Teens are stuck in an awkward stage between childhood and adulthood where they struggle to be more independent, yet need the structure and discipline of their parents and community. Curfews are necessary to keep teens safe and help them learn to make responsible decisions. Some cities and counties have teen curfews, as well. The consequences of violating curfew should be known by the teen so he knows what will happen if he chooses to ignore his curfew, whether implemented by his parents or his city.
Determine Curfew Violation Consequences
Determining the consequences for your teen's violating curfew should not be left until the moment she comes home late. This will likely result in you becoming angry and disappointed, yelling at or lecturing your teen and implementing a punishment that might or might not fit the offense. Sit down with your teen before she violates curfew and come up with the consequences together. Considering her input on the proper punishment will make her feel like her thoughts and opinions are valued and will likely cause her to consider the consequences of breaking curfew more carefully. Your teen may surprise you and suggest a harsher consequence than the one you were thinking of.
Common consequences include not being able to go out for a predetermined amount of time, not being allowed to use the car for a predetermined amount of time or having an earlier curfew until she can be trusted to stay out later again.
Enforce Curfew Violation Consequences
Enforcing the consequences of your teen's breaking curfew is the only way to make him stop violating it. If he continues to come in late, it may be time to rethink the consequences. Even if he behaves well, you must enforce the consequences or he will not take them seriously. It's okay to make exceptions in special circumstances, such as prom night or in case of an emergency. However, don't let your teen make it a habit to call you 30 minutes before curfew to ask for an extension. Doing so sends a message that his curfew isn't really a big deal, as he can extend it anyway.
Create a Curfew Contract
Write out a contract with your teen so that you are both clear on what time her curfew is and what the consequences are if she comes home late. Be as specific as possible, listing any preconceived exceptions, such as school events or if she works late some nights. Compromising with her and allowing her to have input as to what time her curfew is and how to earn a later curfew might make her more apt to follow the rules. For example, extend her curfew by 30 minutes for every six months without violating curfew. However, her curfew can be earlier if she habitually violates the rules. Having a clear idea of how she can earn a later curfew and what the consequences of violating it are will cause her to make a conscious choice to stay out late or come home on time.
Legal Curfew Violation Consequences
Some cities and counties have teen curfews in place. It's important to be aware of any such curfews to avoid legal consequences, which could include citations, fines, probation or even time in a juvenile detention center for repeat offenders. Check with your local police department so you and your teen are not caught off-guard. For example, Las Vegas, Nevada's curfew forbids minors to be on the strip alone after 9:00 p.m., though minors can be out until 10:00 p.m. on school nights and midnight on weekends, holidays or school vacations.