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A common problem the average parent (or even grandparent involved in teens lives) is likely to come across is the timely issue of youth growing up too quickly. Time and time again, parents are faced with decision time about what curfew to set for their teenagers. The only problem is, with the invention of constant communication technology, like cell phones and GPS tracking systems, the old ‘be home by midnight’ is no longer valid. Teenagers are taking a stand, and they’re hitting the sore spot by claiming their friends are staying up later too…and before you know it, the old midnight turns into the new 2am.
The key is to do your research and set some rules. Take your teen as a starting point for your research. You need to take into account that their friends may be very different to the friends you had at your age – everyone knows that there are some groups that stay out later than others for whatever reasons. There are daytime skaters, as opposed to the night-time ones. The night-time ones aren’t necessarily there at night to drink and do drugs – they may have divided the time because the skate park is quieter, or has more of their friends around at night-time. You’ll need to ask them to see their side of the story and understand their reasons why they are staying out so late.
Your next port of call is the other parents around. These can be family friends with teenagers, or even your teen’s friends’ parents. What do they think about their proposed curfew? Is it too late? What do the other parents set as curfew for their teens? Why?
Now after you’ve done your research, go back to your teen like a sales person, and try compromise the best time you can both agree on. Maybe not be as sly as the stereotypical sales person, but try work towards your both advantage. Through this process, you’ll be able to set some rules down, because even if you decide on a particular time, things do come up, so set them straight. Perhaps the curfew can be at 2am, which is the time when they must be at home, but they must TXT you at midnight, or an hour or two after they’ve left home to let you know they’re OK. Come up with a number of scenarios they can reference to in future. For example, what if the bus, taxi or their ride can’t get them home by 2am – do they need to TXT or call you? Are they hanging out in your suburb or in town? What if there is a family emergency – how fast can they get back home?
Now, if you need to, write these rules out and stick them on the door, or the fridge, in their car, wallet, or even in their room. Perhaps it might be embarrassing for them to have these rules up in their room, or in their wallet, but I personally think friends can be very considerate in today’s world – teenagers have a conscience too, and if your teen’s friends see you have set rules for them, they’ll know about the rules their friend has, and I hope you find, in the perfect scenario that they will actually peer pressure your teen to stick to them.
What curfew would you set for the teen in your life? What was acceptable when you were younger, and what rights are they demanding in today’s day and age? (Comment Below)