Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dealing with Curfews

  This is the second installment of my five part series dealing with the 5C's : cooperation; curfews; cars; cash; and comrades.  I read an article years ago, and used tips from it with a lot of success.  I hope it gives you some ideas for your family.

When Matt was fourteen, we asked him if he would like be able to NOT have any curfew by the time he was eighteen.  Of course, he jumped at the chance.  It was simple.  We would start out with a curfew of 9pm.  If Matt did not break curfew in six months, we would extend it by 30 minutes, and he could stay out until 9:30.  If he broke his curfew, then we would take those 30 minutes back.  Each six months awarded him another thirty minutes.  It was easy because he wasn't driving, and we usually drove one way to movies and other events.  We only asked that if he could not get home by his curfew, he called and let us know before that time.   We knew before he left the house if a movie was getting out late, or Matt would get a ride home when the game ended.  Matt was learning to be considerate, and he was being rewarded for good behavior.
  By the time Matt was driving, we were comfortable that he knew the routine, and would follow the rules.  We told him that under no circumstances should he ever drive 100 miles and hour to get home on time.  All he had to do was call and let us know what was happening ( getting something to eat or driving kids home), and give us an idea as to when he would be home.  Obviously, we would know pretty quickly if he was ignoring the rules.  As a seventeen year old, Matt realized that at 18, he really wouldn't need a curfew as he would be in college.  I can tell you that he never stayed out all night unless he called, and most of the time he was home by 12:30.  By that time, he had been playing by the rules for so long, there was no reason to screw things up.  We trusted him, and he had earned this privilege by making good decisions for four years. 
   At the time, we did not realize that we were getting many benefits from this exercise.  I believe that kids like to feel empowered.  Matt was earning our trust, and he was not willing to give it back, by doing something  stupid.  We were getting a considerate teenager, who we could see making good decisions.  Once our son wanted to act responsibly, our job was so much easier. 
   This is my experience.  I'm not an expert, so take what you like and leave the rest......have a good week everyone....I'll tackle another one of the C's next time.....gotta run.....

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