When I hear the word curfew, I wonder… what exactly is “a curfew”?
Because when I was younger curfew was 11 p.m. – no matter what! Let me clarify, it actually wasn’t my curfew, but that of my older sisters. There really are many benefits of being the “baby” of 4 girls.
Even though I was just a child when my sisters were teens, I still remember the arguments. Curfew was always a bone of contention! It did not matter where they were going – whether it was a school dance, out with friends, or trying to organize going to the movies – they needed to be home by 11 p.m.
I know my parents were doing what they thought was right. They were setting a consistent curfew with teen daughters. However, during their parenting journey they came to many parenting realizations and by the time I became a teen… well let’s just say I was allowed to stay until the end of the dance (as my sisters will remind me when we are reminiscing about the ‘good ol days’). LOL
What my parents had discovered is that they really wanted to know:
- Where I was going
- Who I was going to be with
- What we would be doing
- How I was getting there and getting home
And then the discussion of what time to be home happened together. I was still expected to be home at a certain time, it was just more flexible depending on what I was doing. There were still boundaries and consequences, but I was always part of the decision…and I remember taking my consequences without complaint because I had actually agreed to them!
Even though my parents didn’t read parenting books, they did chat with other parents. And through many trials and tribulations (a big shout out thanks to my sisters!), they realized teens are much more likely to follow rules if they are part of creating them and understand some of the reasoning.
My dad will sometimes still joke with me that he would have allowed me more freedom then what I was actually asking for! I really need to brush up on my negotiating skills!
Each family functions very differently. Parent-to-parent support is one of the best ways to share parenting strategies. Tell us how you handle curfews in your home. Share with us your thoughts & stories on curfews, boundaries & expectations.