Teen Curfew

My wife believes that our 17 year old daughter does not need a curfew. She got her drivers license in May and has since, in my opinion been running wild. She comes home whenever and at times doesn't come home at all. When I question this my wife tells me she's enjoying her summer, you don't understand anything about teenagers. My wife also says that while she would prefer that our daughter not drink, that we have to be realistic and accept that she is going to drink which I believe is totally unacceptable. If I check her Twitter page or look in her car I'm told that I'm stalking her life. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Sep 05, 2012
Imposing a Teen Curfew
by: Laura Ramirez

I think imposing a teen curfew is essential to the health and welfare of your teen, so I disagree with your wife. In addition to being an expert on child development, an award-winning parenting book author and speaker and workshop leader, I also have two teenage boys. My youngest is 16 and we just recently bought him a car, so he could get driving experience and have a taste of independence while still living at home.

My eldest who attends the local university also has a car. Our policy with regard to imposing a curfew has always been, "Nothing good ever happens after midnight." As such, while in high school, both boys are expected to be home by 11:30 pm. If for some reason they will be late, they always call or text and have managed to abide by these rules without complaint. Both boys are very social, have lots of friends and are athletes. We have not had a problem with drinking, but if I suspected my kids were drinking, we would nip that in the bud because there is just too much at stake. When I was in high school, I lost a dear friend in a teen drunk driving incident and know how quickly lives can change when a drunk driver is at the wheel.

Despite this rule, my husband and I have always given our boys the benefit of our trust. We do not poke around in their private lives unless we think something is up. As a result, they are very trustworthy because they don't have to sneak around. Although I'm sure there are things that we do not know and they do not share, we do trust them and value their privacy. We also count on our ability to pay attention to any tells.

Talk to your wife. Imposing a teen curfew is a good idea because it will ensure that your daughter is not wandering around when she should be at home in bed, it will keep her safe from teens who are allowed to stay out and drink at night and will make you feel secure that while she has some freedom, she also respects that you need to know that she is safe and will be home by a certain time. The decision-making center of the teenage brain is still developing which is why teens are often described as "accelerators without the brakes." Brain development is just one reason why it is still necessary to have some ground rules. Another big reason is that even though she may act like she dislikes it, she will know that you care enough to establish some limits.

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