Setting Curfew For Teenagers: Its Reasons, Tips & Benefits

✔ Research-backed

Teen curfew refers to a set time to ensure that your teenage child comes back home, especially in the evening and night. Setting a reasonable time curfew for teenagers is crucial if your child loves attending parties or hanging out with friends after school.

While socialization is an essential aspect of a growing child’s life, it is also essential that they are safe and get enough rest to face the next day. A curfew ensures your children get enough entertainment and come home safe at an appropriate time.

Many states have teen curfew laws that do not allow teenagers in a business establishment or public place after certain hours. They must be accompanied by their parents or have a genuine reason to be out during these hours, such as attending school for a rehearsal or returning from work.

Read on to know more about the benefits of curfews for teens, their advantages, disadvantages, and a few tips on setting them.

In This Article

Why Should You Give Your Teen A Curfew?

Curfew time for teens

Image: Shutterstock

Teenagers love spending time with their peers, and therefore, when you apply restrictions and curfews, they will reject it or react negatively. While this is expected behavior from them, parents often worry about their safety and other priorities. Parents want their children to be home at a time when they can see them coming in.

Getting home too late might make the teen late for school the next day or make them miss some important appointment early in the day.

This is where teen curfew comes in. You have to set some rules regarding the time they have to come home and make them understand the importance of a curfew. A curfew ensures that your teen is safe at home and you have peace of mind.

protip_icon Quick tip
Consider establishing a digital curfew as well. This curfew restrains your children from using tablets, mobile phones, laptops, or other electronic media for specific hours, mostly at night, every day.

Benefits Of Teen Curfews

Some teens might be against teen curfews and might see it as something their parents do to control them. However, there are some benefits to imposing teen curfews.

1. Ensures teen safety

Curfew ensures teen safety

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Children, especially teenagers, are prone to crimes late at night. Teen curfews offer a sense of security and protection and ensure that children and teenagers are in the safety of their homes. A study conducted on 54 US cities with 180,000 or more residents by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that curfew laws reduce youth arrests by 10% (1).

2. Increases teen responsibility

The next step of being a teenager is becoming an adult. You need to ensure that your teen’s transition into adulthood is smooth by introducing teen curfews. A curfew helps your teens learn to be responsible about their time and the places they visit and prepares them to shoulder more responsibility as they grow.

3. Offers peace of mind to parents

Teen curfew offers peace of mind to parents

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A teen curfew not only protects your teens, but also offers the parents or guardians immense peace of mind. When your teenager is home at an appropriate time each evening, it helps you relax.

4. Provides structure

A teenager has plenty of commitments, including school and extracurricular activities for personal development. They need to have some structure in their lives to devote themselves entirely to other pursuits. Besides, teens tend to be impulsive and make hasty decisions that can hurt them in the long run. Teen curfews and certain prohibitions provide teens with structure and order and reinforce positive habits in their lives.

5. Gives your teen an excuse

If your teen is in an environment where they do not feel safe, a curfew gives them an excuse to get out of there without hurting anyone’s feelings. Besides, your teen would prefer saying, “My parents have given me a curfew. I have to be home by 10,” than saying, “I don’t like it here, and so I am leaving.”

6. Teaches time management

If you have asked your teen to be home by 11 pm, they need to manage their time so that they leave from the venue in time to reach home. Accordingly, they have to manage their other commitments around the deadline. This is important for teaching time management to teens.

Disadvantages Of Teen Curfews

While teen curfews or lockdowns have many benefits, there are quite a few disadvantages and limitations too. You might have to become stricter than you wish, which might lead to a strained atmosphere at home. Here are some main disadvantages of teen curfews.

1. Might make teens resent their parents’ control

They might resent the control

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Some teenagers might view the curfew as a means by their parents to curb their freedom. In some cases, they might turn rebellious or seek ways to sneak out without their parents knowing about it. They might resent the constant supervision and control their parents have over them and try to look for ways to challenge authority.

2. May not prepare a teen for the real world

While we want to protect our children from the real world for as long as we can, it is necessary for them to have an idea about it. The earlier they know and face the real world, the better they can protect themselves against the unwanted elements in society. Setting strict curfews when they are teenagers and exposing them suddenly to the world once they turn adults could shock them.

Tips For Setting Teen Curfews

If you are unsure about setting a teen curfew that doesn’t have your teenager up in arms against you, we have you covered. Here are some handy tips for setting a teen curfew.

1. Choose a reasonable time

While some parents prefer a set curfew time, consider setting flexible timings. For example, you could ask your teen to come home by 9 p.m. on weekdays and by 11 p.m. on weekends. Your decision must be based on various factors:

  • Their schedule for the next day.
  • The amount of structure they need.
  • The safety of your neighborhood or the venue’s safety.
  • Their activities or company.

2. Talk to them about the law

Help them understand the law

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If your state has teen curfew laws and regulations, find out all you can about those. Check for various aspects of the law, including the legal driving age or appearance in public without a valid reason or adult company. Discuss these points with your teenager to keep them informed, and ask them to follow the law to avoid trouble.

protip_icon Point to consider
If the state curfew rules about teens being outdoors after certain hours are violated, they may face legal consequences such as paying a fine, a visit to the police station, doing community service, or having a juvenile record in their name (3).

3. Ensure they get enough sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two out of three high school students in the United States sleep for less than eight hours on school nights. Teens between the ages of 14 and 17 require eight to ten hours of sleep (2). If your teen comes home late at night and has an early class the following day, they could be tired all day. Take this into account and ensure that they get the requisite sleep every day.

4. State your expectations

When you tell your teenager about the curfew, make sure they are clear on the following points:

  • They should inform you of their whereabouts periodically.
  • They should call and inform you if they would be late and give you a valid reason.
  • They should know what the consequences will be if they break the curfew.

5. Take their input

You could discuss and agree on an appropriate curfew timing. If you include your teen in the decision-making, they are more likely to be compliant.

6. Change the curfew timings as they grow

As your teen grows up and shows maturity, you can set later curfew timings. This shows them that you trust them, and they will try harder to maintain their curfew timings and get back home on time. However, if your teen comes home late consistently, you need to talk to them about responsibility.

7. Discuss the consequences for missing curfews

You need to create some consequences for the times when your teen misses a curfew. This will teach them to be responsible with their time. For example, if they come home an hour late, they have to return home an hour early the next time they go out. You can decide the nature of the “punishment,” and they need to know that their actions have consequences.

When you have a teenager at home, no two days are the same. You have to think on your feet on most days to keep up with them. Socializing for teenagers is an aspect you cannot overlook or deny. However, by setting a reasonable teen curfew, you ensure you are relaxed, and your teenager is safe. Such practices will pay off in the long run and make sure your teen grows into a well-balanced and responsible adult.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a teenager be exempt from a curfew?

You may exempt the teen from curfew in a few exceptional cases, such as when they need to stay out late to study or attend an emergency. Ensure you know where the teen is if they are being exempted from the curfew. Stay in touch over the phone or pick them up when their work is done.

2. Is it necessary to impose curfews on teenagers who are homeschooled?

Curfews may not be necessary for homeschooled teens, as they usually stay indoors and may go outdoors with their parents. Nonetheless, parents can set rules for their children’s outdoor visits and a fixed schedule for play at home.

3. How can curfews be enforced in a way that is not too intrusive on teenagers’ privacy?

To enforce curfews without invading teens’ privacy, parents and teens must communicate openly, establish clear rules and consequences, and build mutual trust. Respecting your teen’s autonomy and personal boundary and granting independence is crucial.

4. Should curfews be imposed on teenagers who are in foster care or group homes?

Most foster care and group homes have rules in place already that require the teen to be indoors by a set time and go to bed at the same time each night.

Making house rules and deadlines help children grow up in a structured environment. Most households thus make it a point to have a curfew for teens. A curfew for teenagers is a deadline by when they need to be back home. Since teenage is a period when children assert independence but are still not as mature as adults, making certain that they are back home in time will help ensure their safety. Further, leading a disciplined life aids children in their academic growth and their professional growth later in life.

Infographic: Tips And Benefits Of Setting Curfews For Teens

Although parents may find setting a curfew for teenagers challenging, it has many advantages. Also, parents need to enforce the curfew consistently and fairly. The infographic below provides various benefits of teen curfew and appropriate ways of implementation. Read on!

setting curfew for teenagers(infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Setting curfew for teenagers will inculcate habits of responsibility and time management in them.
  • Some disadvantages are that they might resent you for controlling them and hinder their growth into the real world.
  • Some tips to keep in mind are to set a reasonable time, allow them to share their thoughts, adjust the timing as they grow, and let them know the consequences for not following it.
Curfew For teenager_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Teenage curfews can be a useful way to keep teens safe and out of trouble. But are these curfews actually effective? Let’s find out in this video!


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Studies find teen curfews reduce crime—or not; Michigan State University
2. Teenagers and Sleeping In: How Long is Too Long?;
3. Curfew ; Arizona Bar Foundation

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Gold medalist Neha Mehta is an RCI-registered psychologist, certified relationship and child psychologist, and a well-known parenting coach practicing in Haryana. She has ten years of experience in the field of counseling.

Read full bio of Dr. Neha Mehta