Setting Teen Curfews

Do you have some guidelines for curfews for 13-year-olds?

--letiziakk
Question:

Curfews have become a hot potato all around the country! Did you know that during the 1990s one-fourth of the nation's largest 200 cities imposed curfews? This raised much debate. Whose job is it to decide what time a preteen should be home or in bed: the city's, the parent's or the young adolescents' themselves?

According to a survey of 13-to-17-year-olds, 71 percent live in a household with curfews. (The big surprise in this poll of 1,000 teens was that three-quarters of the teens agreed with the rules.)

When it comes to curfews keep these points in mind:

*Teens do want limits. Boundaries are reassuring because it says you care.

*Teens are loathe to admit all this. Do not expect your young adolescent to utter hooray when you say what time to be home.

*Curfews for 13-year-olds or any age should be calculated on several issues. How much sleep does your child need? What are the average curfews for his or her friends? Are these reasonable in your view?

*Let your teen know that abiding by a curfew shows responsibility and maturity. The more of this you see, the more lenient you become in the future. (Parents in our survey for The Roller-Coaster Years said that maturity was the barometer for doling out more freedom and privileges.)

*Finally, do not be sexist. Give girls fair curfews too. Sometimes we allow boys more leeway, thus sending a message to girls that they are less competent and trustworthy.

-- Margaret Sagarese, coauthor of The Roller-Coaster Years and Parenting 911

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