Should parents set curfews for their children?

Not only do we have the right to do so, but the responsibility. When teenagers are running the streets at all hours of the night, that is trouble waiting to happen. Have you noticed that most crimes against teenagers happen in the wee hours?

I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing good ever happens after midnight. Anyone out looking for fun, action or whatever after midnight is probably going to find more than he bargained for. For instance, I’ve read that as many as one of seven drivers at that time of night has had too much to drink. You don’t want your teens out on the road with such drivers. And unfortunately, it may be your teens making that statistic true.

It’s also true that it takes most guys until at least 10 to build the courage to kiss a girl – and the later it gets, the bolder he becomes. The shows are over, businesses are closing down, and there’s not much to do that doesn’t lead to trouble. Predators love the lateness and the darkness.

In our nation’s capital, this problem became so bad this summer they set a curfew for all teens in the city. If parents won’t police their own kids, this is what happens. I’m not sure that’s such a bad idea. Like I said, most kids out all night are either making trouble are finding it for themselves.

The flip side is this is a step closer to a police state. It’s another freedom taken away. But we no longer have the freedom of choice when it comes to wearing a seatbelt, and we all got over it, realizing it may save our necks some day. Washington, D.C. may be accomplishing the same thing.

When I was a teenager, my folks set curfews for my brother and me. The rule was, if we were going to be later than curfew, we had to call home to explain why. That’s fair, but those days, phones were not always easy to come by. Today, most teens have a cell phone and can call home frequently – if they will. That’s one of the few things I’m happy about when it comes to cell phones.

Oh sure, there are legitimate reasons for young people to be out late. They may have been to an out-of-town football game, or church event, or late showing of a movie. Some teens have to work late. I understand that, but these should be the exceptions and not the rule. I worked from seven to midnight at the radio station when I was a teenager, but only in the summer and I had to go straight home afterward.

Here then, is a curfew strategy that I plan to implement in my own home. Children and pre-teens never need to be out unsupervised. Period. Then, beginning in junior high, they have to be home at the time that corresponds to their grade. Eighth-graders must be home at eight, ninth-graders at nine, etc. That sets the limit at midnight for seniors. And the curfew is for weekends only. On school nights, all teens need to be in the house and in bed in time to get a good night’s sleep.

And if I may, let me make a comment about Saturday night that I’ve wanted to write for a long time. If your teens are out ‘till all hours Saturday night, how do you expect them to get up and go to church on Sunday? That may not be important to you, but it is to me. There, I said it and I feel better.



Craig Harris writes a weekly column for the Palestine Herald Press in East Texas. You can contact him at www.apparentlyso.net.

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