Parents, Curfews and Trust

Love is a beautiful thing. It energises you.
She waits for me, petite, demure, a yellow scarf flying around her neck proclaiming her total and complete victory over me. Image source: Monday Raves: What’s Going Right in Your Life?

We all come to a stage in our adolescence where we start going out by ourselves, and the inevitable argument begins to crop up again and again: that of wanting to stay out later, and our parents constantly holding us back. Odds are if you are a typical teenager, you will have one friend whose parents allow them do whatever they like, and stay out till when they like with no problem whatsoever. You might also have the friend whose parents are on the other side of the spectrum and are excessively overprotective, not allowing them to do anything at all. Most people (including myself) fall in the middle ground, but perhaps you are the one subject to overly conservative parents, or you feel like you are, at any rate.

The first thing we all have to understand is that parents worry, whether they like it or not. Put yourself in their shoes. You wouldn’t like your son or daughter to be messing around at all hours of the night, by themselves, while you are completely unaware of their whereabouts. After all, our parents have no way of finding out where we are going to be and who with apart from listening to what we have to say.

This brings me to my next and most important point: TRUST. Trust is a crucial part of any relationship, but particularly with parents and children at this stage. The more your parents trust you, the more their confidence in you will grow, as will their belief that you are responsible enough to handle being on your own. Earning trust is much harder than breaking it. Lying to your parents, coming home drunk or breaking their rules are all things which could potentially destroy any trust you have built, and it will take some time before this will regenerate itself. In that time, they will most likely be even stricter than usual and extremely cautious about anything you are getting up to.

Building trust is not easy, but definitely worthwhile in the long run for both you and your parents. When it comes to curfews, you must understand that they will never increase your curfew until they feel they can trust you not to make stupid decisions and to take care of yourself. The best advice I can give you is to follow their rules as far as possible. Come home when they tell you to come home, be it 1AM or 9PM. Don’t lie to them. Be open and honest about your life; teenagers are complicated and giving them this clarity will be very relieving. Eventually, this should lead them to become aware that you are developing into a ‘mature adult’ (which you should be). This is the time when you could potentially suggest a raise in your curfew. Don’t make it excessive; be satisfied with half an hour to an hour extra.

If they refuse your proposal, DO NOT lose your temper or complain, accept their decision wisely and continue as you were doing before, waiting for some more time to pass so that you can ask them again (they might approach you themselves if they notice your mature behaviour). If they choose to agree with your suggestion, listen to their rules carefully and make sure you follow whatever they say, as there is bound to be a ‘but’ involved.

Learn to live with following rules, and soon enough, your parents should ease up on you in all aspects of your life. Good luck!

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