As teens gain more independence, parents often find that they need to set more rules. Setting a curfew is an important step, as it helps keep teens safe and gives parents peace of mind. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when setting and enforcing curfew rules with your teenager:
Talk to your teen
As you start allowing your teen to go out more and stay out later, sit down and have a discussion about your expectations. Explain to them what the curfew will be, and what the consequences will be if they break it. Set ground rules for checking in and calling when they’re out. Consider asking them what punishment they think is fair and appropriate if they break their curfew.
Check local curfew laws
Many cities, towns, and communities have their own rules regarding curfews. They may vary based on age, season, and days of the week. It’s a way to keep neighborhoods safer and to give residents peace of mind. Find out what the rules are in your local community.
Your teen will have no choice but to abide by the community rule and you can use the local curfew as a guide for setting your own. You may want your child home before the curfew, or you may choose to allow them to stay out until the community curfew is in effect.
When you set a curfew, you expect and want your child to stick to it. However, they are likely to come in a few minutes late from time to time. Remain flexible and don’t overreact to these instances. Let them know that they’re getting home late, but give them some leeway before laying down the law. Save the consequences for those times that they come in 30 minutes or an hour past the time that they should.
Be willing to make exceptions
There are times when a different curfew may be appropriate, depending on what your teen is doing, who they’re with, and where they’re going. For example, if they’re with a school group or a sports team with chaperones and coaches, it would make sense to extend their curfew if necessary. If they’re out with a new friend that you aren’t familiar with, you may want to have your child come home earlier. Be willing to make exceptions and change the curfew as you see fit. Just take a few minutes to explain why to your teen so that you don’t have a misunderstanding.
Use a GPS tracker
One of the best tools that parents have today to keep tabs on their teens is a GPS tracker on their mobile device. Set up a parental monitoring app on their cell phone. You’ll be able to see their location in real time, as well as check their location history. If their curfew is approaching, you should be able to see where they are and if they’re headed home. It gives you peace of mind, and it helps them to stay true to their word about their whereabouts.
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