Note to self: I am not always right.
All parents of teenagers have heard a version of this exclamation: "Everyone else is allowed to stay out until 11!"
When my husband and I first heard these words from our 16-year-old daughter, we thought she was just frustrated with us. But, after hearing the same statement for a few weekends in a row, in an effort to SEEM fair, I volunteered to take a survey of the parents of "everyone else" to check on the general curfew.
So, I turned to Facebook. I wrote to a number of friends who have kids my daughter's age as well as several parents who produced well-mannered young adults. The question? What is a fair curfew for a 16-year-old who is a good kid and has nice friends?
Well, as it turned out, our daughter was stating reality. Apparently, "everyone else" was allowed to stay out later than our daughter.
I do have to stress, though, that each person I questioned stated that the curfew has to be dependent on how the teen is doing in school, how well he/she has been following household rules, the day of the week, the plan for the evening, the experience of the driver and the other kids involved.
Here's what else I learned:
The dominant theme, though, seemed to be the importance of communication between parents, teens and other parents. We need to give our teens an opportunity to have respectful, productive discourse with us in a way that gives our teens a sense of control over their lives. Or, at the very least, gives them the impression they have fair parents who love them and are willing to treat them like the young, independent adults they will become.