'I will be late tonight'

'I will be late tonight'

Curfew Timings

'I will be late tonight'

“Every one else’s parent’s let them stay out as long as they want.” “All the fun happens after midnight.” “When I get to be a parent, I’m going to let my kids stay out as late as they like.”

If these statements sound familiar, then teens and parents have battled out the “curfew thing” in their family. Handling adolescence is difficult enough without a never-ending power struggle for control. Curfew timing can easily become a battleground, with the parents playing warden to the teenage inmates, and kids coming home late to “prove” their independence.  

Viren, a fourth year law student has seen his curfew timing gradually relax since he was in school. He now drives his own car and is allowed to party till 12.30 am on weekends. “On weekdays, the family goes to bed by 11 pm and I must be home by 10.30 pm. On weekends, they are more chilled out and since I haven't really got into any dicey situations they know they can trust me to be sensible. On special occasions we stay over at friend’s homes if it is going to be a late night but those are few and far between. My dad generally makes sure about the place where the party is happening and pushing the curfew time further by sending messages is frowned upon heavily,” he says.

Andrea studying in the first year degree at Mount Carmel’s believes that having a curfew is no big deal as most often late nights are spent at a friends place sleeping over. “My folks were very strict in school but now I find they are pretty cool. During weekdays we don’t really do much by way of partying and we are not the night clubbing kind of girls anyway. Parties are mostly birthday celebrations and we generally end up sleeping at our friends’ homes. Since our parents can contact us and know where we are is a safe place, we go home the next morning,” she says.

Coming home by seven on weekdays is a must for degree student Kirtana, but weekends are relaxed. “As long as I don’t do foolish things like go out in skimpy clothes late in the evenings, my parents are fine. Most parties end up as sleepovers or someone arranges for a parent or driver to give us a ride home. My parents are not very hyper about timing as long as they know where I am and with whom. The important thing is to be safe and not do anything risky,” she says.

Expert speak

“Do set a blanket curfew time like 8 pm for your teenager which can be extended in certain situations. Never allow them to just walk out the door without telling you where they are going. They must call in if their plans change. Allow some margin on special occasions such as birthdays. Do not allow them to call just before their curfew ends to ask if they can sleepover at a friends. This is generally a red flag saying 'something is up'. Your teenagers will thank you for keeping them within these set boundaries and parameters when they realise how important these boundaries were.” Phyllis Nazareth, family counsellor