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Negotiating a Curfew with Your Parents

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Returning home to your parents' after being away at college can be challenging, to say the least. One major problem: that curfew you had in high school no longer works with your college life. These 5 tips can help you make the most of your request for a later (or no) curfew now that you're a college student.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Be calm and reasonable. This may seem to be a basic tactic that should go without mentioning, yet it bears repeating. Staying calm, keeping your temper, and showing your parents that you are, in fact, turning into a bona fide adult who can have adult conversations can go a long way to make your case.
  2. Try to think about things from their perspective. Sure, in your mind, you know that you went away to college where you were able to come and go as you wish, have whomever you wanted over in your room, and stay out as late as you wanted, doing whatever you wanted. But to your parents, you went away to school and left an empty bedroom. For better or for worse, they may not have any idea about your comings and goings while you're away at school; in their mind, you still keep the same schedule you did when you lived at home. Additionally, your parents may have younger siblings to consider when setting rules.
  3. Explain your position while showing you understand theirs. Explaining where you're coming from and acknowledging where your parents are coming from, too, can really help the conversation move toward where you want it to go. For example, argue that you should be able to have a late (or no) curfew because you've demonstrated responsibility -- not because you're used to doing what you want all of the time. Consequently, if your parents want you to come home earlier than you'd like because they want to make sure you're safe, explain to them how you've handled your safety while at school.
  4. Be prepared to compromise. Just like in any situation, when two sides disagree about something, the final result usually has both sides compromising. If you wanted to stay out as late as you wished (or not have to come home at all), find a time that's late enough for you to have fun but early enough to respect your parents' wishes. Being the one who presents a compromise that works for everyone might also help you settle on a final solution with which you can be happiest.
  5. Remember that, at the end of the day, you are in fact living under the rules of their house. You may think that your parents are horrible, distrusting, ridiculous, out-of-touch people. But you are staying with them for a certain amount of time and, as much as you may hate it, you have to abide by their rules when push comes to shove. Blowing them off when it comes to having a curfew is definitely not the way to make your case. And if it gets to be more than you can bear, remember: you're in college so you can graduate, get an awesome job, and have your own place -- without a curfew.
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