Punishment for Teens Out Past Curfew

By Kathryn Hatter
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As teenagers expand their horizons and vie for more independence, some difficulty with keeping and enforcing curfews often happens. Although a teenager may bristle about these limitations, curfews do serve several different important purposes. If your teenager stays out past curfew, the responsibility falls back to you to institute a reasonable consequence.

Curfew as House Rule

As much as some teenagers object to curfews, they are an important boundary to set for adolescents, advises the Aspen Education Group. By making curfew one of the house rules you enact for your teenager, you give your teenager a responsibility to adhere to the curfew. The curfew also helps keep your teenager safer because it keeps your teenager from staying out too late, missing sleep and potentially getting into trouble in an unsupervised situation. As you set the curfew as a house rule, institute a connected consequence with the rule that your teenager understands and will expect if he breaks curfew.

Discussing Infractions

If your teenager breaks curfew, discuss the infraction, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. Explain the situation to your teenager in a calm and respectful manner. Tell your teenager that you were concerned about her when she was late and that you’re glad she’s home. Remind your teenager that the freedom she enjoys with the stated curfew has responsibilities connected with it and that she indicates that she may not be able to handle her curfew if she doesn’t keep it.

Imposing Consequences

Impose the consequence you communicated to your teenager. A reasonable consequence might be an earlier curfew for the next few nights to “make up” the time your teenager was late. Another option might be to keep your teenager home for one night to make up for the broken curfew. Some parents might opt to institute a check-in procedure with a teenager who has broken curfew, insisting that the teenager call home periodically throughout an evening to stay in close contact with the parent. Whatever the consequence, institute it in a calm and rational tone. This creates consistency in your discipline and it teaches your child that you will do what you say you will do in a respectful manner, states the University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line.

Trying Again

Once your teenager fulfills the consequence, start over and allow your teenager to try again. As your child has success with keeping a curfew, he will learn a valuable lesson about both negative and positive behavior. When he chooses to follow rules, things go better for him. If he chooses to break rules, there will be consequences to face. With experience in both situations, it’s likely he will choose to follow rules, states the Iowa State University.

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