As a teen growing up in the 80s, I had a curfew like most teens did. I never thought of breaking that curfew or disobeying my parents. It just wasn’t done. It’s called respect.
I recall the many times Olivia as a teen would sneak out of the house through her bedroom window unbeknownst to her father and I. At first, I didn’t know because as a parent you assume your child is sound asleep. It wasn’t until I saw her screen popped out of her window that I questioned her. She said, “The wind probably did it.” Hmm.. the wind isn’t that strong but we want to believe and trust our kids.
In addition, I have an alarm in the house so there is no way she could get out of her window without the alarm going off. Even if she disarmed the alarm, I would hear her doing it. Well, one day as I was cleaning her room, I noticed the sensor for the window alarm was off. I knew right then and there Olivia was sneaking out. So the question became…how do I confront her?
I showed Olivia the window and the sensor that was removed. Crazy enough, she said “Oh, it broke and fell off.” Okay, I’ll bite, and I went along with her response knowing she was lying. I said I would glue the sensor and if it was off again, I would know it was because she removed it. Every day I would check it until, you guessed it, one day it was off again. I confronted Olivia and told her to stop lying. I told her I knew she was sneaking out and she should just be honest about it.
Well, she decided to be honest. All her friends had later curfews and were still out while she had to be home because her curfew was earlier. Olivia was a freshman and her friends were juniors and seniors, so of course their curfew was later!! I told Olivia that lying to her dad and me was no way to gain trust or get her curfew changed. Just the opposite, we would make it earlier. Mind you, Olivia had a decent curfew for a 15 year old. I think midnight for a 9th grader is more than generous, but to a teen it’s never late enough.
There were times Olivia got creative. She would put pillows in her bed to make it look like she was sleeping, or she would take the screen and hide it under her bed. We changed her door handles to ones without locks so she couldn’t lock herself in her room. We eventually locked her window so she couldn’t sneak out, but even then she found a way to unlock it. Our last resort was putting the hurricane shutters up on her window. Now, she couldn’t sneak out. It was sad we had to do this, but unfortunately her actions caused these extreme consequences. Olivia was grounded and had to earn the trust back. It was a tough, long road gaining that back. We spoke to her about the rules of the house and having respect enough to obey them. But rules to a teen are just something they want to break, not adhere to.
Olivia is now 18 and when I remind her of when she use to sneak out, she acts as if it was 10 years ago when she was a kid so it doesn’t matter. I quickly correct her and tell her it was only three years ago. The point I make is that while mentally to her it feels like long ago because she has grown up physically, it wasn’t that long ago. To me, it seems like yesterday. I don’t miss that at all.
I have to ask all the parents and teens out there… Has your teen ever snuck out, and if so, why? Rebellion? Friends? Parties? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Or, just because they could? It baffles me how teens could have little to no respect for their parents wishes. Is it just a teen stage that many of them go through?