It’s always a struggle for all parents to discipline their children. Now when you have teens instead of kids, the difficulty level just goes way up! Curfews help keep track of their day, so they’re home in time. But what do you do if they keep breaking it?
Teens are known not to take their parents seriously. Now, if you have imposed a curfew for their own benefit and they’re not following it after so many sermons, maybe it’s time to work on a new strategy.
Most teenagers are all about night time play because they never got to do that when they were younger. If as a kid, they had to sleep, play, and help out at home, now as teenagers, they get to experience life for what it is. Or do they?
According to Bella Stitt, LMFT “Because their brains are still being developed, they may behave in ways that seem impulsive, defiant, aggressive and irresponsible. Seeing the long-term consequences for their behaviors may not be so clear and they may find themselves unable to control their impulses, resulting in poor choices.” A curfew protects teenagers from exposure to late-night risks. They’re at the stage of their life where they crave absolute social freedom, but parents see it as a warning sign.
How Curfews Work
“You may have done everything right. You may have tried your best to instill the right values, morals, and faith. Your kid’s challenging but that doesn’t mean failure on your part,” says Allison Ricciardi, LMHC. It actually varies from parent to parent. Some are more strict while some are less worried. But here are some general ideas:
- Time Of Return
A curfew is all about knowing and agreeing on a particular time of return. If your parents want you home by 9 PM on a school day, then you must prevent arriving after that time. Or else, you just might be subject to even more rules. Most of the time, a teen has no say on his or her time of return, and it’s just up to the parent.
- Give The Info
You need to tell your parents where you’re headed to, who you’re with, how you’re going to go there, and what you’ll be doing. Basically, all the answers to every question your parents will think of. They need to know because they need to be able to trust you.
- Be Available
Once you’re out of the house, they must be able to reach you and contact you. It’s not going to be “fun” waiting for you to text back. It’ll just make them more anxious and maybe mad.
What Should You Do If Your Teen Breaks His Or Her Curfew?
It’s not exactly a new occurrence. Teens with curfews break curfew all the time. But you need to stand your ground and discipline them. As Linda Esposito, LCSW explains, “Once you redefine the meaning of discipline as a trait of being well-behaved and a tool to develop self-control, the concept becomes more neutral, and less personal.” What do you do?
- Talk To Them
Parents can better address some problems calmly. Allow your teen the benefit of the doubt and ask what made him or her go home so late. It’s important to get honest answers, but it also matters how you respond to them. Once you find out the reason for breaking the curfew, give them the consequence as you see fit.
- Adjust Curfew Time As Needed
Your child may find your curfew unfair if he or she can’t finish all the activities on time. What if they still need to attend soccer practice after school? You need to consider their extracurricular activities as well. Remember, you’re instilling responsibility in them, not confinement.
- Introduce Online Counseling
Sometimes, teens get more comfortable with strangers and not their parents. Let them express their feelings about the curfew, just to see if both of you are progressing forward. Acknowledge their negative emotions, and don’t fight hate with hate.
Why Online Counseling Is Important
Sure, you could go several ways if your teen breaks the curfew. But online counseling is essential. Why?
- Teens can express their honest feelings
- Aside from freedom of speech, they also get helpful feedback from therapists, which they wouldn’t acknowledge if it came from the parents
- It helps give them peace of mind
- Teens get empathy from the therapists
- Teens have someone to ‘push’ them forward during days when they feel so rebellious
Now that you know what to do if your child breaks the curfew, it’s time to look up some excellent online counseling!