Should teens have to report in when they are out late or should they be given more freedom?
– Pulling an all nighter
Dear All Nighter:
I have a confession to make. I’m well over 21 and I still check in with my mother! Yes, it’s true. To this day, whenever I leave my mother’s home (any time of day), she will ask me to call her when I get home, AND I DO! Whenever my family takes a day trip, my mother wants me to “check in” when we get home. If it is not too late, I DO! I don’t want my mom to worry. I also “check in” with my husband during the day and on those rare occasions when I’m out late (translation – past dark). I “check in” out of respect. I think that you should explain a couple of things to your teen. The first is that by law minors must be home at a certain time. For example in Philadelphia, Monday-Sunday, the school year curfew for those 16 and up is 10 pm. During the summer it is 11 pm. Violation of the curfew can result in a fine for both the minor and the parent(s). Secondly, in a practical sense, it is not safe for teens (or adults for that matter) to be out all night. If you monitor murders in our city, quite frequently they occur in the early hours of the morning. I’ve heard it said that nothing good happens during the wee hours of the night and morning. However, I understand that it may be necessary to be out late if your child is a part of sports team, youth group, etc. That brings me to my last point. You should share that freedom does not come WITHOUT responsibility and accountability. One sign of maturity is having the ability to submit to authority and the willingness to be accountable, even if there is an adult chaperone. If your teen is balking at the requirement of being accountable, he or she is not mature enough to stay out late.
(Featured illustration by Jim McHugh. Featured photo © CanstockPhoto)