One of the most common subjects of parent-child relationship strain is the curfew. Aside from the curfew laws imposed by different states, parents establish their own time and rules for curfews at home.
While many teenagers rebel at what they would usually call ‘unfair limitation,’ lots of parents still overlook the causes of such violation and disregard it plainly as they would think that their child is just on the ‘rebellious stage.’
Possible Reasons Why Your Teen Violates Curfew
Teenage years are perhaps the period when a person is most curious about his/her surroundings. Together with their peers, teenagers tend to explore their environment as this is also the period when they are the most active. Because of this fact, parents make sure that they are still properly looked after and see to it that their children are expected to be home at this hour of the day.
Curfew violations don’t just stem from the fact that teenagers are influenced by their peers. There are a lot of underlying causes that parents should not just attribute to their children’s bad company and adverse social surroundings such as:
- Your teen may be having identity issues.
- Your teen may be having acceptance issues with the wrong peers. He or she may want to belong with the cool and popular kids in school, which, more often than not, maybe involved with illegal activities (such as shoplifting, smoking, drinking, and substance abuse).
- Your teen may be having family problems. There may be a lot of constant miscommunication and fights in the house which leads your teen to rebel and to violate parental authority. Dr. Marisa Alter, PsyD, a clinical psychologist says “If you find yourself avoiding parties, work gatherings, or even your own friends and family, there may be a fear of judgment or underlying feelings of inadequacy.”
What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is counseling that focuses on problems within and among the members of a family. Therapists help each member of the family to adjust and reduce the distress brought about by the issues at home. This type of counseling is mostly recommended to families with conflict and the families of the victims of substance abuse, mental illness, trauma, and domestic violence.
Family therapy has been proven to produce significant outcomes for many. Good family therapists will help your family build a deeper connection and develop better communication with each other thus, reducing conflicts and lessening chances of future misunderstanding. According to Lillian Harris LCPC-C, “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.”
How Can Family Therapy Help?
Varying degrees of punishment for your teen is not the best disciplining technique when it comes to their constant curfew violation. Giving them constant punishment may even lead to a higher disconnection and a deeper strain in your relationship.
One of the techniques that family therapists use is to have all family members inside the room. It is the most efficient way to deal with problems. Therapists may also ask each member to do a task such as letter-writing as a strategy to communicate their feelings without the intense emotional outburst. Counselors may also observe family interaction behind a one-way mirror to trace possible conflicts in communication.
“Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life,” says Chris Corbett, PsyD. Family therapists may also discuss each member’s role in the family. The family can assess about hierarchies and authorities in the house. When it comes to facing one member’s problems, counselors will address the issue not by blaming the victim but by giving lessons about, say, substance abuse to the whole family. This strategy can motivate each of the family members to do something to help the victim, other than giving punishment.
Teenagers continually violating curfews can be an indicator of greater family problems. Researchers and therapists believe that teenage rebellion is greatly influenced by relationships and communication factors at home. Thus, family therapy is one of the most efficient techniques not just for curfew violation but also for a healthier home as it is solution-based counseling as opposed to individual therapies.