Prevention by reining in a teen’s time away from home late at night is a good parental strategy. It is important to know where your youngsters are, especially later at night. Especially for teens when the odds go up for car crashes, sex, and other life-changing events. On the one hand, teens need independence to try their wings while still under parental control. On the other hand, they need protection from their lack of life experience and their impetuous natures.
Curfews may be easier to verify but harder to enforce. The ability to apply a curfew will lesson the possibilities for tragedy.
Mark and Cindy realized that most problems with sex, cars, drugs and alcohol occurred later. They decided to require that their 15-year-old foster son be home by 10 on weekend nights. Although far from perfect, they believed this was a reasonable precaution. They used a strategy of rewards with bonuses for late time coupled with assigned work for every fifteen minutes late to enforce the curfew. While not perfect, the results were mostly positive.
What is a good curfew time? That varies, depending upon the age of your foster child and his or her likelihood of getting into trouble. Talk it over with your teen. Then set a time you believe is reasonable. Choose an earlier time to begin with. You can lengthen it later as he or she proves to be reliable.
Since problems with drugs and sex occur when your child is away from home, a curfew allows you as a parent to relax. You do know if your teen is home or not. If he is not home when he is expected, the simplest discipline is to go get your foster teen. No need to be mean about it. Do what you can to find out where your child is, collect him or her, and bring your teen home.