Do you stay up nights wondering when your teen will walk through the front door? If you haven't established a curfew, he might not come in until one, two, maybe even five in the morning. You lose sleep. You scream at your teen. Your work suffers. You're short with your spouse. You think, "There has to be a better way."
Setting a curfew is the best way to ensure that you and your teen both get a good night's sleep. Here are seven steps to creating a curfew:
1. Sit down and talk with your teen. Explain that you set rules for his safety. Tell him what factors you took into consideration before setting a curfew. You might have considered whether extending curfew would affect his schoolwork, job or safety.
2. Research local ordinances on curfews. More cities and counties are making curfews mandatory for minors. Let your child know what you find out.
3. Listen to your teen's ideas. Why does he believe the curfew should be changed? Does he want it changed permanently or for one night? Why should you allow him to stay out past curfew? Maybe his reasons are honorable. For example, maybe he is baby-sitting and the parents won't be home until after his curfew.
4. Work together to find a solution. Let your child pitch all his ideas. Avoid criticizing his ideas because it will kill the creativity. Keep building on the best ideas. For instance, if he wants to make more money to take Susan out, maybe he could get a part-time job or start his own lawn mowing business. Think of solutions in which you both win. If he starts his own lawn mowing business, he will make the money he needs and you don't have to pay for his dates.
5. Decide on a solution that both you and your teen agree upon. Your life will be a lot more peaceful if your teen doesn't disapprove of your decision. 6,Set down specific consequences. If curfew is missed, will there be a warning for the first offense? How long will the punishment last? Reserve the right to change the consequences if the current ones aren't effective.
6. Design an emergency plan. Encourage him to call home if he is going to be late. Let your child know that if he finds himself in a difficult situation, he can call you to pick him up--no questions asked. Provide him with enough money for emergency phone calls.
When you communicate instead of argue with your teen, you will be able to cultivate a relationship with him and set a curfew at the same time.