What To Do if Your Teen is Staying Out All Night
What To Do if Your Teen is Staying Out All Night

What To Do if Your Teen is Staying Out All Night

As parents, we are committed to providing only the best opportunities for our kids. That is why we get crushed when we see our kids squandering opportunities that we had earned hard to provide or make decisions that in our experience and knowledge would never give the best outcome.

One of the most common issues of parents over their teens is how much lack of control they have once their kids had turned into teenagers. Teens assume that once they reach a certain age, privileges are automatically available to them and the freedom to do certain things, like staying out all night and sleep all day, are within their right. Curfew hours are usually the cause behind many episodes of distress and conflicts between parents and their teens.

So, what would you do if your teen wants to stay out all night to hang out with the type of crowd you don't want him or her to associate with? How do you convince your son or your daughter to stop spending time with peers whom they might learn how to drink, or smoke, or do casual sex? How do you set boundaries to teens that had set their minds into resisting and bucking every rule that you have set up?

Dr. Laura S. Kastner Ph.D., author of Getting To Calm: Cool-headed strategies for parenting tweens and teens, gives a very good advice. According to her, parents should not hesitate to take action and withstand the rage that usually follows. That is saying, parents should establish rules of the house, and strictly enforce them, giving out punishment if need be.

In addition, here are some great tips from our own counselors:

Set Curfew Hours and Establish Them

In his book on "positive parenting", Dr. Glenn Latham says that "in dealing with teens, it is best for parents to set conditions with care and sparingly". But it is important to set conditions. The big picture: focus on schedules, emphasize on safety and practice negotiation. For example, setting up a general curfew of 8 pm will allow your teen to plan ahead of his or her schedule. 

However, making your curfew rules flexible enough to allow him or her to join socially important occasions also have its merits. Establishing curfews that emphasize on safety will also help teens see curfews not as restrictive whims, but as rules created to protect not only themselves but the entire family.

There are times when teens will try to negotiate to be temporarily released from the curfew. If so, then sit down and discuss with them their wishes. Find a middle ground where both of you can compromise, whether he "earns" this privilege by helping with extra chores, or coming home early than usual the next day.

Discuss Conflicts Immediately

"My son/daughter seems a magnet for trouble" - you would not believe how often this phrase is uttered by exasperated parents. At first sign of trouble, it is important for parents to have a one on one talk immediately. There has already been countless of accounts when parents failed to act sooner until it was already too late.

However, when deciding punishment, it is equally important for parents to keep anger out of it. There are things that you know will always be sources of tension, whether they be curfews, getting drunk, trouble at school, or household responsibilities - even non-compliance of simple house rules such as no smoking or no drinking of alcohol. Decide ahead of time what you are willing to settle as punishment for each of them.

Do Not Be Afraid to Criticize Dad Peers

Some parents are hesitant of criticizing their teenagers' peers for the fear of alienating them. They think that going against their friends will complicate things further and might end up in their teens running away or engaging in destructive behavior as a means of getting back.

However, doing nothing is also as destructive as it is tantamount to allowing your teen to do what he or she wants. You might as well be giving him, or her, the go signal to do drugs or go on binge drinking because it is what is likely going to happen.

Further, few studies reveal that 34% of American students claim that certain peer groups make fun and bully people who are smart or do well in school, making peer groups a significantly influential factor on your teen's academic performance.

What you need to do is slowly talk to your teenagers that associating with the wrong crowd will most of the time result in failure. Explain to them why doing stuff like smoking, drinking beer, doing high fives and secret handshakes with thugs and known gangsters are never cool and will not automatically make them get accepted to the majority. 

Point out flaws and then tell them to examine these facts themselves and see if this is really what they want. Eventually, they will start to notice the things you pointed out that he did not notice the first time, and with your constant guidance will he decide to turn things around by themselves.

Show Them That They are Wanted and Needed at Home

In short, keep your home happy, with everyone involved. Nurture a caring and supportive environment at home will help a lot in making your teen feel wanted at home. Assign responsibilities to them and remind them if they forget. Prepare meals, have meals together, go on family trips, there are so many things you can do as a family.

Know Where to Seeks Help

There are times when the efforts of your family alone may not be enough to cope with your teen's problems and a professional help is required. If you don't know where to start, you can send us an email regarding your problem. Alternately, you can also contact one of our featured schools at 1-800-845-1413 for expert advice.