With More Freedom Comes Greater Responsibility

Tweens will naturally start asking about more freedom when it comes to setting curfews. Approach this new freedom by giving more responsibility.

The tween stage of a young one’s life is pretty awkward. A tween is too old to go to bed early, yet too young to be responsible enough to stay out late at night. This is also the stage where most of the clashes between a tween and concerned parents are heightened. While parents are concerned about the safety and the amount of sleep a tween ought to get, the younger one is also insisting on testing his independence and seeing how far he can go when it comes to bargaining with parents for a greater sense of freedom.

In all truth, this is not actually wrong, but what should always be highlighted is the fact that with this new sense of freedom, responsibility is still the name of the game. Fortunately, there are some tried and tested tips and tricks that could be implemented when time-bargaining with the tween without disrupting the harmonious home life that the family has.

Talk About New Curfews With Each Other

Coming to a compromise is always a two-party thing. If the parent wants the tween to see him as a parent who has rules, but is willing to negotiate, then by all means he should show his best front. This is easily done by asking the tween about his idea of what a reasonable curfew is for both weekends and during school nights. For some adults, adjusting the Friday curfew compared to the Mondays to Thursdays is also a fair thing to do, especially since there usually is no school the following day.

After asking the tween what his school nights and weekend curfew ideas are, a parent should share his own thoughts. No matter how ridiculous or generous a parent’s concept of a curfew may be, it is best, to be honest. After all, that means there is much room to bargain, and in any healthy adult-tween relationship, coming to a satisfactory conclusion such as curfew is best achieved as a team.

Outline Expectations on the Home Front

With freedom comes great responsibility, so it is expected that the parent will clearly communicate what expectations he has of the tween. This is true of both inside the home and outside. Just because the tween has a curfew does not mean he is off the hook on chores or the things that he needs to do to give the parent a reasonable sense that he has grasped the concept of a new-found curfew.

Some primary examples of expectations include getting the chores done (either before he leaves to go out or right when he comes back and before bedtime), completion of assignments that are due during the week, amount of study time for upcoming exams, among others.

Safety First: Expectations When Out of the House

Say that the tween was able to fulfill all his responsibilities, weekdays or otherwise – what next? Should the parent let him go out automatically? Layout some ground rules for safety before he goes out. The basic ones include:

  • Letting the parents know where he is headed.
  • What he plans to do there.
  • Who he will be with.
  • How he will get home.
  • What time the parents should expect him home.

These are non-negotiable and hardly ridiculous questions for any parent to ask, but for the tween to not take this in a negative manner, make it a habit to get him to communicate such things personally without the parent acting as the Spanish Inquisition.

Arriving at a compromise with the tween regarding a curfew will never work if the parent, as the adult, will not be able to put trust in him. After everything has been agreed to, make sure that the tween knows the parent has complete confidence that he will do the right thing inside and outside the home. The extra boost of confidence may just be the difference between the child making a good decision or a wrong decision.

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