Although adolescents need limits and guidelines to keep them in check during the teen years, some rules push the process over the top. As you contemplate your teenager’s curfew, learn the negative aspects of this teen rule to educate yourself thoroughly. With a balanced and fair approach, you can keep your teenager safe while teaching independence.
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The standard premise of a curfew includes keeping teens healthy and safe from possible issues and activities that might occur late at night. While a teenager staying out late can cause issues, it’s important not to use a curfew as a general answer to these possible problems, cautions the Aspen Education Group. If a teenager wants to participate in a negative activity, she can do it just as easily earlier in the afternoon or evening as she can past curfew. If you rely on a curfew to keep a teen safe, you may learn a difficult lesson about teen limits.
Some parents choose to set curfew rules autocratically without input from the teenager. When handing down rules in this fashion, you rob your teenager of the opportunity to develop the important skill of negotiation, states David O. McKay with the Brigham Young University School of Education. By talking about a curfew rule between parents and teenager, the teenager gets a chance to learn real negotiation skills – listening and considering other people’s points of view as well as the ability to communicate thoughts and opinions effectively and respectfully.
A teenager handed a curfew without the opportunity to weigh in and give input may resort to rebellion, states Kimberly Kopko, extension associate with the Cornell University. Unexpressed anger about curfew may lead to destructive behavior and angry defiance, cautions the University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line. Instead of assisting a teenager to develop independence and responsibility, this parenting control ties a teenager up in a web of rebellion, which may even hinder maturity.
Many municipalities have instituted local ordinances that govern curfews for minors, according to Wyman E. Fischer and Donald L. Barnes, authors of “Tackling the Issues: Critical Thinking about Social Issues.” Families with teenagers living in these jurisdictions must ensure that minors abide by the curfew laws to avoid fines, even if personal philosophy about curfew contradicts the law. Some groups, such as the National Youth Rights Association, assert that curfew laws may be unconstitutional because a curfew should be a family decision, not a government decision.