How much freedom should teens have?

Joanne - posted on 03/27/2015 ( 34 moms have responded )

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Hello moms, I am new here. I have two daughters ages 13 and 17. My questions for moms of teens is how much freedom should you give your kids? Personally, my kids have many freedoms. My oldest is driving and she's pretty much always gone, she doesn't have a curfew because she has proven that she's responsible enough to stay out unsupervised, but she always comes home at a reasonable time, say 10-11. She also has a boyfriend whom she's been dating for 2 years. At 17, I feel like being too strict is ineffective because they are pretty much old enough to make their own decisions. I still guide my daughter, of course. Just not as much as I would if she was younger. As for my 13 year old, she is never at home. She is into school activities, hanging out with friends, in a youth group, and she is also cheer leading. She has a curfew on school nights, 10 pm. On weekends she's usually at a friends house. I am a lenient parent. In today's society, teens are much more mature and experienced than teens back in the 60's. They know things that I didn't know when I was a teen. It's a new world, and teens should be prepared for it, in my opinion.

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Jodi - posted on 04/01/2015

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That you are aware of......

But the fact is, all teens, no matter how great they are, will sometimes make poor choices.

And you still shouldn't be letting tv, the internet and their friends teach them about adult issues. That's your job.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 11/10/2016

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Well there ya have it. It was ok for your parents to abuse their position with you, so you believe that over controlling your own adults is the way to go. Good luck with that. I much prefer promoting independence and being responsible for themselves, which usually works better than abusing my parental authority.

You can find it funny all you want, but you are technically rescinding your daughter's civil rights. That isn't funny, that is the truth of the matter

Carol - posted on 11/10/2016

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Well since you ask yes I was I grew up pretty much as my girls are,I was under a very strict life with my own mother till I finished everything at 23 nearly 24,

Dove - posted on 11/09/2016

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The fact that you have a curfew and forbid sleepovers for your ADULT children is hilarious to us... Shawnn HAS two children over 18, so she speaks from experience. Mine aren't even quite 15 yet, but they already are self motivated and mature enough to make many of their own choices in regards to time management... and considering that their lowest current grade is a 96%... I'd say they are doing just fine having freedoms you can't even give to your ADULT children. That says a whole lot of something... about your poor parenting and your irresponsible children. ;)

Carol - posted on 11/07/2016

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My daughters are home straight after school or college,I don't allow sleep overs all that kind things,they can meet friends in town on Saturday when I will drop them there,they don't go out at nights,and they have fixed bedtimes,they are studying and I'm not paying good money out for schooling and colleges to have it wasted. When they gave there good qualifications and show that they are mature decent young ladies that's the time things can change , now is time to learn

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Carol - posted on 11/10/2016

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There you have it lol
You carry on promoting all you like your way and I'll carry on my way thanks all the same.

Dove - posted on 11/10/2016

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I never said my way was the only right way, but I will always say that control tripping over an ADULT child is wrong. Were you under a curfew and as many rules when you were 18+? Trying to completely control other adults is wrong... them being your children doesn't make a difference.

Carol - posted on 11/10/2016

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As I said we're all different,its just the fact you think your ways are the only right ways I find funny,mine are doing Very well thanks.so as I said before good job we are not all the same and lots of different ways work which is exactly what I was pointing out.

Carol - posted on 11/09/2016

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I find your comments very funny.
The fact you think your right and everyone else wrong no matter what you post or answer about is hillarious.
We all lead different lives luckily and we choose what's best for our children in our own eyes.
I'm so very glad I'm not like you both

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 11/09/2016

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I agree with Dove. If you are still having to be that over the top controlling of your ADULT kids, then, I'm sorry for you.

Dove - posted on 11/09/2016

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Well... it sounds like my high school Sophomores are more mature than your college age kids if you have to be so strict and controlling or you are afraid they are going to waste their lives... Good luck w/ that....

Carol - posted on 11/08/2016

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Better strict and controlling than ending up wasting hard earned money,
And better that they learn well Than ending up ignorant bone idle little savages like too many.

Dove - posted on 11/07/2016

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lol College students w/ a bedtime.... Me thinks someone may be a bit too controlling and disturbed.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 11/07/2016

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If your daughters are adults, then you are actually being abusive, Carol.

MaryAnn - posted on 06/16/2015

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I dont have teens. Not yet. When I was growing up, freedom was based on honesty, trust, responsibility. My mom kept an open dialogue with my friends. She didnt judge them. Everything was open for discussion with her-always.
I was rarely told no. We were to tell our mom where we were going, with whom, what we were doing, when we would be home. She had five rules. No drinking/drugs. No vandalism/stealing. No unprotected sex (she actually gave every one of my friends a talk and told them where she kept a stash of uncounted condoms... weird, but caring). No breaking the law. And the big one. NO LIES.
If we were caught lying about breaking the rules... where we were... when we would be home... she would find out. And thats when we would start losing freedoms. Real fast.

EDIT: I always like telling this story... because it really only took one lie to learn that it is not worth risking trust...
When my sister was 17, she skipped two straight weeks of school. Used every trick in the book. She caught the calls from the school. The first call to moms work though... that did it.
Mom pulled her from all her courses and talked her boss into giving my sister a full day coop at her work. She was grounded until she got those coop credits. No friends. No cellphone. She never lied to mom again.
Without strict, heavy consequences... the kind you only need to give once... I dont think this kind of philosophy on freedom works.

Saijra - posted on 06/16/2015

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When I was there age I had to be home by the last bus or at my cousins I had to call my mom every 3-4 hrs just to make sure I was safe

Oksana - posted on 06/15/2015

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Of course modern parents have to bring up their children differently than even 10 years ago. Everything is changing. I don't like the idea of total control and domination over your child - he will not be able to live independently in future and achieve success, he'll always need your help and control. But on the other hand, absolute freedom and aloofness can lead to even harder problems if your kid is in a bad company of friends. How to find the middle way??? I try to raise my child in such a way so she can feel herself equal to me - I explain her that she has rights and duties, the same as her parents, we always discuss our problems and share our advice how to solve them together. Of course I absolutely trust my daughter and she knows that! I'm sure she will never do anything which I won't like or regret about. The only thing that troubles me is the Internet - it is very hard to explain a teenager how much harm can Internet do for her. We often talk on such topics, but to feel more safe and calm I've downloaded refog.com to check the sites she visits and the time she spends online. I'm a little afraid that she can think that I limit her freedom in such a way but I can't let her use Internet without any restrictions. Am I doing that right? Maybe there are some other variants of solving this problem? I'll be thankful for any ideas!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/11/2015

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IMO, no curfew for a 17 YO, and a 10 pm curfew for a 13 YO are out of line.
At 13 (in my house) They were in by 8:30 and at 17, a weekend curfew of 11, weekday curfew of 9 pm.
You cannot assume that you know every single thing that goes on with your kids when they aren't home, no matter HOW open of a relationship you have.
As far as feeling that being strict is ineffective...well, parents who are overly permissive usually do have a problem with being strict.
Hopefully your 17 YO is worthy of your total trust, and doesn't make you an early grandmother (or your 13 YO for that matter). I fully trust both of my sons. That didn't mean they didn't have reasonable limits and curfews growing up.
I alos have a problem with this: "they watch very mature, realistic shows. " I'm sorry, but I've not found ANY mature, realistic shows amongst the trash television that most teens view. Unless, of course, your kids are watching the Science, Discovery, or Weather channels that is.

Charaev - posted on 06/10/2015

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As for my experience in freedom in internet, my kids like my PC and android also , but prohibit them to use it it's a mistake then I started to use parental control software to trac their activity , first I used K9 but it was not good for me , and then I decided to use another program from www.refog.com its more easy in use and has more options than previous software .

Joanne - posted on 04/01/2015

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My decisions as a parent have so far worked out for me. I always know that my kids are safe and where they are. I just don't keep a tight leash on them like most parents, because I want them to be responsible and make good decisions on their own. So far they have and that's what's important.

Michelle - posted on 03/30/2015

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I agree with the others here. My 13yo is no way out until 10pm, he is in bed by 8:30pm.
My children aren't out with their friend to all hours, nights are our family time. We sit down at the table every night for dinner and talk about our days.
I would be worrying far too much if I didn't know exactly where my children were. I also monitor what they watch on TV and online. We are very open about sex in our house though and the boys haven't felt the need to go elsewhere to find information, that's my job!

Kensleigh - posted on 03/30/2015

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I wish my parents would have been more strict on me in high school. I was a very good child until high school, my freshman year I was exposed to older boys and just older kids in general and seen what they were doing and I wanted to act older like them too. I had a really good friend named Aaron that was a senior when I was a freshman, he was the star football player and was also number one on the track team, everybody knew him and he was so popular. I started hanging out with him my freshman year and the summer after my freshman year is when everything started. He was taking me to parties when I was 15 and the hosts were 23. I was having a blast with him and one night brought my 2 best friends along. I was the ring leader in our group and from that night forward, we were pretty much partying non stop that entire summer. We were completely nocturnal and would go to bed when the sun came up, sleep until 3 and get up and plan the next night. When sophomore year came around, I remember still being drunk on the very first day of school. We were all cheerleaders and were known as the party girls, we were very popular and I even threw parties at my land out by the lake at our lake house several times, if there was ever a party, we were for sure to be invited and get the word out, I'm not going to lie it was the funnest time of my life but u regret it so much, I cooled down my junior year and started dated a guy that was 21, he was a partier too but we both toned eachother down, I actually moved in with him and we were together for 2 years but he kept me from college (suprisingly I was a teachers pet and they had no idea and I made straight A's) I could have so easily gotten a scholarship but my parents didn't go to college and knew nothing about it so it was never pushed on me at all. My mom always said she wanted me to go and I would go to her for help and she didn't know so I felt so stuck. I am 22 and still haven't gone to school. I want to but don't know where to start. I made a 24 on my ACT which is pretty good. You never know where your kids are and to the day my mom still doesn't know how bad I was, I would sneak out or say I was staying with a friend and she never knew a thing.

Raye - posted on 03/30/2015

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When I was 13/14, I got straight A's, was on the Honor Roll and in AP classes, was a math tutor, I helped a deaf and nearly blind lady down the block with odd jobs, and I spent most weekends at my friend's house. Because everything appeared ok on the surface, my mom thought she didn't need to keep tabs on what I was doing. She had no clue what I was doing while out with my friend. We were running around the city at all hours of the night. We'd get dropped off at her house by the police, and her mom would claim me as hers. My mom was oblivious for about 8 months, then I made the mistake of saying something to one of my friends in class, and my teacher heard and called my mom. I never did drugs or anything like that, so it could have been worse, but my actions were inappropriate for a 13 year old. The fact that I was otherwise a good child flew out the window, and my mom really put me down for my choices. That was the first time I ran away from home, and was a turning point in the relationship with me and my mom that I'm not sure if it has still even recovered 26 years later, and a turning point in my life in general. I applied myself at school less, and failed a few classes in high school. I got a job, moved out, started college but didn't finish, made bad choices in relationships, etc. Downward spiral.

Fact is, you don't know what your kids are doing. Yep, sex is everywhere on TV, but that doesn't make kids any smarter about it. They need guidance and a parent that is caring and involved in their lives. If my mom and I had a better relationship in my youth, maybe it wouldn't have taken me so long to get my life back on track. I had to learn a lot the hard way, and maybe it wouldn't have been so hard if my mom actually talked to me more, listened to what I had to say, and offered more guidance.

River - posted on 03/29/2015

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If your kids are never home then how do you really know what's going on with them?

Dove - posted on 03/28/2015

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My teens ARE gone a lot and I do still know who they are w/ and what they are doing... but we also make several times every week that they HAVE to be home. We have family nights and other such times to 'touch base' regularly. 10pm would be way too late of a curfew since they have to leave the house at 6 to get the bus to school. School nights they are home early except on youth night... and on youth night they are home before 9.

Ev - posted on 03/28/2015

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Thanks Jackalope. My daughter graduated a few years after you did and she like you had rules to live by in the home and not allowed to run about like that. Her brother is now 18 and also still has rules. The point is this poster thinks its okay to let the kids do as they please. Its her life and her family though I disagree with the things she has said. Be that as it may, I know both my kids will make the right choices most of the time. But I do know a young woman who was raised similarly to my kids though her mom even though she was a single mom did give in quite a bit but still she did not raise her daughter to expect everything her way....she just thinks she has to have it her way.

Jackalope - posted on 03/28/2015

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I have to agree with Jodi and Evelyn. You state that your kids are never home, so how can you have continuous dialog with them? You never see them. When I was a teen, my internet usage was regulated. 1 hour a day, and it was only for homework. I was aloud to go to a friend's house every other weekend, and never on a school night. When I had my own car, I had to tell my Mom where I was at, when I got there and when I was leaving. If I had after school activities or work, it was straight home after that. I graduated in 2005, so I wasn't a teen all that long ago, and teens haven't changed that much since then. They aren't more mature, they just think they are and parents today let them believe it.

And I never resented my parents for their rules either, I saw how kids my age were really acting and I knew it's because their parents let them do whatever they wanted.

10pm is way too late for a 13 yr old. That's just asking for trouble.

Ev - posted on 03/28/2015

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I have to agree with Jodi on all her posts and points. We do not know all teens and how they are...that is agreed but for the most part these kids are not as mature or as experienced as you think. As Jodi pointed out the things on TV, Internet, and that come from friends is not reality as you are so thoughtfully trying to get across. They may be more articulate than we were but there is a wider vocabulary than when I was a kid (I am in my 40's). But this day and age kids do not want to take responsible actions for their decisions nor do they seem to get the idea that there are consequences for things that they do. Most of them are this way. A few are responsible and do what they need to but they still make mistakes and do learn from them while the majority do not. I was babysitting at the age of 13 and up. At 15 I was doing overnights with kids a few years younger than myself because their parents had business to attend. Its good and fine that your 17 year old is a responsible person and does what she needs to. But at the same time she is in a different generation. This generation is learning from all media sources, friends and celebs what the world is and its not the real thing. That is all drama, glamor, and points for ratings. Sex on TV is not the same as the real world. Sex online is not either. I really think that Jodi's points are very valid and fact.

Jodi - posted on 03/27/2015

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But the sex on tv, internet, in conversations with friends is NOT real world, that's the point I am making. By allowing your kids to never be home, you are losing all those opportunities to teach them and have those conversations, not only about sex (which, by the way should be ongoing conversations, not just having the sex talk) but other things. You shouldn't be letting the "real world" teach your children, you should be doing that.

Joanne - posted on 03/27/2015

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Sex is just very broad now, in everything. It wasn't when I was a teen. Kids know a lot now. Because they have so many influences. Whether it's tv, internet, social media, school, their friends etc. As a mother, I don't try to keep my kids confined from the real world, because I know if they don't learn from me, they'll learn from somewhere else. I've had the sex talk with both of my daughters, I even showed them how to put on a condom. These things are vitally important for teens to know. They shouldn't be ignorant to things that they WILL experience someday. Secondly, as for my 13 year old, I always know where she is and who she's with. She's not just running rampant. We have a very understanding relationship and she doesn't give me trouble.

As for the 17 year old, she graduates this year, has a job, her own car, and does her household chores. She's pretty much a responsible person. All teens are different. I judge by maturity and their record through the years. If their record is good, they don't get in trouble, and they do what they need to do, then they get the appropriate freedom that they deserve. I don't know ALL teens to say whether they're mature or not, but from seeing teens today and how articulate they are, I notice that they are VERY different from teens in my day.

Jodi - posted on 03/27/2015

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Actually, I'd disagree that a 10pm curfew is appropriate for a 13 year old. Firstly, you still have to allow for an appropriate bedtime and enough sleep, and 10:30pm is not enough if they have to get up for school the next morning. Secondly, if you are stating your children are never home (which IS what you are saying), it doesn't give you the time to have those meaningful dialogues with your children. It's really important for them to be home more than what you are suggesting so that the family connection is there to have those conversations that are so important to our children.

Finally, 13 year olds should not be just out and about hanging out. That's when they get into trouble. Take it from someone who teaches children this age. I wouldn't be just handing my 13 year old a 10pm curfew.

I disagree that teens today are more mature and experienced than we were, too. They aren't.If your children are watching more sexual tv programs, its only because you aren't regulating their tv or internet usage. But just watching these things does not equal more experienced or mature. These shows are also NOT even remotely realistic (and that goes back to those meaningful conversations you have with your kids).

But, if your decisions as a parent are working for you, then I'm not going to judge. I just hope it works out ok.

My 17 year old still has a curfew, both week nights and weekends. It doesn't bother him. He's 17 and still at school. As long as he is still at school, there will be some boundaries regarding his social life.

Joanne - posted on 03/27/2015

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By ''more experienced'' I mean they are more intelligent when it comes to the real world and the virtual world. Nowadays teens have internet access and they watch very mature, realistic shows. They have many ways of knowing things that teens didn't back in my day. Back then, there weren't as many sexual tv programs, teens weren't exposed to things that they are now, and they kept their innocence longer.

But just speaking from experience, I moved out on my own at 17 with no supervision, but I was in college, and my life was pretty established. Kids aren't kids long now is what I'm saying. It's a fact.

Ev - posted on 03/27/2015

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Ummm no. If you allow a kid to run on their own without some supervision even at the age of 17, you are asking for trouble. No kid is actually that mature for their ages between 13 and 17. And they are not more experienced than kids back in the 60's. All decades have their groups of teens and its basically the same things and issues that all teens have to deal with...just maybe different circumstances...teen pregnancy, drug use, alcohol use, going to parties, doing all the things most teens would try to do. Its not that they know things more so now than back then and are more mature....I think they are less mature. A lot of kids this time frame are given what they want when they want it or they toss a fit...real mature. Those kids also think that the world owes them anything and everything. They also think they know what they are doing. Only the kids that are guided, given rules to live by and take the consequences when they do not follow those rules learn from their mistakes most of the time. Its the kids that are allowed such open freedom that get into trouble.

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