Teenage Curfew Woes…Looking for Feedback!

AUTHOR: | POSTED: June 1, 2012 | COMMENTS: 22 Comments
CATEGORIES:

Carolyn Savage

I predicted the debate.  Wasn’t sure of when it would happen, but knew it was inevitable.   I must admit, though, I was a tad surprised how quickly Drew challenged his curfew.  The following conversation occurred less than twenty hours into summer vacation. 

 

 

Drew     Mom, can we talk curfew?

Me        I’m feeding your sister so it’s not like I can stop you!

Drew    My friend’s curfews are 1 am.  I have to leave EVERYTHING early.

That’s when the déjà vu started—I’d had this conversation somewhere before…

 

Me      1 amNothing good happens after midnight.

 

Now I knew I’d had this conversation before…

 

Me      How about 11:45?

Drew  That’s my curfew now!

 

It is? Sh*t!  cover your parent-of-the-year ass before he figures out you’re so exhausted at the end of the day, that you have no idea what time he ever comes in….

 

Me      Uh, I meant midnight.  Midnight is reasonable.

Drew      12:30?  I mean—seriously—I’m almost eighteen!

Me       

Oh puh-lease—if you think this is a negotiation you are mistaken.  As long as   you are under this roof you’ll have to follow our rules regardless of how old you are!

 

Crap…that was full force creepy déjà vu.  In fact, I think I may have just channeled my dad’s voice, All State style.

 

Drew  What if I pull a 32 on my next ACT?

Me                        

Oh Drew…if you pull a 32 on your next ACT you can kiss your social life goodbye.   Losing you in a late-night car wreck is my greatest fear.  Mourning you would be even more gut wrenching if I knew you were not only the greatest son ever…but also a genius. 

 

To which…he walked away. 

I must admit, I do feel  a little sorry for him.  He’s our first born, and in a lot of ways, our guinea pig.  He’s had a trial and error life, thus far, and although it appears that we’ve done a pretty good job, I know we will parent Isabella and Reagan differently.  Hell, by the time the twins are approaching eighteen, we’ll be eating dinner at restaurant early bird specials and nodding off during Jeopardy.  It’s tough being the oldest.

It’s also tough being the parent of a driving teenager.  The worry is endless. 

So, I’m looking for feedback.  What is a reasonable curfew these days?  Thoughts…please!

22 Comments on “ Teenage Curfew Woes…Looking for Feedback! ”

  • bp | June 1st, 2012 10:21 am

    Honestly? how close to 18 is he? and what is your plan for segueing him into making his own choices/decisions so that he can learn in safety? it’s gotta be scary ugly but seems kind of short sighted to keep kids on a short leash then all the sudden BOOM they are out of the house. and lost in some regards because they never got to learn to be ‘adults’ before they were ‘officially’ ‘adult’. just a thought.

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  • lynda crossman | June 1st, 2012 1:06 pm

    Hi, a couple of thoughts.. is he a problem child?( coming home with cops, drugs and drink issues, school problems? Does he have a accident history? does he have a job?? ) Yes to any of them and the leash is a VERY short one..if he is a good character kid then why not let him to decide when he is getting ready to come home..I have found that with my older children they came home quickly if nothing was going on…School and work priorities also are very important. So… I let him decide, but also plant the seed of not jumping off the bridge with everyone else. Is he ready to graduate HS? Does he have college plans?? take care and .

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 1st, 2012 3:24 pm

    Drew is truly a very easy kid to parent. He’s responsible, takes initiative, etc.. He’ll turn 18 in September just after he begins his senior year. It has also been my experience that he comes home when nothing is going on. He is planning on attending college. We are going on our first college visit in a few weeks! (Fodder for a blog to come!) He did suggest that he won’t stay out late the night beforehe has obligations (i.e. work, and running practice).

    He is trustworthy. And…it’s not that I don’t trust him. It’s the other drunkards driving around after midnight that I don’t trust. I worry, worry, worry. Ugh…motherhood!

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  • lynda crossman | June 1st, 2012 7:57 pm

    got your worry thing, it must be contagious!! but even in the daylight that could happen. I have them I trust them and be careful!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but I expect them to govern themselves responsibly and make good choices. I point out all the time that the choices you make today will make your tomorrow (good or bad)! they leave and I PRAY!!!, <3 got to let them get their wings….slowly with mild correction in the road as they go… I don't want them to have to hit the road running without practice..:)

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  • Heather | June 1st, 2012 2:33 pm

    This isn’t a response to your request as that is a very difficult decision and we were very “tough” our older children and much less “tough” on the younger two … so I wish you good luck! So the reason for my response is to tell you that I love, love, love your new format on your blog!!! Keep it up and have a fabulous weekend!!! :)

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 1st, 2012 9:18 pm

    Aw…thanks so much for reading. I truly appreciate it. And..yes…I think we are probably going to be much tougher on Drew than the twins. Poor kid!

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  • Amy | June 1st, 2012 4:01 pm

    With our son, my husband & I stick with our school’s sports curfew rule all throughout the year. It’s such a tough call once they are driving and start to have a little more independence. We have to have trust and faith in him that he will make good decisions and be a cautious and alert driver on the road. However, we are also constantly telling him and trying to get him to understand it’s everyone else you have to be aware of as well since other peoples bad choices could affect you too. Best of luck with curfew issue! Love your new blog and enjoy reading it.

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  • Amy | June 1st, 2012 4:01 pm

    With our son, my husband & I stick with our school’s sports curfew rule all throughout the year. It’s such a tough call once they are driving and start to have a little more independence. We have to have trust and faith in him that he will make good decisions and be a cautious and alert driver on the road. However, we are also constantly telling him and trying to get him to understand it’s everyone else you have to be aware of as well since other peoples bad choices could affect you too. Best of luck with curfew issue! Love your new blog and enjoy reading it.

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 1st, 2012 9:21 pm

    Okay…now you’ve got me curious! Your son’s school has a sport’s curfew? Drew and Ry are both varsity runners and I’ve never heard them say that their coach gave them a curfew! I love the idea, however. Expand if you can!

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  • Amy | June 3rd, 2012 10:08 pm

    Our school has a Athletic Policy Manual. Here is the curfew policy:

    VI. Curfew
    Sunday-Thursday 11:00 pm
    Friday-Saturday 11:00 pm-1:00 am (use good judgment)

    First violation
    -coach will handle (running, extra practice, etc.)
    Second violation
    -denied participation for one week (min.1 game)
    Third violation
    -denied participation for remainder of season (loss of any potential awards)

    Since our son is a 3 sport athlete we stick to this all year around. However, he is only 15. He will be 16 in September. I’m still not sure about the 1:00 a.m. on weekends, so at this point midnight has been the latest and I took him and then went and picked him up. I agree with Cindy and I never thought I hear my parent’s voices echoing in my head, but “my house, my rules”. I lived at home for awhile in my early twenties and the only rule my Father had was to let him know where I was and if/when I would be home. So still in high school, as parents, I don’t think we are asking that much to be in before midnight. They have their whole adult lives to stay out late if they choose to. Good luck, I know you will make the right decision that works for your situation!

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  • Cindy Thomson | June 1st, 2012 4:56 pm

    “Oh puh-lease—if you think this is a negotiation you are mistaken. As long as you are under this roof you’ll have to follow our rules regardless of how old you are!” Haha just like a parent when you quote your own parents and always said you would not. Ok here is my deal…. He is only 17 and not 18 or out of school. I say 11:30 is plenty no matter how much of a great kid and responsible he is. If there is really something that he needs to attend later for some reason make sure you call the parents and then drive him there and pick him up. Remind him that driving and picking him up is not all that bad since he is getting to stay out a little later that night. You are a fantastic parent and fantastic parents set rules. It is the parents who do not care that let their kids run the town. My kids even after they were out of high school and still living at home still had to be in by 1 am because it was MY house. Good luck, I am sure you will make the right decision for your son and for your individual family

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 1st, 2012 9:29 pm

    Great response. I have called parents of both Drew and Ryan’s friends to confirm their presence in the house when hosting. I have learned (the hard way…not from my kids but rather my experience as a teacher and principal) that just because a parent is there…doesn’t mean they are chaperoning. My definition of supervision and another parent’s definition of supervision could be two VERY different things.

    Interestingly, every time I call (or go to the door when dropping them off) the other parent is not only receptive, but usually happy that I verified their presence.

    High school is so different now. I went to a local public school. All of my friends lived in my community and our families know one another. With the introduction of FB, Drew and Ryan are friends and socialize with kids from different schools and communities. I don’t always know the parents of their friends, which requires some extra effort on my part.

    Thanks so much for your vote of confidence! And thanks for reading!

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  • Julane Walker | June 2nd, 2012 2:19 pm

    While you are in school I believe midnight is plenty late enough. If you really think about it, what possibly occurs after midnight that a 17 or 18 year should be involved in. I agree that anything can happen to your child during daylight hours but most insurance companies will tell you that they are at the highest risk for an accident the later it gets during the night. You not only have the concern of drunk drivers but also the concern that your child will fall asleep behind the wheel. This parenting thing isn’t easy especially when a lot of other parents are more lenient. Good luck and pray hard. :)

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 3rd, 2012 8:58 am

    You touched on a major concern of mine with your point about falling asleep behind the wheel. Drew lost a school mate a few weeks ago in a tragic car accident. It is believed he fell asleep while driving, causing him to drift across the center line resulting in him slamming into a semi. I have shed many tears for his parents. I don’t even know them, but they are living my worst nightmare.

    I’ll keep praying. Sometimes, as a parent, it’s all we can do!

    Thanks for the comment!

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  • Kim B. | June 2nd, 2012 10:03 pm

    Sounds like your son is a GREAT kid! I have 4 boys, 21, 17, 11, & 7. With my older boys their curfew always depended on what they were doing & why they felt they needed to be out that late. In all honesty, you’d rather give them a little freedom now so that IF they do fail, you are here to pick them up & fix it. You don’t want them waiting till they’re off at college to “rebel” where you’re not around to pick up the pieces.

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 3rd, 2012 8:55 am

    Agreed! Thanks for the comment. You are a bit ahead of us in the child rearing thing so much, much appreciated!

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  • Monica | June 3rd, 2012 5:55 am

    Well, I am not a parent, but I can speak as a middle/high school teacher for the past 18 years….

    I second the idea to first see if there is a sports curfew policy. Many high schools do have “training policies”. Then back up and support what the coach says.

    There is a difference between school nights and weekend nights. As an educator who as seen kids fall asleep during lunch, I do suggest a strict school night curfew. Studies show that teenages do honestly need 8-10 hours of sleep (at minimum!). You can be a bit more easy with the weekend or holiday curfew.

    See if this compromise sounds good to Drew. Teenagers do understand and appreciate boundaires as long as there is a “reason” or compromise. They will appreciate being part of the decision process.

    When I was young (and what students have shared with me that works) is that there is a timed curfew, but if anything happens so that the child will be delayed in arriving home, the parents expect a phone call. No harm, no foul, as long as there is a call (even at 1:00am) and an reasonable explination of why they will be late. Be open to circumstances, but make it clear that you expect a phone call anytime, anywhere, reagardless of conditions. And demand names of who they will be with and where they plan to go/do. If conditions change, they need to call.

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 3rd, 2012 8:55 am

    Thanks for your comment. I think all of your suggestions are completely reasonable. Honestly, I can’t imagine not having a strict curfew on school nights. Unfortunately, from our experience, teenagers don’t seem to go to sleep much before 11:30 pm no matter what time they are home. Their biological clocks are definitely not conducive to early mornings.

    Drew seems to enforce curfews on himself depending on his situation. For instance, he had the SAT Saturday morning. He had himself home at 10:00, knowing that he had a big event the next morning. He doesn’t think about going out the night before a track meet or cross country race. We don’t have to interject with those issues.

    The curfew issue for us is simply about safety…and us worrying.

    Thanks again for reading and commenting. You have some great points!

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  • Dee | June 4th, 2012 1:10 pm

    Thankfully here in the state of PA ‘Junior Drivers’ (under 21) are not allowed to drive between the hours of 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or licensed adult over 21. Exceptions are made with a notarized document for work or volunteering at a charitable event. So, my 17 yr old son and all his friends have an automatic 11:00 PM curfew… simple!

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 4th, 2012 10:18 pm

    I think it would be fantastic if Ohio followed Pennsylvania’s rules. Car accidents are the number one cause of accidental deaths during the teen years. Seems to me, a law such as the one you described, makes sense!

    Thanks for your comment!

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  • Christina | June 4th, 2012 9:31 pm

    I came across your blog from msnbc.com, and wanted to give the perspective of someone a little younger. I am 24 now, but I was the first child with VERY strict parents. I feel like it was just yesterday I was in your son’s position, but now I do have very good perspective on the boundaries with teenagers and how the differences seem to turn out. In all honesty, the kids I knew in high school who did not go out late with their peers, were constantly home studying, etc, and didn’t have as active of a social life as the others, were the first ones to go NUTS at college. In contrast, the kids who had a little bit of a longer leash seemed to have “gotten it out of their systems” while still in high school. I was glad I was one of those who got it out of my system (albeit behind my parents backs) because by the time I was 21/22, I was just tired of partying and I was glad to have gone through that while I was still in the comfortable high school “bubble” with my parents around and peers around me that I knew and trusted. Basically, I was aware of the common dangers before I reached college (and knew what to look out for an avoid) while other kids were not.

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  • Carolyn Savage | June 4th, 2012 10:17 pm

    I so appreciate your comment. I’m a little bit further out of college than you, but also remember a few friends who literally lost their minds with their new found freedom. The topic of curfews and how much freedom to grant a teenager is actually fodder for a blog post for MSNBC. I’ve learned so much since posting this topic.

    Drew is a very, very easy child. I have confidence in him. That’s truly not the issue.

    I just worry out of my gourd about his safety. Especially when he’s driving.

    Interestingly, I think he’s a great driver. It’s the other people on the road so late at night that concern me. I hate to admit it, but I know many forty somethings that don’t give drinking and driving a second thought. Disturbing…I know.

    Stick around here. I could use some twenty something perspective here and there!

    THanks again!

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