What to do if your teen is sneaking out
Generally, moms set curfews for their teens' safety and well-being, so it isn't just frustrating but downright alarming for moms to discover that their teens are sneaking out at night! Moms, what are some surefire tips to handle teens who aren't respecting the household rules about curfew?
When my son broke curfew the 1st time, I was HOT and beyond disappointed. I'm happy to say, it was the first and LAST time he did so. When he was not in the house at midnight, as agreed upon, I locked my doors - even the door entrance into the house through the garage (typically left open because who feels like fumbling with a key). He called and said the door was locked. I told him I know. He said he needed to get in, he was tired. I told him this wan't a Holiday Inn and under NO circumstances was he coming into my house when he felt like it. He slept in his truck outside in the driveway. That was the last I had to deal with that. He never snuck out of the house because our alarm system beeps anytime a window goes up or down, a door opens or closes. The specific tone lets us know if it's a door or a window. Not to mention, after that 1st issue, I'm sure he had NO clue what I might come up with after that.
Fortunately ours haven't snuck out, they've only been out past curfew or left their approved location without telling us. We treat these offenses in the same manner as if they did sneak out. First, it's a "FAMILY" affair. All are involved, If one of our teens isn't where they are supposed to be, the whole house gets to wake up & we start discussing possible locations & friends to call. We'll call & text the teen's phone & if they don't immediately respond, I start calling the parents of their friends asking if they've seen ours. (usually their friends will then get upset with them).
Once we find them, we begin with the discussion that if something had happened to them or us, we wouldn't have known where to contact them or get them help. We ask what they would do if they were the parent & we were the offending child. Sometimes their punishment is stiffer than what we were thinking & we go with theirs.
Generally we have a policy of an "electronics black out" for offenses. We confiscate all devices that are electronic & they aren't allowed to borrow or use any electronics for a specified time frame (starts with 2 weeks). No cell phone, no TV, no ipod, no radio, no computer. They are only allowed to ask for special permission to use a computer for homework & must be in front of us. They are grounded & when not in school or bed, must spend their time in our kitchen or backyard. They are not allowed to sleep through the grounding. When they earn the privileges back, We escort them everywhere for at least a week. Electronic devices aren't allowed back into bedrooms until they've proven they can respect us. They only get to use in common family areas.
There is a curfew where we live so if they are driving after 10pm & before 5am, the police will pull them over & call us. In some areas, the curfew is 9pm & the curfew's apply to anyone under 21. So they can't even be out walking at night without risk of arrest.
We've told our teens that if they sneak out, they will no longer get their own room, instead, they will get to sleep on a mat in my room (with mom) indefinitely.
When I discovered that my son was sneaking out of the house, I called his cell and asked where he was. When he came home, I grounded him for a month and made it crystal clear that he is not to sneak out. When he became an adult, he said that my approach was what made him stop going down a destructive path. It made him realize that I cared about him and that he needed to be held accountable. When I first gave him his punishment, I had no idea if it was going to work or if he would just become more rebellious. I was lucky...
My cousin used to sneak out all the time. She would climb out her window in the middle of the night and sneak back in before the sun came up. When my aunt uncle found out she was doing this, they didn't say anything to her, they just waited for her to sneak out again, then my uncle got into her bed and when she snuck back in, and went to get in bed. As she did, he said something like , "good morning," which scared her to death. I don't remember what consequences they gave her, but I thought that was a great way to let her know he was busted. My oldest is 13, so I haven't had to deal with any of my kids sneaking out, but I have noticed that if the consequence doesn't make them a little miserable, then it usually won't help to change the behavior. Losing what they value most at the time is usually most effective with my kids. They usually lose their privilege to use the computer, TV, or iPad, which to them is quite horrible. And depending on what they have done wrong, they may also get extra chores to do. Good luck!
There are a lot of reasons why a teenager disobeys the wishes of a parent. The one that eclipses all the others is basic disrespect for the parent. Now, this doesn't mean the teenager is the only one at fault, because if you look at the history of the relationships within the family, you will generally find a lack of respect flowing from the parents as well. Respect flows all ways: top-down, bottom-up, and side-to-side. So if you see a child being disrespectful of or to a parent, this is an issue that needs to be resolved years before the child grows into a teenager. Once the teenager has formed the habit of disrespect, it is not an easy thing to reverse. In fact, unless the teenager can see an advantage in changing their behaviour, it's not going to happen without major resistance.
Just saying to your teenager that they need to stay indoors for their own safety and well-being is only going to work if outside is obviously a dangerous place - like a war zone. This doesn't happen in most Western neighbourhoods (thankfully), but it doesn't help the parent or the teenager find a common ground.
If your teenager wants to be treated like an adult, then they need to learn how to behave like one. And it is better if their parents teach them, rather than some celebrity or "guru" who may have another agenda. So, invite your teenager to have a kitchen table meeting and, especially if there are younger siblings, set the ground rules right from the start. These include such things as not interrupting when someone else is speaking; perhaps having a 1 or 2 minute timeframe to speak what's on your mind; reminding everyone present that it is an open forum where all subjects are valid and open to discussion; the discussion can be animated, but should never be heated or angry; all questions and answers are to be treated with dignity and respect; and only truthful answers are acceptable.
Try it once, see how you go, and be prepared (as a parent) to face some tough questions. You can start it off by inviting your teenager to ask you a question - any question - and you will do your best to answer it as simply and as truthfully as you can. If no questions are forthcoming, then start the conversation by reminiscing about when you were a teenager and relating a story when you felt you were in the right and your parents were wrong. Just think of something that can start off the conversation because that is what you are trying to do here. Communication is the key - and honest communication is the essence. Your teenager will appreciate honesty and respect coming from the parent, and will be more prepared to reciprocate. Let's face it, we all love our kids and only want the best for them, but that doesn't necessarily mean we KNOW what's best for them. That is their journey in life.
Kerri Yarsley: The Instruction Manual for Kids - Parent's Edition (Amazon)
My daughter is just now old enough for this to be a concern. I have my house on closed circuit monitors along with my drive, I also have GPS on the car she will be driving and also on her phone. Someone in another post mentioned communication, and I totally agree with that concept too. As long as my daughter tells me the truth then I am actually reasonable with her but lie one time and it will be hard to earn that trust back.
sometime the more a parent says no without giving the reason the more it seems a child or teen will want to do it,I think being very specific about why not to do something helps.explaining the results of teen pregnancy and the responsibility,explain the results of no education,and the rewards of careful planning life,Explain consequences ,how they effect not just one person but others.explain laws,and also explain the adverse reactions of drugs,harmful inhalants,and even prescription drugs taken without it being theirs or as prescribed ,explain jail,child support,care of a child.very low wages and hard no where jobs,I think that maybe kids do things often without thinking or realizing the consequences or results.small children should also have explanations of the reason behind no,is for safety and why.and than they may listen to you when they realize its for their well being.
My kids are just now getting to the age where they might start doing things like that. My advice is to let your teen sneak out then when you discover them you call the police and report them missing. Once you get the police involved then when they do come home you can have the police come and talk with them. This might scare them once they find out what can happen to them. Call your local police dept to find out what procedures are done to teen who run away or who are reported missing. find out the consequences for this action! Sometimes getting this can get their attention. If they continue to be defiant then you may check into sending them someplace for a while like a juvenile detention center.
When I found out my then 18 year old daughter had snuck out her bedroom window over to a boy's house, a boy she'd been dating, we grounded her for a month. We took away her car, her cell phone, computer time, t.v. time and her dad wouldn't let her wear makeup. The only way friends were allowed to contact her was on the house phone, where she'd be out in the open and everyone could hear her conversations. She was furious, but she accepted the punishment and it was long enough to for this boy to lose interest in her and for her to see his true colors. A few months later we found out he had gotten a girl pregnant and then our daughter really saw what he was all about and was thankful we had been "hard" on her. Apparently she had done it at least once before, before we caught her. Before this incident if any of our daughters came home late for curfew they only received one week of grounding, but any sneaking out or lying about where they've been carries a more severe punishment. We've also taken off their bedroom door before and they got it back when they earned out trust back. The one who snuck out is now married so I guess what we did worked with her.
address the reasons why the child "sneaks" 1. Are they normally honest, and if not, why??
2. Is there something negative going on in home that makes the child want to leave?
3. Is the parent honest most of the time?
4. Have you talked about what "horrible" things that could to the child while they out ....
Times are different from what they were when my husband and I were growing up. I snuck out and my dad just turned my bedroom light on and went back to bed. I knew that I had been busted as soon as I got home and saw the light. He didn't need to punish me because I spent that sleepless night worrying about my punishment. But a lot of children don't get the point. And life is so much scarier now than it was then. I think that my kids understand, they are mature for their ages and have more common sense than we did at their ages. My husband was a wild child and was constantly in trouble and none of the punishments worked, he still did it all. He was raised by a single mom, I can't imagine how difficult that is. But, we discuss things with our children. I think that they understand what could happen and why we would be concerned about them if we don't know where they are. We watch a lot of Criminal Minds and shows like that and we talk about what we would do in certain situations. So, I guess, that is my advice. Communicate with your children about everything. Why they need to stay out so late, where they will be, who they are with, etc. There were no cell phones when I was growing up, so I really don't see any excuse for not calling. (And texting isn't good enough because that could be anyone texting, I want to hear their voice.) My husband and I pay for the phone for that reason, we want to be able to get a hold of them at any time.
My 13 year old daughter was caught sneaking out for the first time the other night at a friends house. They met a couple of boys at the high school. The school alarm went off and luckily her friends dad followed them and got them out of there. I've tried explaining the dangers of it all and the long term consequences but all I get is "I'm not stupid mom". And she reminds me that I used to do the same things when I was her age. But things were different when and where I grew up. I didn't have to worry about never being seen again, unless a bear or mountain lion got me.
So as it is now, I have taken her cell phone and she is grounded for a month.
Nail the window shut after they leave out. If you sneak out, you stay out!!
My Mom tied bells on my brother's bedroom window screens, then she could hear him....lol
I planted a rose bush and cactus plants under my boys windows if they wanted out badly enough they had to work for it. Glad to say though my boys never broke curfew, the penalties were too harsh, if they had broken the rules they had to either ride the bus to school(because their trucks were parked) or have mommy take them to school and take them to the door.
I have two boys that use to sneek out after curfew. one night I caught them sneking back in and the next day I took them to the police and they got a very stern tounge lashing. it stopped them from doing it again
IF, my daughter got caught sneaking out, it would be the only time she would do it because there wouldn't be a next time due to the fact that security bars would immediately be placed over her window, along with an alarm system that warns me she has opened her window...something she would be totally unaware. She would also be so worn out from performing community service 10 - 12 hours a day, going to bed at 8 p.m. and getting up around 4:30 a.m. or so. Fill her tummy with a healthy breakfast, send her with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bottle full of green tea. She wouldn't do anything else without my express consent, and if you don't think I wouldn't make it happen, then you don't know what I'm capable of. BUT, because I'm raising her right to begin with, this would never happen, and I can, without a doubt, say NEVER and know I mean it. I say what I mean and I mean what I say.
My experience is that if U tell a teenager no, they will find a way to do it! Usually a little more freedom will prevent their abusing the freedom they already have. As a mediator, both sides must give a little. Since teenagers won't give too much, it is up to the parent to give the most. Curfew in most states are laws, this is really where the problem lies. At least allow them to stay out till the law says they need to be in, but possibly they could be "in", just not at home. Is this feasible for you? The element of "doin wrong", is so inticing at this age, let them think, they are sorta' doin wrong, then the thrill is gone. Soon they won't want to because if it is not "wrong", it loses it's appeal.
Wow!!! this is a big one. I didn't have touble with my teenagers sneaking out pass curfew, I had trouble with them coming home on time or not coming home at all until the next day. I do know there has to be consequences for not obeying the household rules. It depend on how old the teenager is and taking away privilages and things they like to do. Say for example, if they have a car they drive, take the car keys until they start respecting the household rules.
What about the computer, dvd player, blue-ray player or X-box and games? You could take these items and lock them away until he or she stops sneaking out. If this doesn't work, you might have to get outside help like counseling.
Driveway alarm and take the car away or disable it. I told my teens who are now young adultts they have not thought of anything that I have'nt already done so good luck getting away with something.