Many parents are stumped when it comes to curfews for their adult children that are still living at home. You may even wonder whether a curfew is necessary or how to get your adult child to comply with your household rules. You might also wonder whether giving a curfew to a 19-year-old is a good idea in general.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on a curfew, including the maturity of your adult child, what they are doing when they leave home, and whether or not they generally follow the rules of the household or not. Additionally, it’s important to consider the needs of your child and the general safety of your neighborhood, and where your child will be spending their time.
For most families, curfews and other household rules are extremely unique and personal to the family that they apply to. Not every family will need a curfew and for those that do, the curfews they set will be tailored to fit their needs.
Is a Curfew Necessary?
For some adult children, a curfew will not be necessary, as they will be mature enough to realize that what they do affects the whole household. Those children will not arrive home overly late, will courteously call to let you know where they are if they are going to be late, and will generally consider your concerns as well as their own. For these children, you may simply need only to explain a concern as it arises.
Consider your motivations for enforcing a curfew. If the curfew is being set to guide your child so that they can maintain a healthy balance in their life, or to help the family maintain a balance between freedom and safety, these can be important reasons to establish a curfew. However, if your motivation is to use the curfew to be punitive, it will likely not have a positive effect on your child and your child may decide to rebel against the curfew in revenge.
Additionally, adult children under the age of 25 are still capable of making rash decisions and errors due to their brain still developing. Many young adults don’t consider the consequences of their actions. Providing them with a curfew might help them to avoid decisions that could have devastating consequences.
Things to Consider:
1. Child’s Maturity
If your child is mature they will generally follow your rules and guidelines. This may determine what time you set a curfew if you set one at all. If your child is generally conscientious of when the family goes to sleep, whether there are pets that will wake everyone when they come home, or whether or not you might be worried, they might establish a curfew for themselves.
However, if your adult child is immature and doesn’t consider the needs of others you may have to put a firm boundary in place. A curfew for your 19-year-old can go a long way toward establishing important boundaries in your adult child’s life. It gives them structure and guidance to help them learn and grow. The exact curfew time will depend on the needs of your family.
2. 19-Year-Old’s Activities Outside the Home
Where your child is going may also determine what time you set their curfew. For example, if your child is planning to go to a friend’s house that you know is a safe environment for them, it may not trouble you for them to be out for long hours in the middle of the night. If they are planning to hang out in a park or a bowling alley, you might feel differently. Considering where your child will be may help you decide what an appropriate curfew is.
Special events may also require special curfews. If your child has an already established curfew, a special curfew may be put in place in the case of a special event. Some events that can cause them to be home late include concerts, school functions, and local events. You may want to give your 19-year-old a special curfew so that they can attend these functions if you feel that they are reasonably safe to do so.
3. Child’s Needs
Does your child often oversleep and arrive late for work or college classes? If so, you may want to consider your child’s sleep needs before you set a curfew. Again, curfews provide guidance and structure. When considering what time to set the curfew, consider how many hours of sleep your child generally needs.
Additionally, consider whether your child needs the structure of a curfew to keep them on a healthy, regular schedule. Some young adults forget that a regular schedule can be a healthy part of their lives. If your child consistently sleeps well into the afternoon and it’s preventing them from maintaining a healthy balance, you may factor that into your consideration about how late your child stays out. After all, even though your child is an adult, you still care about their well-being and can positively influence their life.
4. Child’s Safety
Where you live may be a determining factor in what time you set your 19-year-old child’s curfew. If you live in a rural area, for example, you may feel that your child is quite safe at their friend’s house and for the drive home. Likely it won’t keep you up at night worried about their safety. However, if you live in an urban area where there is more night time crime, you might be awake and worried about whether or not your child will get home safely. It is important to research your location and determine how safe the area is for your child before determining their curfew.
5. Child’s Freedom
Probably one of the most important factors to consider when setting a curfew is the freedom of your child. As a 19 year old, your child is an adult. As a result, they will expect some level of freedom in coming and going as they please. It’s important to understand that as a child ages it is natural to gain freedom as they show they are mature enough to handle it. It is a healthy part of development.
It may be helpful to consult your child about what they think is a fair curfew at 19-years-old. If your child is mature enough to care about how their actions affect others, then it might be beneficial to explain your concerns about their curfew. This establishes mutual respect for their rights and freedoms as an adult. Together you can establish a curfew that you both agree upon which takes the other factors into consideration.
Once I became an adult, I didn’t have a curfew as long as I told my parents where I was going to be and was making good choices. I was lucky in that they trusted my decisions. Looking back at the age of 19, I did make a few poor choices like going out to hang out with friends in a parking lot in the middle of the night, staying late at a restaurant until the early hours of the morning, and then arriving late to work. I generally learned from my mistakes, however, a curfew might have provided me with a little more structure.
A curfew is a personal decision that each parent must make. It’s not a decision that can be answered for you. If you consider each of the factors outlined above, however, you will be well on your way to making an informed decision that can be worked out with your child.