Having a curfew, for many teenagers, seems unfair, not fun or just generally unnecessary. There are pros and cons to setting a specific time the teenager must be home; however, many times, the pros far outweigh the cons. If you have a teenager living in the house, consider the benefits of setting a curfew before you dismiss the idea as impossible to set into place or too old-fashioned.
Structure for Teenager's Life
Giving a curfew to a teenager has more benefits than just the fact that he will be in at a certain time. Setting an hour by which he must be home gives him a sense of structure, predictability and security that will last the rest of his life. While his friends may be allowed to do whatever they want and stay out all night, your child will have a sense of responsibility that he must return home before it gets too late. This will set him up to feel safe and will give him a sense of boundaries in his life.
Parents Feel at Ease
As a parent, you will feel at ease knowing your teenager is going to be home at a certain hour. Furthermore, if she is not home at this hour you will have a sense that something is not right. With everything dangerous that goes on during the later hours of the night, it makes sense for a parent to be aware that her child is in the house and safe. You can even allow your son to bring friends over past curfew, as long as they are all staying in the house.
Having a curfew is generally safer for several reasons. First of all, if your child drives, being out later puts him at risk of encountering drunk drivers or anyone who is driving carelessly on the road. Second, hanging out during the later hours makes it easier for your teenager to make decisions he will later regret, such as the decision to drink or to try drugs. It is much easier to give in to pressure when it is late at night and the decision-making processes of the mind are not as sharp as they are during the day.
Predictability for Parents
Parents will be able to count on their child being in at a certain time, which brings predictability and structure to their own lives. This helps them to raise their child a certain way, with boundaries and structure, and assists them in parenting the way they want to parent. Feeling as a parent that boundaries are in place and values are reinforced makes the process of raising a teenager more simple and more constructive for both parties.
Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.