Why are they important?
From a legal standpoint, some cities, like Los Angeles, have daytime curfews for teens under age 18, who are not permitted in public places, including parks, vacant lots, restaurants, and amusement parks during the school year when school is in session. In Los Angeles, any teen under 18 is not permitted to be in a public place between 10 pm and sunrise the next day. Before setting a curfew time for your teen, be sure to check your local laws regarding day time and night time curfews for minors.
Punishment for violating juvenile curfew laws may include fines, community service, restriction of driving privileges, and possible detention in jail/juvenile hall.
Setting a Curfew
Lots of parents struggle with the decision to set curfews for their child. Perhaps you’re not sure what their friends parents have decided or are unclear about how late they really should be able to stay out.
“Curfews are an important tool in helping to manage a teen and keep them away from risky situations,” says psychologist Michael Dennis, “The reality is ... Read more
Deploying a curfew with your teen does not have to be a rigid rule. Setting a curfew can be an opportunity to discuss decision making with your teen and gradually build their sense of responsibility.
“In my book, I talk about decision making,” says school psychologist and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Education, Stephen Gray Wallace, “And I have a chart which divides decision making into 3 categories. Mine, decision I’m going to make as a parent. Ours, decisions that I will make with my child. And Theirs, decisions that they’re old enough to make for themselves. And I suggest that over time as kids mature and develop an internal locus of control, we should see decisions migrate from Mine to Ours to Theirs. And I think curfews fall into that category. Certainly for younger teens, I think we want to set the parameters for curfews in dialogue and conversation with them. But at the end of the day, it needs to be our decision. Now, we might want to get more informed about what those curfews should be by consulting with our friends who have younger children of the same age. Or consulting with a pediatrician. And then over time, again, as the young person grows, I think it could be more of a mutual agreement of what those curfews should be. And certainly by the time that kids are getting ready to leave home for college or for the work force, they should be able to start setting their own curfew. Knowing what responsibilities they have the next day and how much rest they need.”
“A lot of time we see parents get caught up in the details of curfews, and they miss their actual importance,” says drug preventation speak and author, Jonathan Scott, “Curfews are less about fixed points in time and more about keeping your kids in the presence of adult supervision and oversight or at least in transition from one point to another where the oversight will resume. The core issue here is this--unsupervised teens. Unsupervised teens, over time, are more likely to make really bad decisions, and when they're unsupervised, and essentially unsupervised teens are a recipe for disaster. When you try to develop a curfew for your kids, you have to look at a couple of different variables. When does the event start? When does the event end? How long does it take you to get from here to there? That's how you develop a rational curfew.”