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do you know where your teen is at 3 am?

Original post made by concerned, Charleston Meadows, on Jul 20, 2006

Would you know if your kids were sneaking out at night? What do you do when you find evidence that your underage teen is drinking? getting drunk? getting sick from getting drunk? DO you have a curfew? DO you enforce it?

Comments (8)

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Posted by Danny
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2006 at 1:39 am

How did you grow up? Teenagers are going to experience life ... whether we like it or not. The best we can do is offer boundaries, morals and ethics without attack. i.e. - Don't tell your teens to stop drinking with a smack across the cheek.

Talk to them, communicate, relate. Try to reach an understanding that allows them to live life on their terms while offering you far fewer restless nights.


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Posted by Worked for Me
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 22, 2006 at 11:45 am

I have always tried to impress upon my kids that it is their safety that I am concerned about - not a desire to control, nor a belief that I know better than them. I have not tried to hide the fact that I have made mistakes, but rather let them learn from mine and others.

Before the first of their friends even got their driver's license, I begin sharing stories. In stressing safety, I have been sincere in my statement that I would much rather help them than punish them. If they tell me where they will be, answer their cell phone if I call, and phone me for help, then there is no punishment for errors - only lessons learned.

When my 15 year old snuck out at night, she challenged my MO and came to me at 11:00pm to let me know they were sneaking out at 1:00. Yes this put me in an awkward situation, as I knew that was wrong - but by telling me, they knew they could phone if they needed help. 2-1/2 hours after "sneaking out", they returned home. I was told it was boring and it has never happened again. When teens "get away" with something, it heightens the thrill and will more likely become a pattern.

My kids don't drink and drive, nor do they get in the cars of other drinkers - why am I so sure - I have been called in the middle of the night to pick them up. My kids know that if I am called for a ride, there will be no "how could you do this?", only a safe ride home and possible a "how do you feel" the next day. Kids interpret "how could you do this?" to mean "how could you do this to me?" - they need to learn not to do it to themselves.

By putting the focus on the teen's life and helping them to know that they are important (not the "image" of the parents), they will learn limits and possibly even abstinence. (I have one that doesn't even want to drink).

I agree with Danny - build a relationship, you will be paid back many times over and they will live healthier and possibly even longer lives for it.

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2006 at 3:08 pm

In my opinion, teens learn new tricks through their friends, by example or peer pressure.

Teens also distance themselves from their family if they think the family doesn't care or is too busy to attend to their needs. This makes it easier for them to succumb to peer pressure to do things they otherwise might resist.

If a teen is already drinking, smoking, or hanging out late at night, it might be a sign that he/she is being neglected by the family and/or the family is not addressing/fulfilling his/her needs. In such situations, the family probably doesn't know much about the teen's friends or what they are up to.

Communication, or the lack there of, is the key element here. My advise to parents out there is to communicate with your teen(s), know their friends and, if possible, their friends' family. Always know, through commincation, what your teen(s) are doing, where, and with whom.

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Posted by A Teen
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 5, 2006 at 9:13 am

we learn from r parents. if r parents ignore uss....

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Posted by another teen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 9, 2006 at 8:37 pm

I think teenagers respond better to honesty then strict rules enforced "because I said so." The less teenagers have to rebel against, the less they will rebel.

At 3:00 this morning, I will be soundly asleep in my bed, even though my parents aren't home. Their trust and honesty has given me a reason to behave, and I have never gone out drinking late at night. If my parents had watched me closely and not trusted me at all on the belief that all teenagers are rebelious and evil, it may have been a self-fulfilling prophesy.

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Posted by stephanie
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 19, 2007 at 11:06 am

ok, so im a teenager, and my parents are WAY to over protective-
that just makes us get drived away from them. as a teen, i have experienced my friends doing bad things and all their parents do is say "stop"! u were a teenager once- its harder said than done. if you are experiencing a child or friend drinking, smoking, etc,
dont just say "stop" cuz then theyll probrally never listen 2 u. talk to them and explain yor pont of veiw, dont yell- trst me! Nobody listen to what ur saying if your yelling all they hear is "Blah Blah Blah" My grandma yells at me all the time and i can never really understand what shes saying cuz im more focused on their tone of voice that their actual word, it doesnt help you to yell at them- just try talking to them noobody ever does something without a reason... but befor talking to them- make sure you grab a pillow and scream into it first- you'll be surprised how good it works! And it'll make your envirement a little less like hell.
Trust me, just try it and make sure it works... every onw has their own way of dealing with things but i know from PERSONAL experience yelling at them doesnt work. thanks for taking your time to read this and even if you dont like my advise im sure it'll give you a chuckle knowing that a 13 year old took their time to write this.
lots of love,

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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 19, 2007 at 11:23 am


You have good advice and I think parents definitely fare better when they set reasonable limits and expect the best. Your text-shorthand is a little distracting from your message though.

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Posted by lovng PA parent
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2007 at 11:38 am

@ 3AM?

Probably with the rest of the Palo Alto slacker kids, out drinkin'. Since they don't have to work and I buy them everything they want they probably are out just hangin' out at a friends house at that hour. I guess as long as they come home by 6AM to get at least 1-2 hours of sleep before school then all is good.

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