What time do you expect a teenager home?

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Since making new friends who get to go home at God knows what time, DD has pushed the boundaries more and more. Now it's the school holidays she expects to stay out as late as they do, and they basically hang out on the bus, or fast food places, in the shopping centre etc. She's not home now although we asked her (nicely) to be home by 10pm. She's nearly 16. I think that's more than late enough. She saw them last night and plans to see them tomorrow. Short of locking her in which we wouldn't do she knows we can't stop her. No amount of calmly talking through dangers helps as she sees her friends taking risks and apparently getting away with it. We're at our wits end. The only penalty we can think off that would be meaningful would be to take her phone off her, but that would leave us unable to stay in contact which would be worse all round. Would love to know what the rules are around this in your household and if you can get your teenager to keep to them.

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There is no right or wrong answer to your question, I'm afraid. Our 15 year old AD has a curfew of 7:30pm on weekdays, which we extend to, maybe, 8:30pm on Saturdays. Perhaps we are over-strict but 10pm for a 15 year old would lead to sanctions such as phone removal in this household. But if you are not giving a curfew up front (as in saying "you must be home by X" then that wouldn't work.

Have you thought of spinning the question a bit? What time would you like her to be home and why?

Check out Boomerang (previously called Parent Board) - a dual app that you can download on to your phone (for control) and another's (to keep safe- the "child"). It doesn't do everything but you can see where the phone is (more than likely where your DD is); you can lock the "child" device completely (or individual apps on it, believe) at any time at will or at pre-set times. You can also see certain message traffic and be alerted to "bad language" traffic. This might not be for you but you never know, you might find it useful.

Ramble, ramble. out. Hope that helped.


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Hi can she talk to you about what reasonable is? Try and ‘strike while the iron is Cold’ and go through your concerns and get her to rate how likely they are. Maybe compare what you think and what she thinks and if there’s the slightest risk of something happening how big a worry it is to you.

At least a conversation might clarify where you stand

If she needs to be in at 10, then maybe agree if she’s not in and not responding to messages then you’ll ring the police and they’ll come find her.

Or maybe you want to put an extra level in there that you’ll remind her at 9.50 by text to start coming home. That you’re trusting her etc.

Do you have street pastors and/or the Community police (pcso’s) where you are? Perhaps they’ll help talk through your concerns and keep an eye out for your dd?

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My daughter's the same age, and pushing at the same sort of boundaries. We are clear that she is only allowed to go out if she's doing the other stuff she's supposed to do - generally on top of her homework (so far as we can tell) etc., it isn't a 'right'. And if she is late back she'll have an earlier curfew/ not be allowed out for a few days.

She likes to see her friends, so actually I think the promise of going out for a couple of hours in the evening is a reasonable incentive for her to get on and do homework when she gets in from school, rather than just lounge in front of the TV/ on her phone. I have similar reservations to you about the fact that often they're hanging round outside - but they've got my sympathy really, where else are teens supposed to go?!

In terms of times, on a school night she needs to be back by 9.00pm. On a Friday or Saturday it may be later 9.30/10.00pm. And if she is going to something specific e.g. a 'party' at someone's house then she may be able to stay until 11.00 or even 11.30, but we'd need to be sure she's going where she says she will, and check e.g. that a parent will be present at the party, and probably pick her up rather than allow her to be walked home, even if it is very local.


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Thank you all for these really helpful suggestions and sorry not replying sooner - the rollercoaster of her social life has continued to be taxing as the holiday goes on. We have talked more about it all with her, so I guess our bond with her is a bit better again, but she will not accept that there are dangers out on the streets late at night no matter what statistics or specific examples show. Even after having several somewhat scary experiences she still maintains she's safe! In this respect we are furious that her new friends who more or less do as they please have inducted her into a way of going on which has really messed up standards at home that she was ok with until lately. I've also tried getting to know a couple of the other mothers but they seemed to resent any raising of the issue with them.

I did give the idea of times home a spin which helped. I think I'd be ok with 9.30- 10pm at the very latest at weekends so the 10.30pm we're operating on is the absolute compromise - I'm not really happy with it. She's continued to be late everytime, so now we're trying to penalise lateness with not going out next time.

I like the idea of Boomerang though when I suggested it to DD was a way to keep her safe she was up in arms. If she continues to stay out late perhaps we can find a way of imposong it anyway.

Little bear, I would love an arrangement like you suggest. DD has not done homework in ages but we will see again with the start of the new term if going out can be a reward for getting homework done rather than the right she takes it to be at present.

I do remember spending hours and hours with my friends in the days before mobile phones but mostly in one another's houses so it wasn't a source of particular conflict. Beyond that in the area we lived there wasn't anywhere much to go. Modern cities are a whole different matter, but there is a problem in that there aren't many suitable places for young people to hang out together. What is driving me mad is that there are clearly so many families out there where parents let children do as they like.

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I've had similar with my DD2 now 17.

As someone said, I have tried to engage her with my worries when in a calmer spot. Like 'I'm wondering if you can help me to feel less anxious about your safety ... this is my worry ( safety etc) how can you help me with this when you are out late? Wondering and being curious generally works better for her than a more direct challenge.

After some ups and downs she agreed to text me every hour which at least meant I got contact!

Don't know your domestic situation but we also only let her go out until x time on the agreement we always dropped her off and picked her up!

A pain but again at least we knew where we had left her and where she would eventually end up!

We encouraged friends here and weathered the bribed cost of take out pizza but again depends on numbers in the group!

I found other parents rather ambivalent at times too.

The biggest help to be honest was that she got a Saturday job and was too tired to hang around as much!

School work continues to be a struggle ....

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Hi my4kids,

Yes, your list is all making sense as we're increasingly discovering now: keeping the conversations to calmer times - I like your wording for wondering. DH and I now tell one another "stay calm, just focus on getting her home etc."

We've tried the hourly contact but she still hasn't got this. We'll persist. We're up for buying pizzas etc but the friends seem to do a lot of wandering - they don't seem to do home which is frustrating. I do think the Saturday job sounds like a brilliant idea; DD would be reliable for that I think.

Thanks for your support and all the best with your DD.

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Tbh I would be most worried about these other young people and what they might be up to and especially them being groomed by older undesirables ( it does happen sadly and I know more than a few adopters whose kids have gone down this route). So I would suggest you check out your LA team for vulnerable young people as a starter. Also try to get on a NVR course as this would help you to keep your Parental Presence up despite what your daughter gets up to. It IS really difficult to control teenagers. I would definitely not take the phone away or get into anything escalatory - focus on your relationship and keep her talking to you.

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