Dear Ilana and Jess: I’m worried about my teenagers staying out too late. I want to set a curfew, but don’t know how to make it stick. Any suggestions? - Blake
Dear Blake: Curfews are a parenting classic, but they look a little different these days. First, make sure that you’re setting curfew for a reasonable time. Consider not only the teens’ age, but the location and types of activities they’re attending. If you’re comfortable doing so, you might want to adjust the curfew for events that end late, like concerts and school dances. The more manageable the curfew, the easier it will be to comply.
If your teens are old enough to drive, it’s important to keep in mind that some states have curfew laws for provisional drivers. You don’t need your kids to agree with the rules about curfew, but letting them know that their licenses are at stake can encourage cooperation.
Prepare your kids to make the curfew. Don’t just tell them what time they need to be home: review the plan for getting there. It’s important to account for things like traffic and commute. Before your kids head out, ask them: “How long is the event? How far is it from home? What time are you heading out?” Make sure that you agree to concrete terms. If you aren’t clear about the expectations, it can seem like an invitation to bend the rules.
Have a communication plan. Create a family group chat that your kids can use to check in. Proof of Life, or POL communication as we call it, is not just for kids. Now is a great time to have a conversation with your teens about adult responsibilities and what it means to keep your obligations to your family. No matter how old we get, there will be people who care about us. It’s always a good idea to let loved ones know you’re safe.
If your teens are not respecting the rules, it’s time to implement a contingency. If they have access to a car, make use of it contingent on compliance with the curfew. The same goes for cellphones. Make it a rule that the kids have to keep Find My Friends (or any similar app) on in order to continue going out late.
Say This: “Before you go out tonight, I want to make sure there’s a plan. Please put the location into Maps, so we can figure out how long it’ll take you to get there and home. Then, we’ll decide when you’ll leave.”
Not That: “Be home by eleven or you’re grounded.”
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
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