Why can't a girl get a little freedom?
January 25, 2007 2:40 PM   Subscribe

What is an average (even slightly conservative) weekday/weeknight bedtime/curfew for a 17 year old female high school senior?

My parents are slightly out of touch. Out of touch being that they know no other parents with children that haven't been grown for years, and thus have no idea how restricting the limits they set upon me (a well-behaved, responsible high school senior who gets good grades, participates in regular extracurricular activities, and as a rule, makes good choices). Currently, their imposed curfew for weekdays is 8 pm. Weekends is 9 pm. Bedtime on weekdays is 10pm.

Being a teenager, I find this slightly unreasonable, and was hoping to hear from some of the other parents or teenagers of the hive mind, to either put me in my place or tell me what I'm missing so I can bring up in a logical manner to my parents my argument.

I'm off to college this fall. Do they think they're going to impose a curfew on me then? :/
posted by Glitter Ninja to Society & Culture (102 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I had to be home by 9-10 pm if I went out on the weekdays, but I was generally only allowed to go out if I was studying with a group of friends.

Weekends, my parents slowly moved my curfew up from 11 until 1 am by the time I was a senior. Certain events, such as senior prom, I was expected to let them know where I was, but the curfew restrictions were relaxed.

My parents were a lot harder on my two older sisters (I'm a boy), and I got away with coming home after curfew a few times.

I'm 24 now, I think your parents are being reasonable on the weekdays but not on the weekends, and could afford to let you out until perhaps midnight-1, but to me it depends on if there are actually places that are still open, safe, and teen-friendly at that hour in your area. On the other hand, it's not going to kill you to follow their rules for a little longer.
posted by onalark at 2:49 PM on January 25, 2007


In my early 20s, I lived with my grandmother. Out of courtesy for her, I agreed to a curfew of 11pm. The reason was this: she always heard me come in the house (the garage door opening, the front door opening, the stairs creaking...). My coming in late woke her up, and she had problems getting back to sleep.

I'm not saying that this is your case, but it would be worthwhile to find out why they feel an early curfew is important -- is it for you or for them?
posted by parilous at 2:49 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm 23, but when I was in high school my bedtime weeknights was 10pm. What time do you have to be at school in the morning?
posted by joshuaconner at 2:50 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm not a teenager, but I was one once, in the ye olde days of the early '90s. Junior year, my curfew was 12:30, and senior year it was 1:00. So, yeah, 9 seems a touch early. The earliest curfew among my friends at the time was 11.

If it helps in your negotiations, I never got pregnant, or arrested, or high, or whatever else is supposed to happen after midnight--we were usually sitting at Waffle House, drinking coffee. You might ask your parents how crazy-insane-with-untasted-freedom they want you to go when you get to college...
posted by paleography at 2:51 PM on January 25, 2007


I've had three daughters pass through their teens. The oldest recently got a PhD at Cambridge UK, the second got her Bachelor's last year and the third is applying for college. I think your bedtimes are ridiculous, even demeaning, really, as my bias has been towards giving my children the scope to discover for themselves what works and what doesn't. It's much better to find out how to manage ones's life early, and judging from our results this approach has been effective. Good luck - parental anxiety is hard to live with for both the parents and the parented! Just don't go too wild when you've escape from oversight (I did, and regret it still.)
posted by anadem at 2:51 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can only speak for myself when I was your age, because I am not a parent.

On school nights my curfew was 9:00. On days when I worked at my after school job at the mall, curfew was when I could get back home in a reasonable amount of time after the store closed; usually around 10:00. That meant straight home from work, no stops.

On weekends or non-school nights my curfew was midnight. I found this to be a bit harsh at that age. Most of my friends either had much later curfews (2 AM) or none at all.

This was in the late 1980's, if that helps.
posted by brain cloud at 2:52 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm twenty-six and I think your parents are being a little unreasonable.

I don't think I really had a curfew in high school, but it was understood that if I were going to be home later than midnight I should call so my poor mother didn't stay up all night worrying. And specifying "bedtime" at all for someone your age strikes me as slightly preposterous. You're old enough to know when you're tired, and to respect your responsibilities in the morning.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:53 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah--weeknights--I couldn't go out on weeknights unless it was school-related, and then I had to be back by 9 or so. I think. Whatever it was seemed fair at the time.
posted by paleography at 2:54 PM on January 25, 2007


I never had a "curfew" but I had to tell my parents where I was going and when I was going to be home. Are you allowed any leeway on the weekends, or is it 9 p.m., no exceptions?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:54 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


if I may hijack paleography's point about college -- that's pretty much what happend to me, in my first semester away at school. The idea of having no curfew at all and nobody checking in on me at a certain time was just too luscious. I really didn't handle it well at all, and I really believe it was mostly due to the fact that I wasn't given the chance to prove I could handle it responsibly on my own if I had had a bit more flexibility at home.
posted by brain cloud at 2:56 PM on January 25, 2007


My parents, fifteen years ago, were pretty strict in general, but let me out till 10, weeknights, later if I had a specific reason and kept in touch. Weekends was midnight, which moved to 12:30 when I had a girlfriend whose curfew was midnight. I think they realized that unduly strict curfews would only breed resentment, and they would have been right.

Two other factors: I worked at 5:30 or 6 on SaSuW. I had to be in bed, or reading (no tv) at 10:30 on weeknights, excepting school functions.
posted by notsnot at 2:57 PM on January 25, 2007


I didn't have a bedtime when I was 17, but I did need to be in the house by 9 on weekdays, and midnight on weekends. During my senior year of school, my weekend curfew was stretched to 1 AM. 8 and 9 PM does seem too early to me.

I was horribly tame in high school - if I was out until 1 AM on weekend, I was either watching a movie at my boyfriend's house or playing cards or something at a friends' place. Like paleography, maybe that bit of anecdotal evidence could help.

Are you living with your parents while you're in college? I think as long as you're not stumbling in drunk at 3 AM and smashing into furniture or whatever, you shouldn't have a curfew. It'll be difficult for your parents to adjust to you living there and not being bound by their curfew rules, but it's not unreasonable.

(I'm 26, if that matters.)
posted by Zosia Blue at 2:58 PM on January 25, 2007


I can understand the curfew situation on the weekdays, but bedtime? I'm 26, and I think I was in a single-digit age when I last had an imposed bedtime. If you are demonstrating smart choices currently and are maintaining your grades, I would see no reason why your parents wouldn't be able to trust you with what time you feel you should go to bed. As for the weekend curfew, yes it seems rather harsh. I'm not sure what argument you could present that would make them see things from your perspective, other than pointing out the fact that you have all of your other ducks in a row where things matter most (school success, at your age) and that it would mean a lot to you if they could trust you to make responsible choices when it comes to social situations. No wonder you're going away to school!
posted by Asherah at 2:59 PM on January 25, 2007


I was 17 nine years ago, which doesn't seem so long ago! Though I did not have a bedtime or a curfew, I pretty much only went out to do school-related stuff (like play practice) or to work on weeknights. Maybe you don't have much homework, but it seems reasonable to me to be home by 8 to do it. (I was usually home by 9:30, and would be up forever doing schoolwork.) And I know that 10 seems early, and I don't know what time you have to get up for school, but you probably need at least 8 or 9 hours of sleep.

However, since you're 17 maybe your parents should let you figure out the sleep thing on your own, like that time on "The Cosby Show" when Rudy was up late enough to watch "The Tonight Show."

Sure you'll be in college next year, but you being out probably keeps them from going to bed because they worry about you.
posted by Airhen at 2:59 PM on January 25, 2007


Your curfew and bedtimes sound very early to me, compared with my own and my friends, when we were 17. I didn't really have a bedtime as such, although my parents would probably comment if I was up much later than midnight.

Weekdays are irrelevant, since I and most of my friends weren't allowed to go out on schooldays, but on weekends we basically didn't have a curfew. I tended to get home at 11pm or 12pm, sometimes later. And this is from a bunch of teenagers who went to a good school and scored top marks.

Beyond considerations like not making noise when you come in, and making sure you get enough sleep for school, I don't really see the point of bedtimes or curfews. If you consistently rock up drunk and noisy at 2am every night, I can see why your parents would be annoyed. But if you can demonstrate you can act responsibly, then I can't see many arguments for *not* extending bedtimes and curfews.

(I wonder whether there is much difference in these things between UK and US... I have a hunch that UK parents are more lax, but I'm not sure why)
posted by adrianhon at 2:59 PM on January 25, 2007


Ah, one other thing...the "call if you're going to be late, or let me know where you are" usually worked if I was going to be out later than usual in my teens, can some kind of bargain be struck here?
posted by Asherah at 3:01 PM on January 25, 2007


Also, my parents were looser than many on actual times, but I had to call them and let them know where I was. Before I left, I had to give them a general rundown ("We're going to a movie, and then maybe to Applebees, and then to Geoffrey's house after that"), and if my plans didn't vary too wildly from the rundown, then I didn't call. (For example, if we were going to Nick's house, instead of Geoffrey's, then I didn't call, since they lived close to each other. But if I was going into the city, while I said I'd be at a movie in town, then I'd call.)

Maybe you could compromise that way? Ask for later curfew, with the promise that they would know where you were at all times? (As much as parents can know, that is.)
posted by Zosia Blue at 3:02 PM on January 25, 2007


Midnight on weekends when I was in High School (80-84).
posted by DieHipsterDie at 3:02 PM on January 25, 2007


Just out of curiosity, what was your curfew before they started punishing you by lowering your curfew?

And if it makes your parents feel safer, at least for the next short, few months, to keep you in the house early, then you should live with it. You're never going to see these high school friends again.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:03 PM on January 25, 2007


I agree with what other posters have said. Your curfew is unreasonable. From about 15 or 16, I never had a curfew and things ended up fine for me. That said, I was kind of conservative as a youth and rarely took advantage of this. I remember getting home once at 5 am and being reprimanded, but other than that, I was golden.
posted by matkline at 3:03 PM on January 25, 2007


My parents didn't believe in curfews - they thought it was an arbitrary number that meant nothing. What was meaningful was agreeing to a reasonable time according to the specific circumstance - and if I was late for this, shit hit the fan. But this rarely happened because trust developed very quickly with this system and neither my parents or I wanted to mess with it.
posted by meerkatty at 3:07 PM on January 25, 2007


My parents trusted both my brother and I (we're now 28 and 26 respectively) without a curfew per se, as long as we were home when my parents got up at between 4 and 5 (early birds!), that they had an idea of who we were with and where we were going, and no one heard us come in (ie if we woke anyone up, then we were in trouble). If we were ever late to school or work tho because we slept in, we were also in shit. For the record, we had some fun as kids, but neither of us got arrested or developed any life altering habits, and are now successful and contributing members of society, so I think we did ok.
posted by cgg at 3:08 PM on January 25, 2007


I never had a curfew either, but I was a big dork and didn't go out much and my parents decided to trust me (with the understanding that they knew where I was going to be approximately and I called them if people had been drinking and I needed a ride home). My friends who had curfews had to be home by 11 at the earliest on week nights and midnight or 1 a.m. on weekends.

I think your curfew is ridiculous--they're gonna have to let you use your own judgment at some point, I think they're trying to delay the inevitable. I tend to think it's best to give children the benefit of the doubt unless they show they can't handle it.
posted by Kimberly at 3:08 PM on January 25, 2007


I had looser-curfew-type parents (I'm 25 now), but I didn't have a car when I was in high school and I lived out far from my peers, so I almost never went out weeknights anyway.

Weekends I did not have a curfew but had to register my flight plan - IE, we'll be at $friend's, we might go to the movies, and I'll call if we'll be home later than $ETA.

On the other hand, I know someone (she was a friend in high school) whose parents had curfews like hers. YES, she got stuck with a curfew (10:30!) when she was home from college on vacations.

We're pretty sure she married the high school debate coach (sketchy!) out of spite for them and their curfews.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:09 PM on January 25, 2007


I didn't have a bedtime or a curfew at your age. I would remind your parents that occaisonally you want to see a movie with your friends or enjoy other things kids your age do. I think that's a pretty strong argument.
posted by xammerboy at 3:10 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm 27. When I was in school, I didn't have a curfew because I didn't abuse things. I was out until my extra-curriculars were through (which, depending upon what play I was in or what competition I might be getting ready for) might have lasted until after 9pm. Weekend was midnight for as long as I can remember, until I came home from college once and I didn't even think about staying out til 3am. (I mean, didn't even cross my mind not to. I think that's when my parents really figured out I spent most of my time away from home.) For "bedtime," I can't even remember the last time my parents mentioned me needing to be in bed by a certain time. Again, I was expected to use my IQ, and my grades never suffered. If my grades had suffered, then that would have been when actual rules would have come into play.

In any case, there has to be a reasonable compromise to be had. If you're not a delinquent there is no reason to (essentailly) treat you like one, which I how I would have felt at your age.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:10 PM on January 25, 2007


What is an average (even slightly conservative) weekday/weeknight bedtime/curfew for a 17 year old female high school senior?

9pm weekdays, 10 or 11pm on weekends, with a slow movement up to letting you do as you want.

However curfew isn't and won't be the most important thing for my soon to be 15 year old daughter. Whether she keeps in contact via cell, who she's out with, telling us where's she's going and a rough estimate when she'll be back will be most important.

All of this depends on whether she keeps up her school work and tells the truth, which hasn't been a problem so far.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:10 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm currently 24 and I'll speak from my HS experience, which I thought was fair.

I never had a set weeknight curfew. However, I was very open with my parents in regards to where I was going, what I was doing and who I was doing it with. In most cases I would tell my parents what time I would be home. If they thought it was to late for a weeknight they'd usually oppose and we'd come to a mutual agreement. However, I always stated a reasonable time to begin with; 'I'm going to Pat's house to hangout, I'll be home at 9 (10, etc).'

As I came closer to graduation my parents became MUCH more lenient to the point where I could come home whenever I thought appropriate. This had to do with the fact that I actually sat them down and explained to them that I make good choices and once I was off to college I wouldn't be reporting in to anyone. My grades were good, I had been accepted to the school I wanted and I didn't get into much trouble.

Weekends were usually around 2 AM, the city imposed curfew for minors - this too was only imposed until I had the discussion with my parents (I was 18, above the minor's curfew).

Explain to your parents that once off to school you'll have no one to check-in with - they might as well help you into this transitions.
posted by ASM at 3:13 PM on January 25, 2007


I stopped having a "bedtime" in high school, but I was expected to be settled down and reading or in bed by around 10:00. I had to be home to stay for dinner on school nights unless I had a school, work, or special occasion function, which means my weeknight curfew was effectively around 6pm. I could talk on the phone until 9:00.

My freshman year of high school, weekend curfew was 10. Sophomore was 11, I was an exchange student my junior year, and back to a midnight curfew when I was a senior. That was about the same as most of my friends. This was late 1980s, small town, and no public transportation, and I think there was a certain amount of concern about turning young drivers loose on the streets at all hours where most parents were concerned.

I think being home for dinner and staying home (barring school or work) on weeknights is the right thing to do. Definitely 9pm is a pretty painful weekend curfew, and I would recommend recruiting your most upstanding friends and their parents to help you make a case to your own folks on that one.

Oh, and I did live at home right after high school graduation, going to college, and I made it known that there wouldn't be a curfew anymore. I tended to roll in about 11 on school nights and 2am the rest of the time, and looking back now I think that kind of made me a shitty non-rent-paying roommate. It's not like they could just turn off worrying about me, nor could they not hear me coming home most of the time thanks to the way the house was laid out.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:13 PM on January 25, 2007


The weekday curfew doesn't seem that unreasonable, but I'd allow for exceptions up to 10PM to be made if it's a school activity . . bedtime seems fine. It's more or less what mine was when I was your age in Sarajevo, which is generally a more conservative place.

I'm surprised though at the weekend curfew. Given the fact that you'll be able to never go home at night at all if you choose to in less than a year, midnight seems pretty reasonable to me. It might be fair to have something like a 10:30PM "check-in" time on the weekends . . . if you're doing something reasonable, you could then stay out until midnight, but you've got to call first. 9PM is crazy . . . you can't get out of an early movie by then most of the time - let alone go for a bite with pals.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:15 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm a senior in high school this year, as well (male). Weeknights ... curfew is probably 9 or so, though not really set in stone. Weekends, I can stay out till 12 or 1. My parents trust me, and I'm responsible and make good choices, too.
posted by Camel of Space at 3:16 PM on January 25, 2007


I don't think you need any more confirmation at this point, but here it is anyway. I was a teen in the late 90s. A weeknight curfew of 9-10 seems reasonable, but on weekends I was allowed to stay out until midnight or 1 as long as my parents knew where I was going to be. And like others, I'm shocked that you have an assigned bedtime - you're definitely old enough to regulate your own sleep patterns.
My parents were actually pretty strict until my senior year, when I had a nice reasonable talk with my mother about the curfew situation. I made the points that I had proved myself to be academically and socially responsible, and that I was going to be on my own in college soon anyway. They loosened up a lot, though my mom swears to this day that she never slept well until she heard me come up the stairs to bed each night.
posted by vytae at 3:18 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm a parent (14yo girland 16yo boy) and my kids do not have a bedtime, but they are expected to wake themselves up in time for school AND to be alert and polite. As for out of the house stuff, I was very clever in moving to an area where nothing happens at night, but provided they were meeting their goals in school etc, I probably would not quibble about an active social life.

However, this thread is not going to convince a parent. It never worked in my house when my kids said, "but all my friends' parents a. let them do this, b. give them an exorbitant allowance and c. do not require them to do chores."

I think if you were trying to convince me to change my rules (but this won't work on all parents), it would be well to start off with talking about how reliable and responsible you already are (do chores without reminding, keep grades up, self-organised, decent polite friends).

Once the parents agree wiith this, then talk about developing yourself as an adult - trying experiments while you are still in a place of safety (eg pulling an all-nighter for the first time at home, rather than at college to see what happens).

But here's a question, do they themselves have a bedtime that they stick to? If they do, I think you'll find it hard to shift them on this, it might be one of their values, rather than just a sensible rule of thumb. If this is the case, wait. You'll be out soon enough.

If you'd like to talk more my email is in my profile.
posted by b33j at 3:19 PM on January 25, 2007


Weekdays for me in the early 1990s was 9pm.
Weekends was 11pm or 12midnight, depending on the activity.
posted by k8t at 3:19 PM on January 25, 2007


Agreed with meerkatty.

Current parent of a 16 year old boy, and we "negotiate". I scare-quote negotiation, 'cos what really happens is that we set a time 30 minutes too early, he wheedles an extra 30 minutes out of us, and everyone's happy.

The time set depends on the circumstances - going to a party, with me picking him up afterwards? 00:30 wouldn't be a problem. Wandering around the streets with his friends? Home by 9:30, please.

In fact, we're starting to reach the point where he tells us what time he'll be home, and because he knows what's reasonable and what isn't, we're ok with the curfew times he's setting for himself. (Mobile phones help a lot in this - a quick "Mum, I'm heading home, but I'll be 15 minutes late" goes a long way to defusing any problems and building trust).
posted by Leon at 3:23 PM on January 25, 2007


Yeah, those curfews are pretty ridiculous. When I was in high school (I'm 25 now), my curfew was midnight on weekends, unless pre-approved otherwise. I never really went out late on weekdays, so that never came up, but I'd estimate that the curfew would've been 10:00 or so if my parents had wanted one. The notion of a high schooler having a "bedtime" is completely absurd. Most of my friends had pretty similar guidelines (like, within an hour either direction).
posted by equalpants at 3:26 PM on January 25, 2007


Okay, I'm 18 and myself have super-overprotective parents (I even asked a question about it!). However, I've never had a bedtime curfew.

I think you're old enough to decide what time you go to sleep at and if they can't let you make such a minor decision about your life then that is a sign that they do not view you as capable enough to make such choices.

I've never had a curfew at all, it's always been dependant on who i've been out with, where i'm going and if I've been a good little girl that day. :p

I would usually suggest that you havea good talk with them about trust and needing some freedom so you can deal with the situations life has thrown at you. However, since you ARE going to college in the fall and have seen no reason before to trouble waters why not just sit on it until then? Once you're living on campus these kind of restrictions will be hard to enforce and at least you'll always have the argument that you were a good, obdient child while you lived under your parents roof.
posted by liquorice at 3:26 PM on January 25, 2007


Single Dad of a wonderful 16 year old daughter here. She is a 3.5 GPA or above student, consistently makes good choices, does not drink, smoke or act inappropriately with boys.

I consider myself pretty conservative in most areas. I have very high moral standards, and very high expectations for my daughter. But, she has earned a lot of trust.

In my case: she really doesn't have a set curfew. I like her to be in bed by 11 on schoolnights. Like me, she doesn't require tons of sleep every night. So, as long as I know where she is, and who she is with (and she has permission, of course) then as long as she is home and in bed around 11 on school nights, that's fine.

On weekends, again, no set curfew, and no set bed time unless we have to get up early for some reason on the weekend. She needs to have permission for where she is going, and stay in touch if plans change. She sometimes goes to a friend's house for all-night movie marathons, or Xbox tournaments, with both guys and girls. As long as there is adult supervision, and she stays in touch, then it's fine. We often have all-nighters at our house as well. I have found that getting to know her friends and connecting with them helps all of us.

My rules my be very liberal to some people. However, her freedom is directly related to the incredible amount of trust she has earned. Also, she has shown that she is smart enough to not accidentally get in over her head.

One rule we have: IF she is ever in a situation she shouldn't be (friends start drinking, etc) she can always call me, and I will come get her, no questions asked, and she will not be in trouble. If she gets in a bad situation, and doesn't call, and I find out, then BIG trouble. Thankfully, she has rarely had to call, and has never had BIG trouble.

So for you, Glitter Ninja: the fact you are posting this and willing to gain insight shows great maturity. If you make good choices, and have shown your parents you are trustworthy, and don't hang out with people who are into things they shouldn't be, then you should have more freedom.

In my opinion, your curfew and bedtime are not reasonable, unless you need an inordinate amount of sleep, or live in an unusually dangerous area.

But, none of us here get to choose for you. Maybe your folks will read some responses here and you can open up some dialogue. Also, the fact you are leaving for college soon means you should be given more freedom to prepare. Very oftren, young adults who have been given very little freedom have the hardest time going off to college or living on their own. Their sudden freedom goes to their head and they end up in lots of trouble because they have not learned how to handle independence. I have gradually given my daughter more and more freedom and more responsibility to make her own decisions, knowing the day will come when she will leave the nest. I want her to be prepared. I hope your parents can start to see it this way. Good luck Glitter Ninja!!!! :)
posted by The Deej at 3:27 PM on January 25, 2007


Oh, and by the time I was your age, I was occasionally staying out all night. Certainly staying out until 2AM wasn't unusual. But then... different sex, different culture. Hard to apply someone else's experiences to your own.
posted by Leon at 3:28 PM on January 25, 2007


I don't remember having a specific curfew for weeknights, but I had to be at school at 7am and I would've been held accountable if I wasn't awake and alert in class.

For weekends I pretty much just had to let my parents know where I'd be and what I'd be doing, who's parents would be there, etc. but I never tested the limits (I'd usually be home by 1 at the latest)

With things like this, my parent's philosophy was basically to trust us until we gave them a reason not to. On the other hand, if I tried to change their mind with an online survey, I don't think they'd care much. YMMV
posted by chndrcks at 3:33 PM on January 25, 2007


In my opinion, your parents are being completely unreasonable.

I think you need to be firm and let your parents know that once you are 18 and of age, there will be no curfew.
posted by ageispolis at 3:34 PM on January 25, 2007


I think your curfew is ultra-restrictive. I had no curfew in high school. It was on a case-by-case basis. If I was out with my boyfriend (in senior year), I had to be home by 1 am, though. But if I went out with my best friend (also male) or someone else, there was no such restriction. I excelled in high school and extracurricular activities. I went on to excel in my undergrad and take on leadership positions. I did well in my career, making manager by my mid-20s, and then I went back for an MBA. Now I run my own business. So, not having a curfew did nothing to harm me.

But, as others have said, dwelling on this in a no-budge situation won't help you. Perhaps you could talk with your parents about extending the curfew by half an hour for each of the months leading up to September. Perhaps small steps that show them your ability to manage the curfew would help. (I'm not sure why they have imposed such odd hours.) You could say that you want to manage your time in increments so that the transition to college is easier. Are you going away to college? Perhaps you should think about it, even if you need to take out a loan for living expenses.
posted by acoutu at 3:34 PM on January 25, 2007


Over the course of High school, mine slowly progresssed from 10pm to 1am, and by senior year, my parents gave up. IMO, If you really have demonstrated that you're a responsible young adult that isn't running around getting into trouble, then there's no reason for the overly strict curfew.
posted by chrisamiller at 3:34 PM on January 25, 2007


You're never going to see these high school friends again.

Don't pretend you know that.

Anyway, I never had a curfew (I didn't stay out late regularly, and if it was, it was usually because I was working on a show in my high school's theatre), so I can't speak from experience, but 8:00 pm on weekdays? That means you can barely go out to dinner with friends during the week, and 9:00 means that's all you can do on weekends.

A mandatory bedtime for a senior in high school is patently absurd.
posted by oaf at 3:36 PM on January 25, 2007


One rule we have: IF she is ever in a situation she shouldn't be (friends start drinking, etc) she can always call me, and I will come get her, no questions asked, and she will not be in trouble. If she gets in a bad situation, and doesn't call, and I find out, then BIG trouble. Thankfully, she has rarely had to call, and has never had BIG trouble.

This sounds like what my parents told me, without the threat of big trouble. I never had to call.

I think you need to be firm and let your parents know that once you are 18 and of age, there will be no curfew.

This has the potential to backfire.
posted by oaf at 3:40 PM on January 25, 2007


Just out of curiosity, what was your curfew before they started punishing you by lowering your curfew?

Where did you get that from? Do people just not read posters' questions anymore?
posted by musicinmybrain at 3:46 PM on January 25, 2007


Maybe it has the potential to backfire but I think not. With some people, like my dad, they will not budge unless there is a direct threat to their authority. If they are unwilling to loosen up AT ALL once she is 18 then those kind of drastic measures are needed.

Is one parent a bit more lienient than the other? I convinced my mother a bit more easier and then she'd end up defending me against my dad.

Once she passed away I just went out, every night, not telling my dad where I was going or who I was going with. I've since reigned that in a bit but it made my dad realise that I will carry through with my "threats" if he didn't ease up. So now we have a better balance. But that's probably a route you don't want to go down.
posted by liquorice at 3:49 PM on January 25, 2007


Yes, your curfews are abnormal. I had a couple of friends in high school whose parents were immigrants, and they had the most restrictive curfews of anyone I knew. I don't know if this is an issue for you, too. We dealt by hanging out at my friends houses if we wanted to do stuff late at night. Your parents probably do think they'll be able to control your life when you go to college, but with enough willpower you can prove them wrong.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:51 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm going to have to disagree and say that you SHOULDN'T "ask your parents how crazy-insane-with-untasted-freedom they want you to go when you get to college," especially if you want to negotiate for a later curfew. IMHO, it'll only make you come off as a rather immature and/or rebellious "teenager" (aka: exactly who you don't want to appear to be).

The whole sitting down and talking to them tactic didn't work for me until I demonstrated that I wouldn't be an irresponsible stereotypical teen. I'd tell them where I was going, who I was going with, who was driving, what we were going to do, etc. Call them when you're out to let them know where you are now, what you're doing, etc. TEDIOUS, but that's usually the kind of things parents like. Don't look at it as manipulating your parents though. Consider this to be a way of easing your parents' minds. From their perspective, they're restricting you because they're protecting you & they're afraid of what might happen if they don't place these restrictions on you. Demonstrating your understanding of that helps them realize that you can take care of yourself now.

YMMV of course. I personally connected with my parents a lot better than any of my friends did/do now, and my parents also aren't crazy. (usually....)
posted by mittenedsex at 3:57 PM on January 25, 2007


Any parenting question is ultimately unanswerable haha
My teens have brought me joy and agony over small things unexpected... good responses above though, shows you the variety of ways poor adults try and mold children :)
posted by bkiddo at 4:03 PM on January 25, 2007


Hrm, I never had a curfew, but for an odd reason: I displayed no interest in going out, dating, or anything until I was seventeen. My parents were thrilled that I developed an interest in a social life and, well, not only could I come and go as I pleased, they'd lend me either one of their places if I wanted to have a date. And by date, well, you can guess.

If you're in a bad neighborhood, they might want you home early if you're going to be on foot. If you run with a rough crowd, they would also want to stop the party early. There's a lot of factors that they are thinking about.

You could consider becoming a very boring child. Bonus points for doing your homework early, as soon as you get home, and just ... not go out for a while. Or at all on weekends. When finally pressed, just reply that none of your friends really get started doing anything until later. ("Well, mom, most of my peers don't eat dinner until eight and aren't ready to go out until nine.") Dump some of your extracurricular activities. When asked why, say, "I don't get much time to go out, so I had to prioritize." Then shrug and wander off. Make it clear that you're not interested in fighting, and that these are the logical conclusions of their decisions as parents.

When the big conversation takes place, point out that you will be going to college. Soon. Would they rather they have a child who has no idea how to manage herself set loose in wild and funky college town, or would they like a child who is capable of making her own decisions? It's the same principle behind an allowance and letting your kids have a glass of wine with dinner. Responsibility and familiarity kill the mystery.
posted by adipocere at 4:06 PM on January 25, 2007


The kids who had the roughest time that first semester of college were the ones who'd had the tightest supervision at home (or boarding school).

I didn't have a curfew in high school - I was basically a good kid, kept my grades up, etc. On school nights there was sometimes choir practice (school, not church) and then some hanging out, but I don't recall coming home much past 10 pm; on weekends, as long as I let my mom know when/where/who, it was all good. Also, I didn't have a set bedtime once I was in high school.
posted by rtha at 4:06 PM on January 25, 2007


When I was 17, my curfew was 10:00 on weekdays, and no curfew on weekends/non school days.

As soon as I turned 18 however, my curfew was "call if you're going to be later than 11.

Now that I'm 22, it's "whenever, but I'll call you if I'm curious as to when you'll be back."

Seconding what The Deej said. My parents both stipulated that if I was ever somewhere and I wanted to go home and had no way to do so, to call them and they'd come pick me up. No questions asked. My mom said she'd rather I be safe, and she didn't care if I was drinking underage, as long as I was responsible about it.
posted by Verdandi at 4:10 PM on January 25, 2007


Your parents probably do think they'll be able to control your life when you go to college, but with enough willpower you can prove them wrong.

Just make sure you go to school somewhere that they can't just drive to on a whim.
posted by oaf at 4:19 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm going to give a minority opinion: your situation doesn't seem so unreasonable to me.

My parents made it clear that after high school, we would be on our own, and we could set our own rules. As long as we were living at home, though, we had to follow their rules.
posted by russilwvong at 4:19 PM on January 25, 2007


My folks were overprotective. I wasn't allowed to go out on weeknights except for something specific, so there was no issue of "curfew." Weekend curfew was eventually raised to 11 pm by the time I was a senior.

Yes, when I came home from college on Xmas break, they expected me to adhere to a strict curfew.

Rational discussion, citation of crime statistics (or lack thereof in my upper-middle-class suburban neighborhood), begging, and arguing didn't work while I lived at home. I love my folks, but the summer classes and winter-break seminars I took every vacation in college were partially so that I could live independently.

Interestingly, my parents now have an incredibly selective memory about these issues. I very clearly remember (and documented in a diary) how frequently we disagreed on where and when I was allowed to be out. In turn, they vaguely remember one or two instances where I wanted to actually push the limits of safety, a few instances of when I was allowed to go on heavily escorted excursions, and me telling them about times I stayed out late in college. Anything beyond that is met with "uh, whatever, don't recall that. And what, you think you had a hard life here?"

So yes, your parents' rules are quite conservative. You may succeed, if you're careful, in getting them to relax their rules very slightly. Take a deep breath and try to remember that you will have plenty of time to make your bed and lie in it when you get to school.

/I'm 33. When I visit my folks and my mom and I are sitting up chatting, he still tries to tell me that he thinks that it's time I go to sleep. His excuse is that he's concerned that I get enough rest. He actually just truly believes that the world will fall apart if he doesn't supervise it. I have made some headway in the fifteen years since I moved out, though.
posted by desuetude at 4:21 PM on January 25, 2007


+1 to most of the comments here.


One helpful suggestion: one of my parents' issues with my curfew is that they had to stay up late in order to enforce it. Then my dad hit upon an ingenious idea. He bought the loudest alarm clock he could find, one of those analog monsters with the bells. He would then set it for whenever I was supposed to be home (I didn't have a curfew during the week; didn't go out much, but on weekends it was 1 or so). When I got home I would just disarm the alarm, but if I was late it would go off he would be awake and waiting for me.

If your 'rents are concerned about having to stay up late to enforce it, this will work (especially if you can creep in quietly and they trust you).
posted by craven_morhead at 4:30 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think right now for the record I'll mention, that bedtime is strictly enforced. In my bedroom, under the covers, lights out by 10:00, to the point that I'm not allowed to keep my laptop in my room.

I'm not saying that this is your case, but it would be worthwhile to find out why they feel an early curfew is important -- is it for you or for them?

It's mostly for them. My mother has an insane fear that an EMT will have a harder number finding an ICE number in my phone at night than during the day for some reason, and though I know this sounds like a teenage remark, my father feels the need to control every aspect of my social life- sincerely.

And specifying "bedtime" at all for someone your age strikes me as slightly preposterous. You're old enough to know when you're tired, and to respect your responsibilities in the morning.

I kind of thought so too, seeing as how I set my alarm every night with unfailing regularity and get up at the set time. I'm not the kind to hit snooze. I know when to be up, and that I have things to do when I am up.

Two other factors: I worked at 5:30 or 6 on SaSuW. I had to be in bed, or reading (no tv) at 10:30 on weeknights, excepting school functions.

I usually work Saturday afternoons, and Sunday mornings I open the store at 7 almost every week, so I make a point to be in bed early on those nights, but a night before a day off, it seems kind of absurd.

Your curfew and bedtimes sound very early to me, compared with my own and my friends, when we were 17. I didn't really have a bedtime as such, although my parents would probably comment if I was up much later than midnight.

Weekday bedtime is strictly enforced. If I am still type-typing away at 10:01, my father decides to make an appearance to growl at me. (Can't think of any other way to describe it, but it's rather threatening, at least to an easily intimidated someone like me.)

Maybe you could compromise that way? Ask for later curfew, with the promise that they would know where you were at all times? (As much as parents can know, that is.)

When I DO get a chance to go out, I make it known where I'll be, and most of the time even give contact numbers (on top of my having a cell phone.) I don't like to drive on the interstate, and I live in a small town, so if I do decide to go somewhere else, even though I'll be in a five mile radius, I call.

Just out of curiosity, what was your curfew before they started punishing you by lowering your curfew?

This isn't punishment. This is the fact that I'm restricted to the same guidelines I've had since I was twelve. They haven't ever changed.


One rule we have: IF she is ever in a situation she shouldn't be (friends start drinking, etc) she can always call me, and I will come get her, no questions asked, and she will not be in trouble. If she gets in a bad situation, and doesn't call, and I find out, then BIG trouble. Thankfully, she has rarely had to call, and has never had BIG trouble.


Thankfully, I have my own car. Some of my friends do dabble in things that are not so kosher, but I have the common sense not to join them, and most of time, they respect the fact that I won't join them and won't do it around me. When and if they do decide they're going to... uh... partake, I promptly excuse myself and head back home.

Is one parent a bit more lienient than the other? I convinced my mother a bit more easier and then she'd end up defending me against my dad.

Mom IS more lenient, but far too scared of shouting screaming anger-management issues redneck father to stick up for me once he starts yelling, most of the time. (If you read this, sorry, mom, but it's true.)


Also, in regards to the remark about immigrant families being stricter, coming from different cultures: my family has been here more generations than even I know, and the farthest thing away from standard white bread american I have in me is something like a sixteenth cherokee.

Hope that answered any questions about my... er, question, to give you all some more insight into the situation, and exactly why I think it's unfair when I act the way I do.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 4:42 PM on January 25, 2007


You're parents are, um, nuts. Just don't go too crazy in college, Ok?
posted by Good Brain at 4:45 PM on January 25, 2007


8 o'clock (9 o'clock on weekends) is sufficiently unreasonable that there's something wrong.

It has to be excluding you from a lot of socializing -- for example, you can't even do something like have dinner with your friends without constantly worrying about the time, forget about seeing a movie afterwards. Having been an outsider in school, I'd fear that that would also happen to you.

I'd expect that 8 o'clock would be a curfew for a 10-year old in the summer -- "be back before dark". It's not close to normal for a 17-year old.


Is there background we don't know about? Did you lose a sibling or your parents lose an uncle or aunt somehow? Is there some reason that your parents have to distrust you?

I think your parents owe you some sort of explanation. Were it I, I'd say, as sweetly and cheerfully as you can manage, "I'll abide by your unreasonable curfew because I owe you that respect -- but in my heart, I must believe that the reason you do this is because you have no trust in me whatsoever. Soon I'll be leaving this house and I'll have to set my own rules. If you care about my future, you should help me with this transition."

On the other hand, it might be that your parents are intrinsically unreasonable. I'd say a third of my friends at least are this way -- unfortunately, this is also the most screwed up third.

In this case, it's not worth rebelling -- make your objections known, believe in yourself and your power to make correct decisions, but stick with it, it's only a year, and then you'll soon be in a position where they can't tell you what to do. Take the long view -- it's always hard (and you risk getting ponderous, like some 20-somethings I've met who were saving for retirement!) but it's always a good strategy to examine any situation on multiple time-scales, short, medium, long and very long term (very long term is 10 years and over, for a modern human...)

Best of luck to you!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:05 PM on January 25, 2007


On preview: thanks for the extra information!

Well, the chances are they won't bend (but I still recommend my approach above :-D). You seem to have excellent judgement, I think you should handle it as you see fit, bearing in mind that they are in fact being unreasonable by almost anyone's standards.

I'd guess you're an only or perhaps a first child and this is a symbol of how important you are to them -- so I'd guess that there is going to be more stress when you actually leave, perhaps plan with that in mind?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:12 PM on January 25, 2007



It has to be excluding you from a lot of socializing -- for example, you can't even do something like have dinner with your friends without constantly worrying about the time, forget about seeing a movie afterwards. Having been an outsider in school, I'd fear that that would also happen to you.


I have been an outsider for years, and have just this past year or two turned into my current sociable self. So I'm kind of worried about being realienated because of my inability to get out and do what most everyone else in my age group does.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 5:14 PM on January 25, 2007


Is there background we don't know about? Did you lose a sibling or your parents lose an uncle or aunt somehow? Is there some reason that your parents have to distrust you?


I'd guess you're an only or perhaps a first child

I am kind-of an only child. I have one half-sister, my father's daughter (raised by her mother after their very brief marriage), who is 19 years my senior. Considering that a month after she turned 17, she was having what I assume to be a shotgun wedding, I don't think I'm doing too badly for myself for not being any sort of degenerate. No other siblings, my mother's family was pretty normal, and my father's as well, aside from my uncle Bobby who we assume died of a drug overdose at the ripe old age of 49, after selling off my grandmother's possessions that I would have like to had someday.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 5:18 PM on January 25, 2007


I was a seventeen-year-old senior in the 2003-2004 school year. I also did well in school (high GPA, lots of quality extracurriculars, good SATs, etc.), didn't smoke, didn't drink, didn't do other drugs, and generally did my best to be respectful and respected. I want to emphasize that my parents didn't treat me this way for religious reasons, that they were both born in the US, and that they knew other families didn't raise their kids this way (although I don't think they realized the extent of other kids' freedoms).

Anyway, I was you -- or, more accurately, my parents were your parents -- except I couldn't go out on weeknights at all, and couldn't go out on weekend nights without advance permission for a special event.

I also had a strict mandatory bedtime (on preview: ditto on no computer in my bedroom; for awhile I hid a flashlight so I could read under the covers, but it was confiscated when found). Weeknight bedtime was 10 PM until junior year, at which point it was pushed back an hour to allow for more homework time. If I had more homework than I could do before 11 PM, I would be woken up early to finish it. Weekend bedtime was also 11 PM, IIRC.

There was also a list of other restrictions. I wasn't allowed to get a cell phone until the summer before my senior year. I was never rewarded with money, gifts, or privileges for good grades; my parents viewed this practice as a sign of the apocalypse (figuratively). I was punished for bad grades -- the definition varied depending on my classes, but generally it meant anything below a B+. B+s were met with disapproval, but not punishment.

Our family computer was in the dining room, so that whoever was using the computer had to sit literally in the house's main doorway. My parents refused to get an internet connection above 14.4 kbps dialup (yes, in 2004) for fear of what my brother and I would do with it. They installed all kinds of parental filters and chose the youngest setting. Despite those restrictions, I was never allowed to go online unless a parent was home and I asked for permission and explained what I wanted to do online.

I wasn't allowed to get into any cars not driven by an adult my parents knew (even if, say, I wanted to sit in my friend's car in a parking lot to listen to music) -- and my friends were all responsible, even in retrospect. I wasn't allowed to drive anyone else anywhere for any reason. I wasn't allowed to borrow my mom's car on weekends unless she vetted my agenda (approved stops: errands, the library) first (and you'd better believe she eyeballed the mileage when I brought the car back).

Then I went away to college (going away to college is key). I want to repeat the warnings that in the future, when restrictions are removed, you have to be careful not to make bad decisions just because you're finally able to. I was lucky enough to avoid this, but there are tons of kids who aren't. Anyway, I was finally living somewhere else. Living on your own, during college or afterwards, is the goal that you just have to wait out.

However, for now, I have one giant tip. You mention you're involved in extracurriculars -- what kind? If you're involved in student council and have meetings once a week, that's nice for you and your college applications, but not very fun. I ask because parents are likely to approve all school-sanctioned extracurriculars without thinking twice.

I was involved in several different drama clubs and in the school newspaper; both of these activities take lots of time and most meetings occur in the evening or at night. And kids who are in these groups are likely to be relaxed, cool, and about as debauched as high-schoolers get. A surprising amount of assorted shenanigans occurred at all of these meetings and rehearsals. When they ended, which, again, could be quite late at night, I'd be picked up by my parents, who were perfectly happy I was involved in extracurriculars, even ones that met after what would otherwise be my curfew.

Footnote: I came away to college in fall 2004. My brother is now a junior in high school, and a script kiddie thanks to my family's new DSL. His grades are okay, but he has no extracurriculars. He got a cell phone as soon as he began high school. He's allowed to be driven anywhere by his friends, who do drugs, drink, and drive unsafely (hopefully not all at the same time). Half the time my parents don't know who he's with or where he is. ...Something tells me you're also firstborn; am I right?
posted by booksandlibretti at 5:20 PM on January 25, 2007


Just for reference...

I'm 24 and male. By my senior year of high school, I was 17 and had an unspoken curfew of 11ish on a weeknight. Later was pushing it and my mom would usually wait up.

On weekends, I would tell them that I would be home "tonight" or "tomorrow". The division between the two was something like 6 am.

But... I am the youngest of three. My older brother and sister raised way more heck (that my parents were aware of) than I ever did. I was the kid whose friends would get later curfews because they were hanging out with me. Appearances, they are deceiving, neh?
posted by utsutsu at 5:21 PM on January 25, 2007


Your parents aren't crazy they are being parents. I didn't have a curfew as I was not allowed to go out. That is crazy.

As far as distrust, its not that, you are still a kid and as much as you may think you are won't get in trouble it is all too easy. The fact it while you are in their house, you just got to do what they say. Then when you are out you get to make the rules.
posted by stormygrey at 5:22 PM on January 25, 2007


I was involved in several different drama clubs and in the school newspaper; both of these activities take lots of time and most meetings occur in the evening or at night. And kids who are in these groups are likely to be relaxed, cool, and about as debauched as high-schoolers get.


I'll vouch for that comment. I spent a year in newspaper with meetings that lasted to midnight deadline week, and there are plenty of late-night rehearsals in theatre (where I've been since middle school). Those are allowed, but social-time is not.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 5:26 PM on January 25, 2007


Wait, so don't the extracurriculars give you a good amount of social time hanging out with friends? If you have to, you can probably get away with fudging the time a little in either direction.

In theater, I did some student-directed stuff (which, since the advisor was always busy, meant no adult supervision). I was also part of a group that drew from a bunch of different schools. Both of those were less regulated and provided more hanging-out time than plain old high-school theater. Do you have options like that? Can you tell your parents you just got more responsibility on the paper?

We're extracurricular twins! Also I totally had a flashback to midnight deadlines and hell weeks.
posted by booksandlibretti at 5:42 PM on January 25, 2007


Well, nothing really good to add that hasn't been said by a lot of people, but if you want some more good anecdotal evidence to use in your argument:

I'm a female, and graduated from high school in 2002. I had no curfew and no bedtime (this meant I often was out until 3 am, but I always got up at 5:30 in time to make it to my early morning honors french class, but we don't need to mention the 3 am thing to them.) I still did very well in school, well enough to get a full scholarship to a good school, and following that go to a great law school (where I am currently.) So, having no curfew, much less bedtime, jesus christ is bedtime insane, does not mean their precious daughter will go straight to hell.

Good luck, and rest secure in the knowledge that you'll have the time of your life in college, and it isn't that far away.

Oh, also, I'm known to many as the most level-headed rational person they know, and I credit that mostly to my parents letting me live life and make my own decisions (with the knowledge they'd always be there if I needed them.)
posted by wuzandfuzz at 5:51 PM on January 25, 2007


This bothered me beyond just 'those are ridiculous limits,' and it took a while to figure out why.

It's because setting a bedtime (especially a bizarrely early one -- just how many hours of sleep do you need?) for a seventeen-year-old makes me wonder just what else is wrong with the parents.

Given:

This isn't punishment. This is the fact that I'm restricted to the same guidelines I've had since I was twelve. They haven't ever changed.

...I don't think I was too far off. That is punishment, after a fashion.

I concur with 'your parents are nuts' and 'try not to go too nuts in college.'

I'm the oldest of four, and none of us had nonsense like that. All I can remember curfew-wise is that I had to be home by 11pm when I went to dances in grade eight. That was on the generous side, but not odd, in my peer group.

I've never been terribly clear on how curfews prevent the sort of activities that frighten parents. It's 4:20, not midnight...
posted by kmennie at 5:58 PM on January 25, 2007


It's because setting a bedtime (especially a bizarrely early one -- just how many hours of sleep do you need?)

I agree that her parents overdo it, but, the belief that we need eight hours of sleep is quite mainstream.
posted by desuetude at 6:06 PM on January 25, 2007


I never really went out on weeknights, but on weekends, no curfew, just call home at 11:30. That bedtime requirement is particularly ridiculous though. More often than not I would put off assignments/studying until 10pm or later and end up finishing things at 2:30 or so in the morning. Not that I recommend doing that.
posted by juv3nal at 6:09 PM on January 25, 2007


My kids are 13 and 15 they have curfew at 8, bedtime at 10 on school nights. No curfew on weekends, as long as I know where they are.

But who cares? I'm not your mom, and your parents don't care what I think. They do, however, care about you, and that is your one strength in negotiation.

Nobody has kids so one more person in the world will think they're an asshole. Your parents love you, and want you to love them. They don't want to be prison guards; they want to know about your life and what you do. Yes, more than you want them to know -- more than you think is their business. You probably tell them as little as you can -- not because you have something to conceal, but because you want independence of mind at least, since they have your body on lock-down. They figure you may indeed have something to conceal, or their feelings are hurt, and so they decide that if you are under their eyes nothing can go wrong, and so... you'll goddamn well be home. It's self-perpetuating. Unfortunately for you, they have the power.

But there is something you can do. Give them what they want -- let them know you. Tell them about your day, your friends, your teachers, your life. Obviously this is going to be the, shall we say, non-controversial version. If they irritate you too much when you are telling them about your friends and other personal stuff, ask them about the news of the day or something. Ask them about their days. Just talk to them. You want them to feel that they know who you are, that they pretty much know what your friends are like, that they know how you think and what you would do in a situation. You want them to feel that you recognize they are people just like you, maybe interesting people worth listening to. Not assholes.

Give this two weeks or so, and only then try revisiting the curfew issue. Level with them -- I know that my not really talking just made you think I had something to hide, so I have been trying to be more open with you. I don't have anything to hide; I'm a good kid, and I am not going to let you down. It's hard when my friends -- you know [friend they approve] and [other friend they approve] -- want to see a late movie or just go to Waffle House and talk and I have to be home so early. I just want a chance to prove to you that you can trust me. Then leave. Don't push for a specific outcome yet -- just let them chew on that. They'll probably come to you with a revised, better curfew (yay!) if they don't, ask them the next day So, dad -- did you think about what I said?

If it doesn't work right away, just keep smiling, and keep working it. You now have the moral high-ground, and they know it, so they will inevitably come around -- or they know they'll have to just embrace the asshole role, which it is unlikely they want to do.
posted by Methylviolet at 6:21 PM on January 25, 2007


I haven't had a bed time since I was 13. My curfew at that time was midnight. From 15-17 I just had to let my parents know whether or not I would be home that night so they could lock up the house. Now my parents will call me just to say hi and see if I'm still alive if I've been gone for two days or more and haven't talked to them. Your parents are kind of crazy. Have you thought about living in your car until college?
posted by JackarypQQ at 6:47 PM on January 25, 2007


OP, have you ever betrayed your parents' trust in the past?
posted by k8t at 7:09 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm 17 and I don't really have a curfew. My mom takes it on a case by case basis, which is nice because she usually explains her reasons to me. Generally I think, if I'm doing stuff with my friends, midnightish would be my curfew on the weekends, but then some of my friends have stricter parents than me (like crazy strict, controlling, totally not normal strict) and our schedule gets decided by who has the earliest curfew or w/e. But then again, I'm also a nerdy girl who doesn't do much on the weekend anyway, at night at least. As far as weeknights go, I pretty much decide that stuff myself and I think my mom likes me to get to bed before 1:00 (I start school at 8:00).
posted by MadamM at 7:13 PM on January 25, 2007


MetaTalk
posted by bigmusic at 7:18 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm 24. When I was in high school, weeknights I was expected to be home reasonably early, save for school activites like rehearsals and stuff like that.

On the weekends, I had no curfew. I just had to tell my folks where I was going and when to expect me home. If I was going to be (significantly) late, I needed to call and let them know. It was pretty great; I'd call and say I was going to be late, and the response was usually a sleepy sounding 'okay, thanks for the call, HighTechUnderpants.'

My parents are pretty rad.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 7:43 PM on January 25, 2007


My curfew was usually 9PM on weekdays and midnight on weekends, I was allowed to stay out later provided I called my parents and told them where I was and who I was with. My parents were pretty laid back about it, but in high school, everything your parents do seems unfair. (Oh, this was a little more difficult then that it is now. This was pre-cellphone.)

I think your parents could give you a little more freedom - certainly extending your curfew an hour or two seems reasonable - but they probably have their reasons for why they'd like you home early. Talk to them, try to see where they're coming from and figure it out rationally before you decide they're "out of touch." Perhaps they are, or perhaps they just care an awful lot about you and don't want to spend their nights worrying about where you are.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:57 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm 26; I graduated from high school in '98. My curfews matched yours until I'd graduated from high school at 18. At 19 and 20, still living at home and going to community college, I didn't have any curfews (as long as I told them where I was going and when I'd be home, and kept to my word) but I stayed in the 'pattern' of being in bed by 10 pm until I moved out, out of pure courtesy for my parents and sister. I also had a job in college that required me to be up at 4am, so it was convenient.

Strangely enough, when I go home to visit, I usually fall immediately back into the 10pm bedtime schedule.

They aren't doing you any harm, and are teaching you some good habits. Your world will not end because you have to go to bed. Maybe you should listen to them about those habits, and about why they exist, instead of being, well, a teenager? At 26, I sure wish I'd listened to my parents more when I was 16-20.
posted by SpecialK at 8:03 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm a senior, and on a bad night, it gets as late as 2:00 AM or 3:00 AM. On average, around 12:00-12:30.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 8:04 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm a little lenient, plus I have very "street smart" foster kids. But the curfew for school nights is 11:00, and for weekends is 1:00 a.m.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:07 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm going to provide DISSENT!

I don't think your parents are crazy or unreasonable (except for the bedtime thing--they should let you choose how much sleep you are getting as long as you aren't disturbing them). Letting you have a car is a huge offer of trust on their part.

I feel like I'm missing some important details here. Like . . . do you tend to do things with your family frequently? Are you expected to be at dinner and eat as a family? For me, the "curfew" on weeknights was non-existant, by which I mean "You are expected to be home for dinner unless we get at least a week's notice." My weeknight activities were being at home, doing homework, eating dinner with family. Exceptions made for school activities only.

Weekends, my curfew was 10, because I had to not disturb my parents, who were early and light sleepers. Once, I went out with a friend and her mother, got home at around midnight, and on coming home, my mother was livid. She was angry because she was worried about me more than anything else. What time do your parents go to sleep?

Your social life will not be an eternal failure because of these restrictions right now. Go away to college, live away from home, and make good decisions. You'll meet piles of people who won't care what your parents were like when you were in high school.

Perhaps what they really want is to be able to interact with you a little more before you leave them to go off somewhere and be whatever you become. If you were to always get home after they go to sleep, they would never see you, and I can only imagine that would make them feel pretty abandoned and used. Are you making your own money that you spend?

Definitely don't tell them that they are unreasonable. Ask them why they do it. If they refuse to explain, then they are being unreasonable, but still don't call them that.
posted by that girl at 8:22 PM on January 25, 2007


When I was a high school senior, curfew at my mom's house was technically 11pm on weekdays, but in practice that meant that I just needed to call if I'd be later. I also got up at 6am, so I rarely wanted to stay out late on school nights. My younger sister regularly stayed out til 1 or 2am, which my mom was okay with cause she was usually studying (really!).

My dad, remembering his own youth, never set a time: "A curfew just means you have to drink faster."
posted by hippugeek at 9:04 PM on January 25, 2007


Nine is early.
posted by spaltavian at 9:25 PM on January 25, 2007


My parents are real hardasses about curfew. (I'm 22 now, btw.)

In HS, I had to be home by 10pm if I was being dropped off by a friend's parents (I was never allowed to be driven anywhere by my friends, it always had to be their parents). I could stay out until 11pm if my parents were picking me up. However, I had to give them an exact location on where I would be, with an address, phone numbers of my friends parents as well as first and last names of everyone who would be there. (Yes, excessive, I know.)
On the weekends, this was extended to 11pm/midnight if I didn't have a tournament (I played volleyball.) If I did have a tournament, I was usually with my dad anyways.

I never had a set bedtime, but my ass had to be out of bed and ready to go to school by the time my dad was ready to take me. (He drove me because the bus picked me up before 5am.)

In college, I did go a bit crazy with the idea of no curfew/set bedtime, but I learned quickly that if I didn't get to bed until 5am, getting up for an 8am class was a bitch.

Now that I'm back in my parents house (grad school), it's harsh. I have to call whenever I change locations. (So if I'm going to a club and taking the metro, I have to call when I get to the metro stop, call when I reach my destination metro stop, call when I reach the club, and everything in reverse when I leave.) I'm also supposed to be in by 3am, but that's not as harshly enforced.

On the other hand, my brother was a big ole slacker who would bail and not tell my parents anything, which is why they were so hard on me.

Maybe try striking a deal with your parents, some type of probationary period. Something along the lines of: "Since I've been doing really well in school and sticking to the curfew you've set, can I have an extended curfew until 10/11/12 for two weeks/a month and if I screw up or don't tell you where I'm going, I'll go back to the old curfew?"

Note: When I was in HS, I didn't have a cell phone or a license so it was a bit harder for me to screw around. Also, I wasn't a big partier then so YMMV.
posted by sperose at 10:15 PM on January 25, 2007


Haven't read through all of the responses, given that this is a last-minute trawl through AskMe before going to bed (ironically enough, although it *is* 2:22 as I write).

I'm a 17 year old female, East-Asian if it matters. My parents have long since given up on imposing a bed-time as I stay up ridiculous amounts to work on projects, though I try to get to bed by around midnight or 1 AM, mostly because I myself need it. I have to get up around 8 AM to be in school by 9, though more often than not I'm up at 6:30 to get to school by 8 and cram a bit more...

Going-out wise, I'm not big on parties, exacerbated by the fact that my parents really disapprove of anything that doesn't involve studying or schoolwork... The latest I've stayed out till is midnight, for Coffee House and such. If I *am* out late, and they know I have a safe way home, and I have my cell phone with me, they're usually cool with it. (though come to think of it, babysitting till 2 AM isn't th best example...)

My fam's generally independent and laissez-faire though, as long as my grades stay up. Hence the lax bedtime. By our age, I personally find it ridiculous to have a bedtime imposed, because... well, you don't *need* ten hours of sleep a night. I get restless if I get ten hours of sleep every night for extended periods of time, given that I'm used to 6 on good days. You're old enough to figure out what you need, and making mistakes is the way to learn. (Example, I pulled several all nighters in a row with catnaps in between when my parents were out of town for a week. The subsequent crash made me realize the thrill of staying up and trawling through websites isn't worth it, at all. Though two of those allnighters, in my defense, *were* for school.

Sorry for the length of this response. >.>
posted by Phire at 11:29 PM on January 25, 2007


Could your half-sister's possible shotgun wedding at age 17 be part of the reason your dad wants to do things right by you, and has gone overboard in wanting to control your social life?

A ten o'clock bedtime, for criminy's sake? And you have a job weekends? In high school, I never went out or had a social life--with the boyfriends I did have, I hung out at home, usually mine, but occasionally theirs--but I would have had to drop a great deal of my responsibilities and/or extracurriculars to get to bed by ten. I haven't been your age in over a decade, but supervise several students your age as part-time employees, and any of them would consider your situation severe--none of them get home from work by ten on the nights they work, and most of them have extracurriculars that run into the evening hours on the nights they don't--and they have to do their homework sometime.
posted by Cricket at 12:34 AM on January 26, 2007


When I was a teenager, I *certainly* didn't have a set bed time... I went to bed when I felt like it. My mom wouldn't let me miss school if I stayed up too late, so I knew what was reasonable as far as going to bed. No curfew, either, just had to let my mom know where I was. As a result, I never really went crazy and stayed out super late. It would be a rare occasion when I wasn't home by 10 on a weekday, and 1 (latest, 2) on a weekend. On the other hand, my younger sister was given the same leeway, and she pretty much went ABSOLUTELY BATSHIT OUT OF CONTROL. But I think that was more out of rebellion towards my good behaviour than any reflection on my mom's parenting :)
posted by antifuse at 1:04 AM on January 26, 2007


Oh, and this was growing up in Mississauga, Ontario in the early-mid 90's - so there wasn't *that* much trouble that one could get into, *really*... at least not compared to some other places that one could grow up :)
posted by antifuse at 3:15 AM on January 26, 2007


I'd work on the bedtime rather than the curfew. The curfew, while, restrictive, seems like a somewhat rational, if conservative, restriction. But the bedtime is literally absurd for a 17 year old. If you demonstrate that you can manage to get enough sleep on your own without supervision, maybe they'll chill a bit?

Also, a word of advice: go FAR AWAY to college. Like, halfway across the country. Otherwise they're going to be "popping in" to your dorm room and checking up on your sleep schedule.

And finally, you didn't say it explicitely, but it sounds like your dad has some serious anger management problems verging in verbal abuse, if he's cowed your mom and you as much as you describe. Have you thought aboiut investigating a support group or group therapy? Might help with the transition to adulthood.
posted by miss tea at 4:43 AM on January 26, 2007


I feel like I'm missing some important details here. Like . . . do you tend to do things with your family frequently? Are you expected to be at dinner and eat as a family? For me, the "curfew" on weeknights was non-existant, by which I mean "You are expected to be home for dinner unless we get at least a week's notice."


We do not frequently "do things" as a family, but we do eat dinner together almost every night. Most afternoons if I go out, I'm home before 6:30 just for that reason. If I know I'm not going to be home for dinner, I call and ask if it's okay. My mother and I, however, have a great relationship, and we set aside Saturday mornings/afternoons to just dawdle around, shop, talk, get lunch together, if I'm not working.

Could your half-sister's possible shotgun wedding at age 17 be part of the reason your dad wants to do things right by you, and has gone overboard in wanting to control your social life?

Up until I was about 12, my father didn't even exist at home. I barely saw him, and I got rather used to it that way, with just me and mom. He'd never be home except to yell at me, it seemed... then we had a couple businesses go under, and he started to work from home, and since then, he is home ALL. THE. TIME. As long as he is home, he wants to control everything that goes on. I think he's trying to make up for the fact that he controlled pretty much jack for the first two thirds of my life, but he kind of chose the wrong time. Not that there would have been a right one.

And finally, you didn't say it explicitely, but it sounds like your dad has some serious anger management problems verging in verbal abuse, if he's cowed your mom and you as much as you describe. Have you thought aboiut investigating a support group or group therapy? Might help with the transition to adulthood.

Heh, I thought I made that pretty clear. That *is* one of the problems, and why he is unnaproachable (and mom is relatively useless in reasoning with him). I doubt I need therapy- but over the years he's just caused me to take step back after step back, until he looks more like some evil stepmother than my real father.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 6:00 AM on January 26, 2007


Datapoint:

During the week, I couldn't go out unless it was for school (newspaper deadlines and the like).

During the weekend, I couldn't stay out past, I think, midnight.

This was in the mid-90s, in DC and the immediate (walking-distance) suburbs.
posted by Alt F4 at 6:00 AM on January 26, 2007


Oh. As a follow-up, I could be up as late (in the house) on weeknights as I needed to be to get my work done. I had a lot of homework on most nights, so I usually was up until 12 or so most weeknights.
posted by Alt F4 at 6:04 AM on January 26, 2007


For the curious out to try and prove I'm a 40-something or somesuch, I've posted some explanations in MetaTalk, for those watching it.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 6:17 AM on January 26, 2007


Data-point: Only child from a middle-class background, finished highschool in 2002. To me, the idea of a strictly-enforced 10pm "bedtime" during your senior year is more or less absurd. I worked 5-10pm in retail Junior and Senior year, and did my homework around that schedule, so usually I went to bed between 11 and midnight . After sophomore year, my parents never particularly told me when to be in bed, it was more a matter of "well, I know my alarm will be going off at 6:10 and I don't want to be exhausted." Before this, the closest thing I had to a curfew was my father strongly suggesting I get the heck to bed if I was still on the computer past 10:30 or so.

I agree with everyone who says that both the curfew and the bedtime are more or less absurd, but I think you'll have more luck challenging the bedtime first, because it's more directly absurd, and you can make the argument that you'll still be under supervision. After they realize that allowing you to (gasp) be up 'til 10:30 or 11:00 doesn't destroy your life, you may have more leverage re: staying out later.

Granted, I'm male. I have not, nor do I ever plan to be female, so I can't really speak to the issue of overprotective parents of impressionable young women. :p
posted by Alterscape at 9:05 AM on January 26, 2007


Data point:

My brother and I (college student and recent grad, respectively) didn't have curfews, per se, at any point really. On school nights we had to be in at a "reasonable" time, usually defined as before 10PM, unless there was some special school requirement/social event that necessitated an exception. On weekends we didn't have curfews at all. Like some other posters, Mom always wanted a general idea of where we were going/who we would be with, but she never said, "Be home before Xtime or else."

Mostly, our lack of curfew on the weeknights was due to my mother's fear that we would be speeding home to make curfew and end up in a car accident. This happened quite a bit to people in my high school, and she'd rather we came home late, safely. (Her attitude also had to due with the fact that she got up to plenty of trouble in high school while also never breaking curfew; she was perfectly aware that drinking and sex could happen just as easily at 9PM as it could at 1AM.)

By the time we were seniors in high school, we hardly had any limits of any kind on our behavior. We were going away to college in a few months, for heaven's sake! Kids need freedom while they still have a safety net, lest they move away and really fuck things up.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 9:20 AM on January 26, 2007


Scratch "on the weeknights" from "Mostly, our lack of curfew on the weeknights" - it should be just "Mostly, our lack of curfew".

Also, my brother was male (obviously) and I was female. Our differences in maturity levels played a part in our parents' decisions re: what was permissable, but never our genders.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 9:23 AM on January 26, 2007


I have a just-about-to-be 17 year old junior. On schoolnights, home by ten with special dispensation if I'm convinced the event is worth it and chores have not been neglected (mostly). She manages her own 'bedtime'-- she's exhausted, or needs to stay up late with homework, or is just restless, teenage-y. She's good about getting up in the morning, with the very occasional oversleep.
On weekends, home by 1 a.m. Not a second later unless there's been a phone call with a really good reason why. Also, I need to know where she is and with whom, and if the venue changes ('we're going to a party on the upper west side -- oops, it was a drag, we want to go to brooklyn') I must be called and ASKED if it's ok.

YMMV -- we live in NYC and I don't have drinkin'n'drivin worries.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:27 AM on January 26, 2007


Mom IS more lenient, but far too scared of shouting screaming anger-management issues redneck father to stick up for me once he starts yelling, most of the time.

Kind of sounds like he might flip out(and possibly try to force you to go somewhere closer and live at home) if you bring up anything about going nuts/staying out late when you get to college, but you'd be a better judge of whether that's the case than any of us.

My (fairly off-topic) advice would be to just get a job as soon as you can so that you can be financially independent and move out ASAP (Even if it's only part-time, that's still work experience and money you can save towards future rent).

Taking summer and winter session classes also sounds like a good idea, if they're offered. If you feel like you can't take classes year-round because you'll go batty without the break, you can schedule a semester that's entirely/mostly classes that will be easier/less stressful for you and it'll be like a break. (And only you know which ones those will be: it'll probably be non-introductory-level ones in subjects you're interested in and good at--don't just go for the ones everyone says are soft. Either that, or three or four online courses you know you can breeze through with minimal effort, plus one regular class so you have to be on campus and can't just take them all from home.) If you don't want to delay graduation you should try to pick them from your major/minor or gen ed requirements, but if your major is something you're interested in and good at, you should have lots of choices. (This also lets you say, "Well, it's required for ___ so I have to take it," when your parents want to know what classes you're taking. Not to mention that if you have a few elective slots left over for your last couple semesters, it'll be a bit easier to put together your schedule.)
posted by sleeplessunderwater at 11:11 PM on January 26, 2007


Re: classes during break. I didn't have to lie to my folks to tell them why I wanted to stay at school -- I came up with reason that were true. Not having a curfew was just a perk. I took classes that I didn't want to have to handle during my regular course schedule, either because they were extra-challenging or to fulfil distribution requirements. To get one of my required science credits out of the way, I took an intensive marine bio class that was half all-day lectures, half field work, and it was one of the most memorable and fulfilling classes I ever took.

Take the high road with your folks. Come up with better uses of your time than what their strict schedule permits.
posted by desuetude at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2007


I was allowed to stay out till 12 every night, but I also had a job since I was 16, and I was often there until 10:30, had a 30:min drive home, and was too tired to stay out the remaining hour.

9pm on a weekend seems a bit harsh, but it's only a few more months till you're done with high school. Are you planning on living with them in college? If not, it won't matter then.
posted by jesirose at 8:36 AM on January 29, 2007


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