Curfew for 18 year olds

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Turning 18 in senior year

Oct 2011

I was wondering how other folks handled their child turning 18 during senior year, and what home rules changed or didnt? mine seems to think it will be anything goes, as much as we say it wont. what have others done about curfews, alcohol, and other choices that kids are making at 18 but parents arent approving of? what about consequences, did they change? were they enforced? i know we're in for some trouble and wanted to hear how others approached this time. thanks ! anonymous

Think about what leverage you have, and use it as well as you can. Do you pay for your child's entertainment, car, car insurance, gas, cell phone, computer time, etc.? Well, if they're old enough to do whatever they want, they're old enough to pay for all that.

It would be great if you could talk this out beforehand. You could write down the cash value of what you provide (the easy stuff, I wouldn't calculate intangibles) and say, this is the cost of being an adult. If you're not willing or able to pay for this, then you'll need to abide by house rules or there will be consequences.

So I'd say, if your child violates a curfew, you calmly say the next morning that the cell phone goes away for a week.

I bet your school counselors will have some suggestions--you're not the only folks dealing with this. glad my kids graduate at 17

My son turned 18 in senior year (and my now 16 yo will also). My son(now 20 and away at college) was not difficult so we didn't have to struggle too much... If he was living in our house and we were supporting him, then our rules were the rules he had to observe. We were lenient w/ curfew, but he had to call us and check in if he was staying out later then agreed upon time. Once he moved out, even though we are still supporting him he could make his own decisions. I like to think that our firmness during high school taught him to be sensible on his far so good. Good luck. anon mom

Both of my kids turned 18 during their senior years - one quite early in October and the other in January. Not much changes, and it sounds like you are saying that to your child and need to continue, maybe amplify it. Legally, very little changes for them. Alcohol is still illegal. I can only think of two things: one, if they are new drivers, as my son was, the restrictions on who they can drive with disappear. Two - and this is worth repeating - any legal trouble they get into, they will face the full force of the law as adults, not minors.

Our kids had the same curfews, the same rules about drugs and alcohol. Those rules were focused on their health and safety and their ability to do their job, which was succeed in high school. They are still financially dependent and as such owe us the respect of following our rules in our home. But I won't lie, there were lapses and boundary pushing and we tried to not loose all perspective while still standing firm behind our principles. We did do some things to honor and acknowledge the milestone. But they are mainly about responsibility, rather than license. Registering to vote was a big deal. Males have to register for selective service - at least if they will be applying for college and student aid - and that led to some interesting discussions. Does your child have a checking account and debit card? If not, they can start on that, if so, is there a way to give them more freedom/responsibility with their money?

It's a tough balance, you want them to grow and to acknowledge the milestone, but practically very little changes. The real change is with high school graduation and what comes after, not the birthday. From a mom whose oldest turns 21 in 3 days - now there's a birthday with some real impact! been there

My son turned 18 over the summer and he is still at home and is a senior in high school . Nothing has changed. He has the same restrictions, same rules to follow, etc., as he did when he was younger. My feeling is that he lives in my home, under my rooftop, I pay the bills, buy the food, etc., etc. He is still under my charge and is my responsibility, so he needs to follow my rules. And, yes, we have argued about this (his wanting to smoke pot at home now that he's 18, stay out later, etc.), but I have stuck to my guns about this and he knows he can't. I think the problem is that parents cave in and allow their children to make the rules, do what they want, and yet, we still have all the legal and financial responsibilities. I would say, ''don't cave in''. been there

Teen curfew for an 18-year old son

Feb 2011

What is an appropriate curfew for an 18 yr. old boy? My son is a senior in h.s. and after he turned 18, he feels that he should have more liberties, i.e. staying out until 3 or 4:00 a.m. on weekends. He has been going to teen clubs in S.F. which close at 3:00 a.m. He drives his friends to these clubs or they take BART. When he asks ''Why?'' can't he stay out late, I have no answer, other than I want him home safe. That does not go over very well. Presently, his curfew is 2:00 a.m. which he hates. I am surprised that the other kids' parents allow such a late curfew. He is a good kid and his grades are above average. It is gotten so difficult negotiating every weekend, he is upset and I am frustrated. Please help with ideas, insights, information, anything is appreciated. regina

Even though your son is 18, if he lives in your house, he has to follow your rules. You don't really have to give a reason, though you may get along better if you do! My kids have a curfew because I can't sleep well until they come home. If this is true for you, then say that. I would make it midnight myself! And perhaps occasional exceptions till later, even 3 or 4, for a special event. By the way, I used to ask my son to wake me up when he got home because I would often fall asleep and then wake up and be unsure whether he had come home and finally go to his room to check, which really disturbed my sleep. Then I put an alarm clock outside my bedroom door set to the time of his curfew and told him to turn it off when he came home. This works really well--if the alarm goes off I know he has not come home in time and I can start worrying! (Of course, he could come home, turn it off, and leave again, but no system is perfect...) Still the boss

You probably have some bargaining chips if you want to play hardball. You could stop giving him money. Take away his computer when he isn't doing homework. Put limits on cell phone use. Or take the door off his room. But I don't recommend any of that. I suggest you have a discussion with him about the pros and cons of staying up late. Get in touch with the other parents and see what they say. Are you sure he is at nightclubs? Maybe he is really out with a girl and you should be talking about condoms. After you have had the discussion, just let him do what he wants. There is no way to win this battle. If you actually get him to come home at an earlier hour, he will resent you and make your life miserable in other ways. Parents don't really have control over their kids once they get to middle school. I suggest that you keep complimenting him on his grades or whatever else he does well, and give up the rest. Sanon

how about this: He's living in your house, you are supporting him, therefore he must follow your rules. My son is now 20 and a college student in another state. When he's at home he's expected to communicate where he's going and when he'll be back. He's generally expected to be home by midnight and to text if he's going to be later. He's expected to respond promptly if I text him. We put this in the context of our concern for his safety and courtesy to other members of household. So far he's been agreeable to our policy. He hasn't been out past 2am, he's generally back about 12am and has communicated if he'll be later with an updated eta. imho, bad things happen in the early am hours. other people with poor impulse control who have consumed too much alcohol or drugs are out either looking for victims or not paying attention to the impacts of their actions. also a parent

Curfew for 18 yo, living at home

August 2009

I have a question regarding setting a curfew for our 18 yo son. He will be living at home while he attends the local community college. I recognize that he is an ''adult'' and yet it seems reasonable that there be house rules. He is very responsible in almost every area of his life. He just is a night owl, and thinks nothing of returning home at 3am and 4am. There is no alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, etc....just hang time with friends. We get tired when we wake up when he returns, so it is a problem for my husband and me. Any suggestions? Am I being too rigid?

I was having the same issues. Though my daughter will be leaving in Sept., we had the whole summer stretching out before us and I had to put my foot down. So, here's where we're at: weeknights 12:30, weekends open. She needs to tell me where she is and what time she will be home, even on the weeknights. Part of it is for safety reasons and part for my own sanity (and sleep). Good luck! anon

I have an 18 yr old who lives away from home now (which I am really happy about since we had lots of struggles about rules). I think that as the parent and ''landlord'' you do have the right to establish house rules (like wash your dishes when you're done, no smoking in the house, etc). I don't think you have a right to establish a curfew for him, but I do think you have the right to set up a system so you are not woken up every night! So if there is no way for him to get in without waking you up, then essentially yes, you are going to set a curfew, but don't describe it to him that way :) And perhaps have some flexibility re weekends? Good Luck!