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Teenagers are getting ready for independent adult living. They have a strong drive to explore the world and gain greater control over their time and actions, they yearn for greater freedom. A much sought after freedom at this point in a young person’s life is the freedom to stay out late with their friends. Parents however remain loving and protective about their child must be home by. Due to their concern parents want to know about where their child is going and who they’re with. Being not able to keep to the curfew, children should understand that parents feel insulted or hurt not to mention stressed about their child. It is important to find the middle ground between the child’s development need and the need of their parents. The curfew issue must be negotiated in some sort of a win-win way. If curfews are an issue in your house, consider the following tips.

asim jalalA Good negotiator listens well:

Invite your child to express his or her needs or wishes around a curfew, let the child talk openly. Go slow, repeat and summarize what you hear, don’t rush to correct, repeat or reply. It is important to listen well, naming the feeling that is being expresses. Your goal is to understand your child’s needs and respond to them as best you can. It’s important to be flexible and to give your child a chance to prove that he or she can be responsible. Your flexibility and the child’s responsibility are a great team when it comes to curfews!

Respect the normal need for increasing independence

Expect in unusual circumstances, it is best to allow the curfew itself to do the work. Don’t call your child when he or she is out. That behavior directly contradicts the child’s need for increasing independence. Don’t ask the child to check in with you either. Assume that the child can take care of him or herself when out for the evening. Just like you don’t have to report to anyone every half hour just to show that you’re still alive! Unusual circumstances that might justify breaking this rule might be that your child is taking a long road trip and you want to know if he arrived safely at his destination, or your child is going to a place where there is likely to be some unsavory people and you have legitimate safety concerns. Obviously so need to hear from your child during his or her time away from your home should be an expectation to the usual rule of “See you later”.

Experiment and adjust

Try making tentative curfews. “We can try this curfew for a month to see how it goes.” If the child is responsible coming home on time without trying to renegotiate the curfew each time then that curfew can become more permanent or it might be extended by 15 minutes to see how that works. As the child proves him or herself again and again, you can continue to move the curfew to the maximum point that you feel is healthy and safe for that youngster.

Stick With Your Agreements

Although your child can have an “emergency” once in a while, regular weekly adjustments to the curfew should not be occurring. If the curfew is midnight for example, last moment calls at home to “please extend it till 12:30” need to be discouraged by your negative response. A curfew that turns out to be impractical can be renegotiated once the child is home. Sit down and talk about the challenges of the current curfew and readjust as necessary. Do not readjust every time your child is out. However do try to be flexible when there are special occasions graduation parties, New Year’s Eve and other special occasions may require a temporary extension of an otherwise static curfew.

If Necessary, Use Discipline

Once you and your child have agreed on a responsible curfew, expect it to honored. The first time there is a problem (arriving any time later 10 minutes past the curfew); Tell the child the curfew must be honored. The second time lateness occurs, issue a warning that further breaches of the curfew will always result in a punishment (name the specific punishment you have in mind-i.e. losing driving privileges for the week, losing cell phone for the day and so on). Apply consequences for every further breach, but also sit down with your child and discuss the problem-why is curfew hard to follow? What would work better? Work together as a team- don’t make it a game or worse a battle. In a positive relationship, it should be easy and pleasant to establish an appropriate curfew. If it is simply too difficult, then consider some professional help – a family counselor or a psychologist can often help solve the problem quicker.

For Children to stick with their commitments and follow through with their deadlines they can use tools such as a cell phone or watch to keep track of time, which can alert you an hour or 30 minutes before you reach your curfew time. This can provide ample time to reach back before the desire set curfew. When near you curfew time call your parents and inform them about where you are and to why you would be 5 to 10 minutes late after your curfew. The honest truth will not get you in trouble but would actually build or strengthen your credibility. It is ideal that when you go out with friends, you tend to stay close to home this way it is easier to get back in time. Always pick up phone when your parents try to call you and inquire. Not doing so gets parents worried and make something a big deal than it actually is and not doing so will greatly affect your relationship with your parents and make them think in terms of you doing something forbidden or wrong.

Always start heading home at least an hour to 30 minutes from where you are, this will save your time from delays like traffic and get you home before your set curfew time. Informing and asking permission is greatly important before you go out even through there is ample time left for your curfew; this strengthens your relationship with your parents and show that you are taking responsibility, which can greatly affects your future image. Reaching home in time of your curfew always inform your parents that you are back and if you are less than 15-30 minutes late approach your parents, explain to them with which friends you were with what you were doing that got you side tracked so they have an idea and admit to your mistake if you haven’t called and informed them that you will be late, stay calm and do not lose your cool; Honesty is the key. If all else fails smile, a smile after you explain yourself can make a world of a difference and can help get you out of difficult issues.

Certain tips you should always follow when you go out. Always have a cell phone with you, cell phones are a modern way to cut down on your parents stress if they are able to reach you are out of credit to call , call from a friends cell phone and inform your parents that you can be reached at that number. Always put a reminder on your cell phone at least 30 minutes before your curfew so you get going back home.

Certain factors to consider that will definitely get you in trouble. Don’t be late, if you are late for more than 1 hour you are bound to get in trouble. Do not yell at your parents assume responsibility and be mature and respectful to admit to your mistake. Parents are concerned about your safety and when you can’t keep your commitments they are naturally worried and stressful. Thus always inform and do what you say, doing so will show that you are taking responsibility for your actions and mature enough to be trusted in the future.

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