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Why Teens Need Curfews

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

While talking to a mother of a teenage patient recently, the discussion heated up when we talked about curfews.  I remember growing up with the TV news coming on and saying, “it is 11 o’clock, do you know where your child is?” At the time I just hated that as it reminded my parents (who always watched the news) to come downstairs to make sure that I was home.

Maybe they would have remembered on their own, but I was convinced that it was the news that kept my parents checking on me. At any rate, the point of this is that I had a curfew and that they checked on me, enforced the curfew and there were consequences for not following the rules.

So, the mother today was telling me that her son had a curfew (good for her and an appropriate time too) but that he had broken the curfew twice and he was now upset that she had followed through by having him come home earlier and had taken the car away for a week.

Her son was angry that she “didn’t trust him” anymore, and she explained that she had trusted him, by giving him a car to drive and a time to come home, but that he had broken the trust by not following the curfew. She then explained that he had to re-earn her trust, and he is just baffled by that. She is doing a great job of setting limits and boundaries, but we talked about how hard it is to follow through and not just give in.

On the other hand, I also see a lot of parents of teens that do not have curfews for their kids, driving contracts for new drivers, and those who turn their heads when their teens are not making good choices.

It is a hard job, but teens need limits, boundaries and consequences, just like when they were toddlers. If you have a teen keep up the good work and remember, it is 11:00 0′clock, do you know where your child is?

Do you have a curfew for your teen? Share your comments & feedback.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

Send your question or comment to Dr. Sue!

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