Question: What was your dating kids' curfew and what happened if they broke it? Also, did you wait up for them when they were out or how did you know when they came home?
Cynthia (and Brad)
I always remember the General Conference talk about the father who had a rebellious daughter. She asked him when he thought she would be old enough that she would not need a curfew. His reply: "When I can tell that you do not resent a curfew, I will know that you don't need one." That's basically how we treated curfew at our house. And I can't remember having to set a curfew more than just a few times. And yes, I did stay up until all my kids were home, and I checked in with them before they went to bed to use my intuition as to how things had gone. Mother's intuition is a marvelous thing.
Kenneth and Catherine
We expected them before midnight when they were sixteen or over and had them wake us when they got home if we were not awake. Under sixteen the curfew was 10 p.m.
Karen and Lance
We did have a curfew of 12:00 AM. If it was Saturday night, and it was a daughter, she must be home in time for her date to get home by 12:00 PM. If it was a school night we expected them home earlier, 10:00 PM or so. They never broke it except if there was an emergency of running out of gas, flat tire whatever. We began to trust them more and more as they obeyed the "rules" we had. Sure makes it a lot easier and less hassle with arguments. Since there was a trust we didn't have to wait for them to get home, but if they were not home it seemed like we awakened at the curfew time, and then the worry began. We didn't have cell phones so they had to look for a phone at the service station or wherever there may be a phone they could use. If they ran out of change they had to find another way, as they had to pay for the call, or else we just waited and wondered. Seems like that only happened, maybe, about 5 times. We were lucky. Our children were involved in sports and cheer and also early morning Seminary, so that kept them needing sleep.
Marsha (and Richard)
We expected our children to be in by midnight. I was having babies at the same time as I had teenagers so I went to bed. They came into our bedroom and let us know that they were home. I wish that I had then gotten up with them to hear the details of the evening but I didn’t. I left that until morning. I feel I missed out in a lot of the sharing that would have been of value. Since our family members were basically morning people and not night people I believe they also were ready to head to bed.
If there was a special date like Prom or Graduation we adjusted to the needs and let the teens make decisions about an appropriate time to be in.
When a teen could see that he could not be home until after midnight he would call to let us know so we would not worry. That was just a courtesy and we were willing to extend the deadline as needed. We believed in trusting our children and expecting the best and, gratefully, they didn’t disappoint to our knowledge. They knew the principles and governed themselves within reasonable bounds.
We feel fortunate that our children were respectful in this matter.
If we had experienced obvious challenges we would have needed to be more vigilant. Once we heard the statement, “The more controls they have within, the less they need without. The less controls they have within, the more they need without.” We were blessed with children who wanted to do the right thing and had a strong enough sense of self worth to make good decisions. I truly do not know what we would have done if it had been otherwise. I’m sure they did not always make good decisions but they made them for themselves.
One issue was how to handle children who had been away to college and returned for a vacation or summer break. Once they had been away we figured they were in charge of their own lives. At school they were used to keeping whatever hours they chose. It did not seem appropriate to declare curfews. Out of courtesy to those with whom they were living, we expected them to keep us informed about their plans, where they were going, when they would be home, etc. This made it easier for us to receive phone calls for them and helped us to know what to expect.
By this time we felt our children were ready to handle their own lives according to the principles we had taught. We feel like the more we expected good things from our children, the better able they were to perform, contribute and become.
Danielle and Jake
Our children had curfews. Our 24 year old daughter lived with us this summer, post mission, and we settled on 11:00 for week nights and 1Am for Weekends. We did not wait up for her. However, we expected her to wake us when she arrived home. She fought hard against this but we did it for our peace of mind. It did not work very well, She found herself "kicking aginst the pricks" and it was a very difficult summer that did not end all that well for her. She is back at College and we are doing better with her out of the home. Go figure.
When our children were in High School, we waited up for them and expected communication from them if they were going to be even a little late. This was the "pre Cell Phone" era so it presented challenges to them if they wanted to call us. Yet, it worked well. We had children who, for the most part, realized the value of keeping mom and dad happy. We never had to bring down the law for breaking curfew.
Rachel (and Bennett)
This one was a hard one! I grew up with a 12:00 midnight curfew. It seemed like a logical curfew for me, and I tried to impose the same on my children. My first children were fairly obedient, but as we got to the younger ones, they began to resist. One problem was if they were working and didn't get off work until 10:00 they wanted to stay out later. So I had to relent, but was never very happy about it. We agreed on a 1:00 curfew. With dances, it was always later than that, which I also reluctantly agreed to. I finally decided that as long as I knew where they were, and whom they were with, I could be a little more lenient on the curfew time. I ALWAYS waited up for them, and visited with them when they came home. There were many late nights! A few times I grounded a child for not coming home when expected. Most of the time we negotiated a curfew they and I felt was workable. I insisted on knowing where they were, and if they were going to be late, they needed to call me. Sometimes I called them. It became even more difficult when I had college age children at home. They wanted more freedom, and I eventually had to give it to them, letting natural consequences control the situation. If they stayed out too late, they would be too tired in the morning to get up when they needed to, for work or school. I still have a young adult living at home, and she is always tired -- never getting enough sleep. For a while she lived away from home, and they don't want to live by Mom's rules when they come back! I found I had to negotiate and give them their freedom, and let them be in control of their own lives. This whole issue may be a lot easier today now that most children have cell phones. My main concern for my children when they were out late, was for their safety. Today I would insist on phone calls and reporting in at whatever time is agreed upon. Since the kids are not ever very far away from their phones, you can call them, with the understanding that they have to answer your call, or text.
Next week's question: Do you consider yourself financially self-reliant (owning assets with little debt, sustainable income through retirement)? If so, what are the most important things you did to get there?