Finding Freedom in Boundaries (and Curfews)
If you have a tween or teen, then you know how important having a curfew is. They say they don’t like it, but all adolescents need (and actually crave) boundaries. They may act like they are 20 when they are 12, but emotionally they are still 12 and it is a big scary world out there if no one has your back. Boundaries, like a curfew, reinforce how much you care!
So where to begin…
KNOW YOUR TEENAGER’S FRIENDS
More than likely, if your child is “going out”, he or she will be with friends. It is vital that you know your teenagers friends. Develop relationships with them. Greet your child’s friends with a greeting, hand shake, smile and a compliment as often as you can. Creating a bond with your child’s friends will ultimately draw you and your child closer and will reduce the chances of them rebelling against your authority.
KEEP OPEN COMMUNICATION
Not only is setting a reasonable curfew a great way for us to communicate with our children, setting a curfew is also a great opportunity for our children to communicate with us!
Allow your teenager to express their excitement about spending time with their friends. Then, allow them to be part of setting a reasonable curfew! Teens with parents who are able to set and reinforce reasonable curfews feel more loved and generally get in less trouble than kids with parents who don’t work together on the process of setting and controlling boundaries.
KEEP UP WITH CONSEQUENCES
If your child disregards curfew or is late, when they arrive home, say, “I was so worried. I’m so glad you are here”. Getting scared and reacting in anger won’t accomplish any healthy results… in this situation, it will be ineffective. Showing them that their lateness frightens us will have more power and impact than being angry.
Listen and be open to their reasoning before determining a consequence. Then, follow through with a consequence.
When discussing curfews with your teenager, make sure they have access to a phone, incase their plans get delayed, they have an accident or just available to keep an open line of communication through their time away.
Depending on the personality of your child, something else you may want to consider is make responsibility an agreement! Here is a printable “Curfew Contract” from Kid Pointz.
Nationally recognized certified organizer, speaker and author, Kathy Jenkins is dedicated to helping her clients simplify their lives by reducing clutter, organizing their homes and offices, and managing their time. She is the President of Come To Order, a professional residential organizing company based in Richmond, Virginia. For more tips, click here to follow Kathy on Facebook.