Parenting is not an easy job. It does not come with a handbook, although many of us wish it did. Being a parent often means being full of self-doubt. We question if we are making the right choices. One of the major choices you will face is how often should you let your teenager out.
As our children grow into the teenage phase, parenting becomes a lot more complicated.
This happens because at that age, children tend to start thinking for themselves without requiring your guidance. Before, they would need your guidance to play or be outside, but now, they feel like they can be independent and go out as they please.
As a parent, you want to give them the time of their lives and have fun but at the same time, you want them to be safe and doing well in other aspects of life (school and physical health).
This is when deciding how often they can go out becomes a crucial decision. There is a fine line between letting them have fun whenever and having balance.
We want them to grow into good people. We want them to be happy and to live a life that reflects our values.
Where is the line though? How do we know when to say yes and when to say no? What if we give them too much or too little freedom?
When it comes to their social lives, teens do not appreciate compromise. They believe at their age that they know it all.
They want to be treated like adults but lack the cognitive ability to make adult decisions. This is why they need our guidance to make that decision. If it was left entirely up to them, their life would be all play and no work.
So with that being said, how do we know how often to let them go?
Consider these factors
The beautiful thing about parenting is that it is not an exact science. We learn as we go. As the parent, you retain the right to change your mind at any time.
Make decisions and be firm. But remember, if it stops working you, you can always adjust the plan.
Before making a firm decision about how often you should let your teen go out, there are some things you should consider. Thinking about these other factors will help you decide how much responsibility your teen is ready for.
School is our child’s job in many cases. It is essentially an excellent indicator of how your child is doing. By the time our kids are teenagers, getting their homework done and going to class prepared falls mostly on them.
We are no longer holding their hand every step of the way and their teachers expect them to be responsible for their own actions. So how are they doing?
Monitor your teenager’s grades. If their grades indicate that they are doing the best they can and meeting expectations, that is a positive sign.
Are their assignments being turned in on time? If so, your teen is being responsible for their own deadlines. This is an important factor to note because f they are responsible in school, they will also most liely be responsible when they go out.
If they are doing poorly in school and their teachers are constantly reaching out for support, your teen may have some growing up to do before they can be trusted to be out on their own on a regular basis.
Another great factor to determine how often you should let your teenager go out is by the quality of the friends they have. Are they a good groupf od people? Are they also doing well in school?
Get to know your teen’s friends as best as possible so you can get an understanding of who your child hangs out with.
When our kids are small, it is easy to know their friends and the parents of their friends. It gets more difficult as they get older.
If your teen’s friends often come around, you will get to know them easier which is a good thing. Alternatively, if you never see your teen’s pals, there could be a reason for this as well.
Why wouldn’t these friends come around? Why wouldn’t your child want you to see who they are spending their time with?
If your child has a good group of friends that you have gotten to know, you will be more comfortable with giving them a little freedom. When deciding how often to let them go out, you can rest easy because you will know who they are with.
People bend the truth. We tell tiny white lies to avoid getting in trouble or to prevent a friend from getting hurt.
As parents, we often lie to our children. We tell them broccoli will make them grow big and strong or that we are certain there is no boogie man. Our teens are not different, they lie too. They are human and that’s okay. But are they primarily honest with you?
If your teen is honest with you about what they do and how they are feeling, this is a positive indicator that they are ready for more responsibility.
On the other hand, if your child is constantly sneaking around and lying at every opportunity, they may need to spend more time at home with you before being ready for more freedom.
This is a big one because when they are outside alone, you basically have no idea what they are doing. They can tell you one thing and turns out, they were doing something completely different.
This is why honesty is a big one. The more honest your teen is, the more time they should be allowed to go out.
4. Chores and Household Responsibilities
Is your teen helpful around the house? It is pretty common for kids to not do much more than what is asked of them.
If you ask your child to keep their room tidy and feed the household pets every day, you can monitor their behavior to see if they are responsible.
A teenager who is ready to start going out without a parent escort should be helpful. They will take care of their belongings and do what is asked of them.
If you are constantly having to clean up behind them, they have not shown that they are ready for more responsibility.
The bottom line
There is no concrete answer to how often you let your teenager go out. The best way to determine and set a system is to consider the factors above. If your child is doing well in school, has friends you like, is honest with you, and is helpful around the house, they should be able to have some form of freedom to go out.
Talk to your teen. How often do they think they should be allowed to go out? If their response is reasonable, try it.
At the end of the day, it is entirely up to you, but letting them set some time to go out will build maturity in them.
Set Ground Rules
Setting rules is a must when you are dealing with this situation.
Make sure your teen understands the importance of a curfew and checking in. Make sure your teenager knows to keep you informed of their plans and when their plans change. If they continue to do all these things, you have a situation that works.
If your teen does not respect your boundaries when out, adjust your plan. If you collectively decided they could go out three times a week, and they are not coming home on time, you can adjust the plan.
Go down to one night out per week until they have earned back some trust. If your rules are not being respected with restricted privileges, you may need to restrict more.
At the end of the day, trust your gut. You know what is best for your family. Don’t be afraid to experiment or talk to other parents for advice.
You are the parent, and you can make decisions and change your mind as you see best. Whether you like it or not, your child is growing up. Make it a positive experience for everyone involved.
Final Thoughts – How often should I let my teenager go out
Trying to determine how often you should let your teenager go out should be based on 4 factors. School, friends, honest, and responsibility.
If they are mature and understand how to take care of themselves, then they should be allowed to spend time accordingly with their friends outside.
They can even go to the local coffee shop to study so some positive things can come out of this. It is all about safety and responsibility at the end of the day.