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What Are Appropriate Curfews for Teenagers?

by Sara Ipatenco, studioD

Many teens rebel against curfews because they think they're old enough to make their own decisions. In most cases, that's not entirely true. Though your teen is growing up and becoming independent, she still needs you to enforce rules that ensure she's safe. There is no hard and fast rule dictating what your teen's curfew should be. Once you decide on an appropriate curfew, enforce it consistently.


A curfew is designed to ensure your teen is at home safely for the evening. This includes helping prevent teen delinquency and keeping teens out of trouble. Curfews are also meant to cut down on dangerous activities such as drinking and driving. Many parents also enforce a curfew to help their teen get enough sleep. Ultimately, curfews can also give your teen independence while still setting reasonable boundaries.

Appropriate Curfews

Sit down and discuss an appropriate curfew with your teen. If she has a role in setting her curfew, she is more likely to stick to it. Younger teens from 12 to 13 years old should be home between 7 and 8 p.m. on school nights, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. A curfew of 8 or 9 p.m. is appropriate for teens between the ages of 14 and 16. Teens who can drive should be home between 10 and 11 p.m. on school nights. On weekends, it's appropriate to allow your teen to stay out 2 hours later than their weekday curfew, the AAP suggests.


There might be times you consider extending curfew so your teen is able to participate in certain activities. For example, you might let your teen stay out late to attend prom. In other cases, your teen might need an earlier curfew. If your teen breaks his curfew or otherwise abuses his privileges, you might discipline him by requiring him to be home early for a week or two. In other words, your curfew should be flexible according to your teen's needs.


Once you decide on an appropriate curfew for your teen, enforce it consistently. If your teen knows you're not going to budge on curfew, he's more likely to accept it and adhere to it. Remind your teen as he leaves for the evening what time you're expecting him home. You might give your teen a few minutes of wiggle room so he's not rushing home unsafely. Let your teen know the consequences for missing his curfew. Knowing that he'll be grounded or won't have certain privileges are strong motivators to get home on time. Check in on your teen periodically to make sure he's safe.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

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