In the event that their high schooler chooses a night out over watching Netflix in bed while binge eating lime Tostitos, the average parent would choose to give their kid a curfew. Some parents are passive about curfew, and are content as long as they see their son or daughter every 3-5 business days. Others are prison wardens, and spend their evenings watching the clock and even tracking their kids. Most, however, are somewhere in between.
Parents set rules on curfew with the intention of keeping their kids safe and out of trouble, it’s a sign of parental responsibility and caring. However, there is a flip side to having rules that are too rigid. Senior Saskia Vuijk said that “restricting their children to be home early when they don’t want to, will only make them rebel more, which can put them in even more danger”. Essentially, the mild frustration felt by the one friend who always has to go home first can actually fester into rebellious behaviour. Researcher at UCL Mai Stafford supported this notion saying that “psychological control can limit a child’s independence and leave them less able to regulate their own behaviour”.
“Parents need to allow their children to make those mistakes and learn from them”SASKIA V. SAS SENIOR
Saskia continued by saying that rather than parents trying hard to “keep them safe,” and “trying so hard to prevent their children from making mistakes,” they need to “allow their children to make those mistakes and learn from them”. Junior Mihika Iyer agreed but added that overly permissive parenting is not ideal either. She discussed about a time she came home very late and it seemed as though “nobody cared” because everyone had already gone to sleep. She said that “although no one should make their parents stay up, it’s important to know that they are there for you if you feel unsafe”.
“Although no one should make their parents stay up, it’s important to know that they are there for you if you feel unsafe“Mihika I. SAS JUNIOR
Some parents are sound asleep by ten, but others refuse to sleep without knowing their son or daughter is home safe. SAS Senior Jasmine Kwan says that “if you are in contact with your parents, like texting them, there’s no need for them to stay up. Staying up seems like the responsible thing to do for a parent but if an individual is old enough, then they can manage their own time of arrival”.
Naturally as age increases, as does curfew. Seniors are more likely to stay out out later than the wee freshpeople. I asked Senior Saskia Vuijk how age factors into curfew and she responded by saying: “with age comes responsibility so as they age, teenagers should start making their own decisions and have a later curfew”. While it varies from country to country, eighteen years old is the age of adulthood (and independence). But when living with one’s parents and still going to school, newly turned eighteen year olds sometimes face power struggles as their parents begin to relinquish control.
“Young people who are too tightly structured at home senior year are more likely to burst out and abuse their newfound freedom when they leave”Psychology today
Senior Tina Gupta thinks that eighteen year olds shouldn’t have a curfew because “you’re not going to have a curfew when you’re in college, so you might as well have freedom by the time you’re eighteen”. She added: “if someone demonstrates responsibility there is no reason why they should be denied certain freedoms like a later curfew”.
But with their child turning eighteen and being able to drink alcohol, enter nightclubs and other activities of this nature, some parents would be even more afraid of the dangers of these activities. One SAS parent said “Clubbing and partying is exciting for teens but these environments can turn unsafe very quickly”. But while acting upon this apprehension might protect young people while they are still at home, it could pose some dangers to them later on. According to psychologist Carl E Pickhardt, “young people who are too tightly structured at home senior year are more likely to burst out and abuse their newfound freedom when they leave”. These people might go “college crazy” once they leave home and up in dangerous situations during university but be too far from their family to get help from them.
“You’re not going to have a curfew when you’re in college, so you might as well have freedom by the time you’re eighteen“Tina G. SAS senior
There is no right answer to the question of curfew but all can agree upon the importance of having an open dialogue on the subject. Curfew is a battle of freedom versus safety and finding the right balance between the two is key. Yes, this issue might cause some turmoil within families but with mutual respect and openness both parties can reach an agreeable conclusion.