A child's teenage years often bring exposure to drugs and other negative influences. To combat these vices, parents may institute a curfew. The average teenager may not appreciate having to be home by a certain time, but these restrictions are in place for numerous reasons. Curfews help instill discipline, teaching teenagers to follow orders and respect authority. In some states, curfews are mandatory by law to prevent delinquency. Above all other reasons, curfews aim to protect teenagers.
As they approach adulthood, teenagers go through different learning phases. They learn hygiene treatments for their rapidly changing bodies. Those who work learn about reporting to the workplace on time. Still, responsibility has seldom been a teenage stronghold. Curfews help teach responsibility by setting a schedule for when teens can be out and when they must return home. Teenagers learn both order and how to manage their after-school time, which will come in handy when they enter the real world.
Going home late at night can be dangerous -- especially for teens who may not know better. For instance, driving home around 2 a.m. is risky because many bars close around this time and there's a greater chance of encountering drivers under the influence of alcohol. Additionally, teenagers may want to attend a house party in a dangerous neighborhood. Curfews either can prevent them from going or, if they are allowed to go, serve as an excuse if the teens feel uncomfortable in the atmosphere and want to leave.
It's the Law
Many cities -- including Baltimore and San Jose, Calif. -- have enacted curfew laws for children under age 18. While the times may vary by city, these laws aim to decrease juvenile crimes and victimization. Often, the penalty for breaking curfew laws falls on the parents, who have to appear in court, pay a fine or even perform community service with their teens.
In addition to ensuring a teen's safety, parents enact curfews as a way of knowing when their child will be home. This way, parents know when they can go to sleep, or whether to keep a light on for the teens when they return. This also allows parents to feel secure knowing their teen is home.