There are curfew laws in every state, and vary from state to state. These laws are often referred to as “parental responsibility laws”. That’s right, if your child or teen is out after a given hour (without a parent) they are breaking the law, but a parent can be held responsible. Some states include school hours within their curfew laws making truancy a fineable and punishable offense. States set these curfew laws as a guideline; but, just because your state may say it is ok for a child or teen of a specific age be out until a specific time does not mean that it is in his/her best interest, or in agreement with what your family deems appropriate.
Curfews have been found to be one of the leading successes in preventing crime. Requiring a teenager to be home at a reasonable hour not only prevents them from getting in trouble with the law but also protects them from becoming a victim of violent crime. For instance, only three years after San Antonio, Texas enacted a curfew, victimization of youth decreased by about 84%. And because of curfew laws, if your teen is seen out after curfew they are more likely to be stopped by law enforcement and be subject to a ticket, fines, or even detention (if stopped repeatedly, or participating in any illegal activity).
By giving children and teens curfews, or specific time constraints, teaches them responsibility. It also prepares them for when they are able to get a job and are expected to be there at a specific time and for a given amount of time. By setting up and following through with consequences when the teen is late you are also preparing them for adulthood and the natural consequences that happen when adults are late or irresponsible.
Having a Parent Contract that addresses curfew and where a teen is expected to be at a specific time can take away the potential of continual arguing about it every time he/she wants to go out. Naturally, for most families the curfew may vary depending on whether it is a school night or a weekend. The curfew portion of Parent Contracts is broken down into school nights and non-school nights allowing you the ability to compromise or be more flexible on non-school nights. Should there be other specific situations or reasons the teen will be allowed to stay out past the agreed upon curfew then this should also be addressed in the parent contract ie. School dances, work schedule, church functions, and special occasions.
Get Parent Contracts today to assist you with making curfew expectations, rules, and consequences clear and concise.