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Curfews: Setting and sticking to them

Cities across the United States enact curfew ordinances to keep children off the street when they should be in school; and late at night when many are likely to commit crimes. If you’ve ever come home late at night, gone to get your mail from a clean mailbox, and then gotten up in the morning to find graffiti painted all over the box, you must’ve told yourself some wayward teens had committed this vicious act while your were asleep.

Setting and sticking to curfews can be a sticky process. But you must do it, if for no other reason, to protect your teen.

Parent rules on the subject should be established early in a child’s life. Your children should know from the time they can relate to the meaning of a curfew that you have your rules and you don’t judge your rules by their friends’ parents’ rules. However, if you know the parents of the friends your child wants to spend time with, compromising with the friend’s parents now and then regarding when your children will return home with the friends will help keep the peace and will show your child you are willing to work with him/her in under some circumstances.

Curfews shouldn’t be the same for every situation. For example a child attending a party from which you or another responsible person will provide the child transportation home could be set later than a curfew for a child to just hanging out at the mall as long as responsible adults are supervising the party.

Later curfews should be allowed during non-school days. However, find out what the rules for your place of residence. Some cities have curfews for teens under eighteen set at ten or eleven o’clock pm. Some cities even have curfews during the day time when school is in session.

Always know where your children are and who they are with. Get to know your child’s friends and their parents whenever possible. During school functions, Exchange names and phone numbers of any of your child’s friend’s parents.

Parents and other caregivers should not  feel guilty about setting and sticking to curfews. Every child needs a little tough love now and then.