How many times have you been in an argument with your child about going home late? How many times have you grounded them as a consequence?
Curfew rules are long-standing sources of disagreements between parents and their children, most especially during their teenage years. Adolescents have high tendencies of rebellion, particularly towards rejecting adult authority. They see rules, curfew for instance, as an adult power play. They get this feeling that by being instructed to comply with curfew rules, their individuality is being neglected and their freedom, set aside.
Given this behavior of adolescents, how can the tough love of parents reap actual positive results? Here are tips on how to establish curfew rules that work:
- Talk About Curfews As Parents
Discussions on the pros and cons of curfews have to start with the parents first. Take time to sit down and share your thoughts with each other.
Curfews carry numerous benefits, primarily for your teen’s safety. By keeping watch over your teen during the wee hours of the night, there are higher chances that you will be able to protect them. Also, teaching your teen the value of going home on time develops in them responsibility, punctuality, and time management. Physically, going home earlier allows your teen more rest time, thereby increasing focus and productivity in school.
- Collaborate With Your Child
Once you have settled curfews with your spouse, it would be better to sit down with your teen in the form of a family meeting of some sort.
Engage your teen for them to understand that the goal of curfew rules is ultimately for their betterment. Set rules according to your child’s age and ability. You may even ask your child what they think about curfews and how they would feel about having to comply with it. Empower them by letting them know that you trust them. By making them feel involved, they are also being taught about the value of owning up to their decisions.
- Set Clear And Known Expectations
Curfew rules should be a two-sided agreement wherein there are expectations from both parties involved – you as parents and your teen.
You have to tell your kid about the specific times that they are expected to be home. However, it is vital that you take note of exceptions. For instance, there may be formal evening parties they have to attend or overnight trips to their friend’s house once in a while. Let them experience these things too – but in moderation. Take time to talk with your child regarding these adjustments so that expectations are maintained clear.
- Implement Rewards And Consequences
Most parents resort to “grounding” their children as an automatic response to non-compliance of curfew hours. But few parents see the reward side.
Apparently, rewards play a significant role in changing a child’s behavior more positively than punishments can. For example, for every five days your child goes home on time, he or she gets 3 hours of additional time out on weekends. If your teen misses out on the curfew for one whole week, then he or she will not have his or her phone over the weekend. Try out your rewards scheme but make sure you implement it. Don’t promise the rewards then break them, while being very diligent in implementing punishment.
- Monitor And Support Hands-on
Another important aspect that parents commonly miss out on is the power of continuous follow-through. Sometimes, rules simply get ignored because there’s no follow up.
Sometimes, there may have been changes in your child’s daily lifestyle and the old rules no longer fit. Feel free to reorganize and restructure your curfew rules as needed depending on your child’s progress. Keep yourself involved in the affairs of your teen. Create an environment wherein they can freely open up so you would know whether the curfew rules you have set are helping them.
Despite curfew hours being the spring of contention for the longest time, it doesn’t mean that you can’t start slowly making changes in your family. It all ends with your willingness to keep engaging your teen. Soon enough, your tough love will translate to a better upbringing for your beloved teenager.