinner would be enjoyable if she came home.

I'd compromise. You're only going to have her this senior year then she'll be gone. Helping her to make good decisions is good parenting, not demanding she come home every few hours so you can see her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with you. It's not about not trusting your child. It's about keeping them safe, keeping an eye on them, not giving them too much time to get
into trouble (or heaven forbid go into another state) etc.

So she is still only 16. That is very young.
I would definitely set a curfew.
Hmm, at that age I would say 11pm. The latest I would stretch that to
would be midnight. Tops. Nothing good happens after midnight. She
could get a flat tire, be on the side of the road, go to a party leaving a
remote area late at night.
She will have plenty of time to stay out later.
Set the ground rules now. You'll be giving her a good foundation to start
out on her life out in the real life. Going from being at home under the
watchful eye of your loving parents finishing high school to either going
away to college living w/roommates or moving out on her own at 18
where she will have freedom. Way too much freedom. You're instilling
values, safety, liberties w/some boundaries etc.
Boundaries are yours to set being her parent.
Too much time on hands of young kids can lead to trouble.
You can request that she come home for dinner (a poss good idea) then
she can go back out again w/friends until ay 11pm.
I remember my curfew being 10pm until I graduated. I thought they were
crazy. I did it, though. Now looking back I am so thankful for their
guidance in this crazy world keeping me safe. Some kids leaving
parties.....were not so lucky. So devastatingly sad.
Good job keeping her safe mama.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I havent read all the responses but couldnt you just talk to her and say I know you want to spend so much time with your friends and I did too but my time with you still home is limited so can you please do your old mom a favor and at least eat dinner with us at least 2 times a week (since her work does sometimes interfere) Just say that you need this time with her since she is so close to going off to college. If my mom ever said that to me when I was in high school you better believe I would have made that a priority.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

So: you are the Mom. You are the parent. You/Husband make the rules.
She is a high school teen.
Do you know her friends?
Do you know her friends parents?
Do you invite her friends over to your house to hang out?
Teens, hang out. They loiter. They drive places. They do things. In public areas and places. And if certain public places are closed, then what are they doing and where? They can't get into night clubs or bars. Yet. So what are your daughter and her friends doing until midnight?
TALK... to her. Have a nice Mom/daughter discussion. Be open. Don't judge her but let her talk and say things. Then you will know, her and her thoughts and what they do all those hours until midnight. Be honest with each other. Tell her you want to see her face at dinner. have a nice conversation with her. Let her know she can tell you things too.
This is a good first step, about the whole conundrum.

IF your daughter is mature and responsible... then, IS she able to speak up and walk away from other teens that may be doing inappropriate or illegal things? Is she able to do her own thing, instead of just being a "follower" and copy catting the other teen girls or boys?
TALK to her about that. Gauge her. And then tell her scenarios that can happen and ask her what she would do in that situation?
My kids are 7 and 11, and I do that with them. I do that so they learn about social scenarios and so they know themselves and we discuss various ways they can handle it.
Is your daughter able to stand up for herself despite teen pressure?
TALK to your daughter about that.

TALK to your daughter, about these things.
Don't just go blindly about it.
Talk to your daughter about it in a mellow caring manner. Tell her this is part of the PROCESS... that you are doing together, so that you both will be on the same page about it or whatever rules you have for her.

She is a teen in high school.
She is not of legal age.
Tell her that she needs to learn priorities and how to manage her time & rules.
There is family time. And sure, there is her socializing too.
So she needs to do both. It is being respectful and responsible.
Tell her, you want her home for dinner.
Tell her going out to midnight just doing whatever, is too long.
If that is how you feel, then do it.
But teach her, rules and priorities and speak to her about what if's.
DOES she have a cell phone?
If so, tell her she needs to check in with you. Or if her and her friends changes venues or goes someplace else.

Since she has a car, (and you are the one paying for insurance, I assume) what are your rules for that?
IS she allowed to have other kids in her car? Or not?
Talk to her, about these matters and the what ifs and what do to in certain situations.
Because, along with freedoms and unlimited socializing... there needs to be, a discussion about it first, and what your/your Husbands expectations are. As she gets older, she needs to, in a mature manner, also fill you in as to what she is doing and where etc.

You all need to sit down with her, and have a decent conversation about it all. Not just talking "at" her, but talking together. And being on the same page. Including per any rules you have for her.

Teens are not free agents.
Sure many do whatever they want.
But, you are her parent and you/Husband decide jointly WITH her, what her rules are or not. Have a mature conversation with her, about it.
And see if she can.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

For me when my daughter will be that age I think it will mainly depend on how she is. But do what your comfortable with. If you want her home for an hour in the evening to check in and everything then do that which it isn't a bad rule. But I'd make sure she is checking in once an hour either texting or calling to let me know where she is or to ask if she could go somewhere else

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answers from Washington DC on

well, i dunno. you say it's not that you don't trust her, but you start out with 'i don't think a teen should be out on their own all that time.'
which is it?
if her curfew is midnight, i can't see a logical reason for requiring her to let you 'see her face' if she's got things to do.
if you suspect she's doing drugs or having sex, that's a different story. but you must realize she's an adult in training, and at this point her training is almost done. it doesn't mean 'stop guiding her' but it does mean that you're at the point that you need to trust in what you've done for the last 16 years, and start demonstrating your confidence in her, at least incrementally.

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answers from New London on

A summer curfew would be 10 during the week and 11:30 on the weekends.

During summer, she should continue working and be responsible for putting gas in the car/spending money !

Chores are a must !! She should be doing a few consistent chores.

I do not think she should be out every night. Have a night where friends come to your house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My kids are now 18 (just graduated) and 16 (will be junior in the fall). Now that my son is graduated and has a real job and works out of state during the week I just ask that he let me know where he is when he's home. We still schedule at least one family meal on the weekends before he leaves again.

My daughter's curfew depends on what she's doing, but her general rule is midnight. She's also a good kid and I trust her, but she's also only 16. I would be ok with her being gone from 3:00 - midnight occasionally (depending on what and where), but not every day. We're still a family and I like to have everyone around the table.

I think you sound like a reasonable rational parent. When kids have cars and licenses, you learn faith and trust, but having to "check in" gives them accountability, you some peace of mind and it gives them the opportunity to remove themselves from a situation if they need to. My kids still want to spend time with me (sometimes on a more limited basis lol). Family dinners are the time to reconnect and find out what's going on. Sounds like you're doing it right

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answers from Los Angeles on

curfew was NEVER the same every night. It was only based on what we were doing and what was an appropriate time to be home. And we NEVER got to be out late EVERY night. kids need to be taught balance whether you trust them or they are responsible or not.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Good timing on this post. We have a 17-year-old boy who's going to be a senior, has a car and a job. This and related topics were big conversations at our house this weekend because two of my son's friends were seen by another neighbor sneaking back into their homes at 5:00 am and because we and a couple of other neighbors were victims of property damage crimes about 4:00 am the same night/morning. Ironically, a parent at a gathering we were at the evening before this happened made a comment about one of the two boys seen "sneaking" and how his parents had been restrictive and he was going to rebel. Made me wonder a lot about being restrictive vs. being a good parent like you've said.

Our son is a good kid with good grades and no reason for us to suspect he's doing anything wrong when he's with his friends. However, I realize he is a teenage boy and I know he's done some loitering and driving around and pulled some pranks. We don't have a set curfew, but rather play it by ear depending on the situation. I am fairly protective of his sleep for a variety of reasons, including his asthma and his team sport participation. I think if you commit to a team sport you owe it to your team to be in your best physical condition and well rested. These aren't kids who are going to be pro athletes or even playing college sports, but I think you need to learn to take care of yourself.

Anyhow, my son is allowed to stay out as long as he stays in touch with us and is really where he tells us he will be. If he says he's spending the night at a certain friend's house we expect him to be there and not at someone else's house or carousing. On this particular night over the weekend he had been with a group of guys, including the one later seen sneaking around, at a couple of different locations. At about 11:15, I made him come home and go to bed because he was in the middle of a baseball tournament. He played four games in three days, had a morning batting practice and game and wanted him to get some sleep. One of the guys he's was with was one of the ones seen dropping off another kid at 5:00 a.m. Because of the property damage crime that occurred my husband had an extensive conversation with the kid my son had been with earlier to find out if the two incidents are related. It sounds like they are not, but I'm with you on this one. Even though our kids will be on their own in a year I still don't think there's anything productive to be accomplished by being out and about (and especially without parental knowledge or permission) between midnight and 5 am.

So, that's a long-winded way of saying that I understand where you are coming from and in our case the curfew varies with the situation. Because of what happened this weekend we had long talks with our son and told him that we will give him some leeway, but we need to know he is where he tells us he is. If he violates that then there will more restrictions. I think it's reasonable to expect them to check in periodically and have the occasional family dinner. Our time with them is limited after all! We are pretty lucky to have observant neighbors who tell us what is going on in the neighborhood. Good luck! It's difficult to find the balance between appropriate guidance and freedom.

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answers from Seattle on

I have younger kids, so I can't imagine letting my 16 year old stay out all day without some restrictions. I would miss seeing them in the evenings! I agree with a dinner time check in. It's important for families to eat together and I'd request that for week nights. I also would expect to know where my kids are going and who they will be with. Of course they might push the boundaries, but there should be boundaries. Again, younger kids here, so I am not yet thinking with the teenager in mind, but I hope I have some restrictions on my kids at that point. At 16, I would have gotten into tons more trouble if I had been allowed that much freedom and I was a responsible, smart kid compared to most. I did my fair share of stupid things though and it was smart of my parents to watch over me.

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answers from Minneapolis on

boundaries,boundaries,boundaries..make her come home n check in,spend quality time with family,they really need this at this stage of their lives,went thru it twice.gave to much freedom n it backfired.hook n reel her fanny back in..she has her whole life ahead of her to run buck wild crazy..



answers from Miami on

There's nothing wrong with what you are saying here. You have every right to see your child.

If I were you, I would insist that these girls come to YOUR house some so that you know what they are doing. You do NOT have to give your daughter carte blanche to go out with them all the time and hang where THEY want to hang.



answers from Rochester on

I think 12 midnight is a good time for her to come home. She may be a good girl and all but some others that are out there at all hours of the morning are not so good. They could be an influence to her or just get her into trouble. Keep in mind there may be times/events where she could be allowed to stay out later, but only with permission.

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