Dear Marcie,

My 15 year old daughter would like me to extend her curfew (Not pleased with this idea)... how much freedom is too much freedom?

Mother Goose

Dear Mother Goose,

Cue the 1980's styled flashback montage filled with youthful good times and perhaps one too many nights of "if my parent's only knew..." The cycle is near completion and Karma is now standing at the door. With any luck our own early shenanigans have made us a little more knowledgeable as parents now that the role is reversed. Cursed! By your very own parents when they warned you of the issues you would face with your own children! When it's your angel who is ready to "Let the good times roll," how much is too much, and how far is too far?

As much as we all may be confident in our own children, there is still the question of the safety of the world around them. This is where the issue of whether to extend teenage curfew can get tricky. You want to keep your teen safe, but you don't want to show a lack of trust. The solution? Make the curfew seem logical rather than authoritarian. At the same time, remember that kids are kids and we are their parents before their friends, with an obligation to guide and steer them in the right direction while praying we have answer(s).

There's nothing wrong with extending curfew to a time you feel your teen is ready to handle, as long as you have enough other factors to assure safety, like communication, a secure location, and trust in their friends. You can offer incentives for safer or group gatherings with logical exceptions, such as a concert or special event. Apply the curfew consistently, be open and reasonable, and be flexible enough to evolve with your child's changing maturity level. Show that you've considered your teen's needs in tailoring a customized curfew. If more freedom is what he or she seeks, recommend a gathering at your place while you are out, or at least out of the way. Win-Win. If the nanny-cam helps to settle your nerves, just make sure to advise them to ignore your collection of stuffed bears spread throughout the house.