Being the youngest and the only girl in a rather strict Catholic family, my father has always put many restrictions on what I can and cannot do. Growing up, I had to be home before it got dark, and during the spring and summer months, I had to be in bed by 8 p.m. … even if it meant the sun hadn’t gone down yet.
And as embarrassing as it is to admit, before I got my license, my dad still made me be home before dark. I clearly remember one afternoon my sophomore year when my father grounded me for two weeks for coming home at 5:30 on a school night. The ridicule I got from my friends was outrageous.
Now that I’m a senior, I have my license, and I work six nights out of the week, my dad has been a little more lenient on when I have to be home. And since Kettering only has a driving curfew, my dad doesn’t really mind me staying out with friends as long as he knows where I am and what I’m doing (which I’m always 100 percent truthful about, of course!).
Being able to set my own curfew now is rather nice. Since I put up with the very strict rules and procedures for so many years, it’s like a sort of reward for me that I can come home at 1 a.m. on a Saturday and my dad doesn’t really mind. As a whole, I think that parents should take this approach when it comes to their children and setting curfews.
When I was younger, the rules were frustrating because I missed out on what I thought were a lot of really fun activities. Looking back, however, I realize that my dad really was doing me a favor by making me get enough sleep. And I realize how lame that probably sounds, because it isn’t normal for a 17-year-old girl to admit that her father was actually right about something.
If parents set strict rules on their children when they’re younger and slowly let up on the rules as their children grow up, I think the kids will be much more appreciative. I know I enjoy being able to talk to my dad about what time I should be home, even if some nights it’s 11:30 p.m. and others it’s 1 a.m.
Most importantly, however, the curfews and the rules I’ve always had have really kept me out of trouble. I can proudly say that I’ve never smoked, I’ve never done drugs, and the one or two times I’ve had any alcohol were with my brother. I haven’t gotten myself into any serious trouble, which I know is partially the reason that my dad has let up on me.
I know that curfews and rules may not keep all kids out of trouble; if teenagers are determined to do something they shouldn’t do, nothing can stop them. But I think that it may hinder the trouble that teenagers do get into by limiting the amount of time they can be out and regulating who they can hang out with.
So as much as it sucked growing up, I’m glad that I came from a strict family. It’s helped me far more than anything else, even if it was slightly annoying.