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.
We Can Never Be Completely Prepared
Well, that sounds ominous! Let me explain. No matter how well we think we know our hometown, it’s always best to expect the unexpected. Familiar roadways can become distorted at night, preventing us from seeing things as clearly as we’re accustomed. Even if we can see them perfectly, however, there’s no accounting for the exponentially greater risk of encountering drunk drivers late at night. Teenagers naturally lack the lengthy driving experience of their elders; it’s all still a bit new to them. Getting out of the way of a potentially lethal situation like this one can be that much harder, and the possible repercussions of that inability to act don’t need to be gone into in-depth.
Along with drunk drivers, there’s the increased risk of being put into unexpectedly grim situations. The majority of armed robberies occur when it’s harder to see the robber coming; this makes sense, pragmatically, and it means your teenager is in greater danger of running into these shady sorts when they’re on their way home at midnight or later. Teens are viewed as easier targets due to their lack of life experience, and, often, because their bodies aren’t yet fully developed. They probably lack the raw strength they’ll gain in a few more years. This is an especially worrisome situation for young girls who can be easily overpowered. Again, the particulars here are not something I want to get into, but as a parent, I trust you can see where I’m going with this.
Keep them Away From their Own Inexperience
We’ve talked about the external, potentially unavoidable dangers that teens can face from unexpected sources. But there’s a lot to be said for more internal dangers brought on by their own inexperience. Late-night parties with zero parental supervision? All sorts of problems can arise, from drug dealing with alcohol to unresolved tension leading to a physical confrontation with no around to break up the fight.
When talking with your teen about these things, be sure to give them some benefit of the doubt, explaining that you acknowledge their strengths as an individual and you know their heart is in the right place — but all the same, it’s astoundingly easy to start making bad decisions in places like these. And once a teenager has begun down that path, it’s difficult to get out before something bad happens.
Beyond the typical party scene, there are further matters for consideration. Folks down on their luck asking for money might be tempted to accept entirely too much cash from a poor teenager with only a beginner’s level spending sense. Nevermind the unfortunate fact that many of these beggars are making a steady living off of the trade and your teen will be in an even harder situation trying to sort the genuinely needy from the rest of the crowd. Once again, it all boils down to inexperience.
The Bottom Line
Curfews are designed to protect children and teenagers from everything we’ve mentioned today. Staying safe at home at night gives teens a far higher chance of staying out of trouble, leading to a healthy young adulthood filled to bursting with opportunities for success that just doesn’t happen otherwise. Enrich your teenager’s appreciation for those someday-soon opportunities by spending time with them — time you’ll have a lot more of now that they’re stuck with you every night, anyway!