DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a question about bedtimes. My kids have always had a bedtime that is relatively early because I want to make sure that they get enough rest and are sharp the next day. Now that they are a little older -- eighth grade twins -- they are fighting me about staying up late. They want to go from a 9:30 p.m. bedtime to no curfew, especially on weekends. I am willing to budge a bit, but taking away the curfew entirely doesn’t seem to be a smart solution. What do you think? -- New Curfew
DEAR NEW CURFEW: Your children are at an age when they are beginning to learn independence. You can let up some and give them space to test their limits a bit. Decide on a time that will be lights out for the household for weeknights. Maybe that’s an hour later. Check on them once to see if they have settled, but stop being a monitor. If they struggle to get up or to focus on their work, remind them that they need enough rest. Pay attention to their studies and their grades. Even if they slip up a little, don’t get too strict immediately. Give them the chance to have some agency in their decision-making, which will allow them to notice what happens if they deprive themselves of the proper rest that they need to function.
On the weekends, consider allowing them no curfew for Friday and Saturday. Let them see how they manage their time. It is important for them to figure out how to listen to their own body clocks. This is a step in that direction.