As important as the curfew is for the kids, it is the parents who suffer without proper knowledge of curfew. There are many standard benefits that I am sure that you all will know but as well as some not-so-obvious benefits that might surprise a few readers! If you are looking for ways to explain the importance of curfew to the kiddos, then you are reading the wrong article as this is the reason why you, the parent, should care about curfew.
They say life is a series of growths. We’re always growing because we’re always learning. There’s probably no time in most people’s lives in which learning is a bigger part of their lives than adolescence. Teenagers are constantly being exposed to new information, and unlike when they were toddlers and children, they’re tasked with genuinely comprehending it and demonstrating that they’ve grasped the lesson. Curfew violation can be a learning lesson. Your teenager is likely rather glum over getting caught and there might be a great deal of bitterness and resentment involved as well. On the surface, it sounds like a hard thing to turn into a lesson on respect, but with the right tools for the trade, you can begin teaching as only a parent can.
Rules of Engagement
Rules, rules, rules. To most teenagers, it seems the world is built on rules. And really, they’re not wrong. “Too many rules,” you might hear them say. “What does curfew even matter? I wasn’t going to do anything wrong.” Maybe they weren’t, but the rule still stands, and so by disregarding it they already did something wrong. Of course, just telling them this and leaving it at that isn’t much of a learning experience. They’ll interpret it as unnecessary harshness and further desire freedom from the confines of cruel and unusual punishment. (Do I sound like a teenager yet? I think we’ve all heard this angsty rhetoric at one point in our lives, and we probably spoke it when we were 15, too.)
So how can we illustrate that these rules are put in place for a reason? By teaching our teenagers all the reasons they exist in the first place. Sit down with them over cookies and go over the reasons curfew exists. Explain its role in providing safety, and detail why we can never fully account for every bit of trouble we can run into when we’re out after-hours. Trust in your teen to put the pieces together and begin to respect the law.
Following the rules of society means being mature. A person simply cannot be deemed mature unless they express a willingness to follow the reasonable discourse of law. Have another talk with your teen, this time on the boons of maturity. It’s all about perception. People see us based on how we behave, and our behavior can get us into a lot of trouble. It can also grant us plenty of benefits. By adhering to curfew, others will respect a teenager for making smart choices. They’ll deem them intelligent and in good standing.
Maybe your teen will argue that “no one at school actually wants to be seen that way,” but hold your ground. Tell them that plenty of fellow students will respect them a great deal more this way, no matter how it may seem. The quieter kids are more likely to get ahead — more likely to commit themselves to getting into a good college and obtaining a degree and living fun and fruitful lives. Not because they’re quiet, but because they aren’t busy boasting about all the immature things they’ve been up to over the past few weeks.
The Hard Way
If all else fails, pull out the old “this is your brain on drugs” card, to borrow from an old 1980s ad campaign. You don’t necessarily need to turn the talk into one that’s literally about illicit substances, but you can get into the particulars of all sorts of things that come with a lack of teenage maturity by digging up pictures of folks who have made too many poor life decisions. Explain how it tends to track all the way back to adolescence and display a loving desire that your teen goes down a better path.
Today’s post might sound a bit obvious. Curfews keep teens out of trouble by their very nature; it’s a big part of why they exist in the first place. But there’s a difference between passively accepting this and getting your teenager to understand it. Part of growing up means learning why various rules are in place, and if you want your teenager to enjoy an easier time getting through whatever restrictions have been set up in light of their breaking of curfew, you should try to help them to understand why things are the way they are.
Since you’re reading up on the relevance of curfews and how best to monitor your adolescent’s understanding of the subject, you may have become curious on how and why curfews came about in the first place. Today’s post will be more of a broad educational lesson, designed to familiarize you with the etymology and implementation of curfews worldwide. It should provide a deeper grasp of its importance and give you a few teaching pointers for your teen. Or maybe it’ll just improve your odds at trivia night. That’s OK, too.
On the Word Itself
Curfew is serious business. It has always been serious business. Just how serious was the business of curfew at the inception of the word’s usage? Let’s take a look at its roots. The word stems from the French “couvre-feu”, which literally translates to “fire cover”. Well, that sounds dangerous! But wait — it gets better. The original meaning involves the famed-and-infamous William the Conqueror, who passed a rather clever law: every light and fire in every place he ruled needed to be covered up safely by the ringing of the eight o’clock bell in order to reduce the risk of destructive fires within timber-built towns. Hey, William was thinking ahead! He enacted a sort of medieval ordinance, one that was no doubt influenced by the horrific tragedies he’d witnessed in communities without strict guidelines. For all his violent accomplishments, it seems ol’ Willy saved his fair share of lives!
Curfew at Giza
Close to a thousand years have passed since William enacted his fire cover, and societies have been enacting curfews of all shapes and sizes ever since. In fact, the concept of requiring people to remain indoors after a certain time dates back from well before his time, all the way to Ancient Egypt and probably before them as well. Rulers have required strict itinerary from their citizens for a variety of reasons. The Pharaohs of Egypt worried that social classes might mix and destabilize their perceived order of things. While we can retroactively criticize such thinking, at the time it was a pillar of civilization that different people be kept isolated from one-another.
Roman Imperial Curfew
But for a more universally reasonable stance, let’s take a glance at the Roman Republic. In Rome, soldiers lined the streets in orderly patrols day and night, maintaining the senatorial peace wherever they went. Yet so many hundreds of thousands of Roman citizens flocked across the Republic (and later, Empire) on their way to so many places, and there were plenty of backwater regions without ample patrol. Fearing chaos, lawmakers passed rules and regulations for keeping folks safe by insisting that they remain inside late at night. Roaming bands of ruffians had their thirst for hard-earned coin stifled by good old-fashioned law and order.
The Industrial Curfew Revolution
As the centuries have passed, a multitude of new dangers have emerged, and governments have turned to enforcing time-sensitive scheduling plans to challenge these dangers. During the early days of the Industrial Revolution, overnight factory workers would produce so much smog in cities like London and New York that citizens were strongly encouraged to remain indoors until dawn. It’s not that there wasn’t a ton of smog during the daytime, too, and never mind the fact that the poor overnight workers were exposed to it all head-on, but there was just so much being manufactured in the evening when the streets were clear that choking hazards prompted curfew.
The Battle for Comprehending Curfew
We can’t forget curfew in times of war, either. When threats of military attack are underway, a country’s leaders will wisely insist that its population lock their doors and stay inside at night, when visibility is poor and the odds of assault are higher. In this way, and in every other way, it becomes obvious that curfew is an old and vital part of the world we live in. It’s never fun being told what we can and cannot do, especially for a teenager. But perhaps you’ll have a better time of it if you can help them to recognize why it’s a part of so many lives and how important it truly is.
There’s an old saying: “the carrot and the stick.” Its roots are a bit base, but the gist is teaching someone to abide by the rules shouldn’t be all about punishment or reward; there should be a healthy balance of both based on the failures and successes they’ll encounter along the way. This is especially true with regards to adolescents who have violated the curfew regulation. As you teach them to follow the rules they’ve been given, there are numerous ways you can congratulate them for taking important steps. One such tactic involves rewarding punctuality.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent of a child or teenager who has been cited for breaking curfew is to help teach them why curfews matter in the first place. Being as they’ve willfully decided to ignore the regulation in the past, it should be clear that they lack crucial awareness on the subject. Yes, it’s true that a spirited act of adolescent rebellion also plays a key factor, but that rebellious overtone can be mended (or at least, redirected!) if your teen has a better grasp of the fundamentals. Curfew is not only for keeping your child from mischief but also as a way of keeping them safe and protected. Read more about young kids getting into serious trouble.
Curfews Matter Because Safety Matters
Personal safety is the bottom line when it comes to curfew. Your teen may be involved in sports, martial arts, or bodybuilding and hence, they might think they’re impervious to the dangers of the nocturnal world. But even Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan hire bodyguards! Bring this up to them if they object to the idea. It’s probable that if you live in a smaller city or town, they’ll also mention that your family is in a totally safe place. With this, have a few links handy. Show them the area’s criminal history and be prepared to explain why this place is still your home, if and when they fire back.
If your teenager is at least 14, there’s a good chance he’s ready to hear about how and why the whole world can be unsafe and that we all need to take precautions. In which case, iron down the fact that wherever you live, curfew as a concept is necessary. Lastly, be sure to emphasize that your child’s safety is the “end-all, be-all” rationale here. You’re passionate about this, and perhaps more to-the-point, law enforcement officers are supportive because they want everyone to be safe and secure.
Curfews Matter Because Peacekeeping Matters
Here’s the other side of the coin: law enforcement can’t do its job well when there are roaming kids on every street corner. At night, folks with ill intentions — burglars, vandalizers, you know, bad guys — are more likely to be on the prowl. This is why it always seems like cops are everywhere in the middle of the night, as anyone who has ever worked a third-shift job can attest. Police officers need the roads to be as clear as possible so that they will have proper line-of-sights when the bad guys show up. Imagine if a pack of loud and merry teenagers turned a street corner in bustling Brooklyn at three o’clock in the morning – this would distort visibility for a dedicated officer who’s tracking a convict down that same alleyway. Cops can’t do their jobs under such conditions, which is another reason there’s a push to keep kids safe inside their homes at such hours, especially on weeknights.
Curfews Matter Because Responsibility Matters
Growing up is a rigorous process. Kids gradually learn about respect, dignity, and self-worth, and they’re rewarded for it. Increasingly, they’ll be granted responsibilities and the privileges that come with it. Trust factors into it all. The trust that a teenager is responsible enough to be allowed out into the world at the so-called “Hour of the Wolf” is a thing that comes with age and repeatedly-proven maturity. The temptations, distractions, and dangers of the city all come alive when the sun goes down, so it’s up to your teen to prove their wisdom time and again until they’re of age. It’s a rite-of-passage, and it’s part of growing up. Someday, they’ll get there, and you can encourage them by reminding them that adolescent curfew is a transient concept. Soon enough, they’ll be trusted to go out and grab that slice of pizza at who-knows-when A.M.