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Disadvantages of Teen Curfews

by Shara JJ Cooper, studioD

For some families, curfews are a regular part of the teenage years. For others, curfews symbolize the act of taking away freedom. Curfews have their advantages and disadvantages and it's up to parent to determine what works best for each child. Teenagers who don't respond well to curfews may need an alternative that will encourage them to come home at a reasonable hour.

Lack of Communication

If a teen misses a curfew and wants to stay out, it's unlikely he'll call home and ask for an extension. He's already in trouble and doesn't want to miss out on fun with his friends. Instead, he'll stay out until he's ready to come home and face the consequences at that time. In the meantime, parents are left fretting about the safety of their teen.

Bargaining Chip

Curfews can be easily abused by a teenaged negotiator. If his curfew is 10 p.m., he will likely protest because the movie doesn't end until 11. He will try to negotiate different times each night or weekend until the curfew is virtually meaningless. Parents with a strong will to set black-and-white rules can overcome this, but some will find the "but I'll miss out" argument hard to resist.

Missing Out

A well-behaved teen that always follows the rules might miss out on something really special. This happens if teens are with a safe youth group, such as a church group, that wants to explore an evening activity. If the activity runs late, a dutiful teen will head home, especially if he doesn't have a way to contact his parents. However, a teen that is well-behaved and has conscientious friends could come home at a reasonable time, and everyone would be happy.

Too Much Structure

In a home that has too much structure, a curfew is just another way to control a teen. Teenagers need to learn how to govern themselves and use their freedom. They are on their way to adulthood, where they will have complete freedom. If they are always told when to come home, they might stay out all night or rebel completely when they are free of the curfew.

About the Author

Shara JJ Cooper graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2000, and has worked professionally ever since. She has a passion for community journalism, but likes to mix it up by writing for a variety of publications. Cooper is the owner/editor of the Boundary Sentinel, a web-based newspaper.