When I was a kid the coveted curfew was 1:00 A.M. Most kids had to be home by midnight. But, once in a while, you’d have the friend who didn’t have to be home until one in the morning. THAT was the lucky kid!
You just felt like those parents “got it”. They understood the need to “hang out”, even though everything was closed and shut down for the night. Those parents weren’t trying to control their teen, they weren’t trying to ruin all their fun. They understood that it was tough trying to stay included in the “in crowd” and not look like a baby to your friends. They just seemed to be the cool parents. And I didn’t have them!
My parent’s mantra was, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” They probably should have said 10 P.M. LOL!
Well, a lot of time has passed since those days and wisdom and maturity have set in. Thank goodness.
When my son hit the teen years, I knew I had to figure out how to fix the curfew conundrum. So, I went where I could get the wisest answer on the subject. The Bible. Here’s what I found.
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child (Prov 22:15). Fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov 1:7). And the companion of fools will suffer harm (Prov 13:20). So, to put it simply: Foolish kids + hating wisdom & instruction = HARM!
This is definitely NOT what I wanted for my kid! What parent knowingly wants that? None that I can think of. I wanted my boy to have fun memories with his friends and do silly things (without suffering harm). So, I prayed.
The answer was really quite simple.
I had already laid the groundwork with great communication with Chase (which is key to any success with your kiddos). We had already sown much of the Word in him and watered it frequently. Now, it was time for it to take root. This is where I leaned on God. A LOT!
Instead of giving Chase a curfew and allowing him free roam to do whatever the “fools” suggested, our permission looked a little more like this: We always had to know where he was, who he was with, what adults were or were not around and what activity was going on.
Whenever he was going to leave one place to go to another, he had to call or text (and today cell phones with tracking devices are a Godsend!). We insisted on knowing who was in the car with him and what TV show or movie they were watching. And, if we didn’t agree with a time, place or people he was with, he had to make a different choice. Mom and dad were still the boss.
He never felt infringed upon or deprived. He felt empowered to make choices, be mature and lead the group. Often HE would change the plan on them. He typically had the car and didn’t have a curfew. He WAS the cool kid with the cool parents. The other kids didn’t know he was texting me their every move. BRILLIANT!
GOD was brilliant in this! He saw what I didn’t see. He knew that there was a way for Chase to be true to his convictions without looking like an outcast to his friends. Like most of our kids, deep down in their hearts they don’t want to misbehave or make wrong choices, but peer pressure is rough. Give them a way out.
Our younger two are teens now. This has been the best system for us. We had a situation where one of our daughters was in a compromising position with friends and adults. It was because of this method that I was able to stay connected with her through the entire ordeal. It was a great teachable moment. I was able to coach her through the situation as it was happening.
When other parents ask about our kids’ curfews, we tell them, “They don’t have a curfew.” It baffles some, but it works.
On a side note, if you are dealing with a child who isn’t being honest with you, you have a whole different issue to deal with before implementing the no curfew method.
This is such a great topic to discuss as parents. We’d love to hear your comments or questions.