To give an 18 (almost 19) year old a curfew?

(41 Posts)
Muchadoaboutnuthing Sat 09-Feb-13 13:06:10

We have an 18 year old foster d. She rarely goes out at night, maybe once a month but she has started coming home really late (e.g last month it was 5.30 a.m. and last night she didnt come home at all). She also lies about where she is going and who she is with. Until now we have tried talking to her and giving consequences for the behaviour, last time we grounded her for a fortnight, but nothing seems to be working.

She has been with us for 2 years and is supposed to be staying until the end of summer. WIBU to tell her if she's going out she needs to be back by 2 a.m. from now until June (thats when her exams are). If it was a younger teen I wouldn't hesitate but she's almost 19 and it seems a bit over the top. Chances are she wont stick to the curfew anyway but we've tried everything else.

piprabbit Sat 09-Feb-13 15:27:58

When will she cease to be in care? Are you talking about setting long term boundaries and house rules, or is it a case of managing the situation for a few months?

I'm not sure a curfew would help, as other have said it sounds like keeping the channels of communication open so she trusts you and will turn to you if she needs help will be the most effective way to keep her safe.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 09-Feb-13 15:37:14

I thought that they effectively just turfed you out of care at 17/18

freddiefrog Sat 09-Feb-13 15:38:35

You have my sympathies. We have the same problem with our foster DD - she's 16, so can, and does, do what she pleases and we have abosolutely no sanctions or consequences when she does.

Our curfew is 11pm Sunday to Friday, negotiable at weekends, she's also allowed to stay at certain people's houses. She rolls in at 2am, tells us she's staying places she's not, and she's also vulnerable to a known sex offender in the area so it's all a bit of a nightmare.

I've told her that curfew is 11, if she's not home by 11:30 I'll report her missing and after midnight, the police have to deal with out of hours

We're not allowed to give FC a key, so we have to wait up for her to let her in so it's becoming unsustainable with getting up at 7am with our own kids.

What does your social worker say?

Muchadoaboutnuthing Sat 09-Feb-13 15:50:23

Pip we're basically just talking about managing the next few months. It looks like she'll be with us until the end of summer but once we get to the end of June without any major incidents I'll be happy as her exams will be finished then. Wrt the curfew, I suppose it was something I wanted to try until the exams are finished. After that I wont be quite so concerned.

Sock that is often the case. The only reason they have left foster d with us is that she really started making an effort in school and they said they'd let her get her exams done in June. We're not sure what will happen then, we're having a meeting with the sws in a couple of weeks to discuss.

Freddie I have seen some of your posts on the fostering boards. It sounds like a tough placement you have. Our fd has an 11 p.m. curfew on school nights which she has never missed, its part of the reason I think one at weekends might be necessary, just for a few months. The sw is supportive but unsure what to do, as sock said its kind of unusual for them to still have kids of this age in foster care. Her sw is great and wants her to sit her exams but also says she cant stand over the placement while fd is placing herself in such danger, there was a very serious incident a few weeks ago and sw made it quite clear to fd that shes on her last chance here.

Dh and I did ask the sw what happens if the placement ends and whether we could still keep her here until after her exams but part of me is reluctant, its difficult enough to manage her behaviour with the sws support, we would also probably lose all the services she currently gets such as psych and counselling.

BertieBotts Sun 10-Feb-13 08:54:51

It infuriates me that dropping the placement should be some kind of punishment for her behaviour when surely the behaviour is the very symptom of why she needs the support of a secure placement - and that's not going to go away overnight!

I wonder if you could try to get on her side with something quite extreme, perhaps offering to pay her if she (firstly) gets all the way to the exam and takes it, without any all-nighters in the process, and secondly (perhaps an extra bonus) if she gets a good mark; kind of an extra incentive for her.

I think it's hard because as others have said, most 18 year olds go on all-nighters and regardless of the fact she may be more vulnerable than other people her age, she's going to see all her mates doing it and feel she's missing out . And in fact, you've already said that in the moment, she's not thinking about losing the placement, just what she wants right then. So perhaps a long term incentive isn't helpful either.

What about if she got a weekend job that she had to get up early for?

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 12:13:23

Freddie - sorry if you've covered this elsewhere (I don't know your threads) but couldn't you use a mobile instead of physically waiting up for FD? She could text you from the front gate to wake you up smile

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 12:17:18

It infuriates me that dropping the placement should be some kind of punishment for her behaviour when surely the behaviour is the very symptom of why she needs the support

My thoughts too, Bertie! Surely punishments should only be about withdrawing privileges, not support?

Why is it all about sticks, anyway? Carrots bribes are just as effective and then give you something to withdraw if sanctions are needed.

freddiefrog Sun 10-Feb-13 13:14:08

garlic she just never replies to calls or texts, or if she does she lies about her whereabouts and just rolls in whenever she fancies anyway.

We also end up with countless calls from the police half the night. Calls to pick her up from some drug dealers house at 1am

Last week, I spoke with our social worker and we have put our foot (feet?) down - curfew is 11, I will report her missing at 11:30 and after midnight phones are switched off and the police and social services out of hours have to deal with it - we'll get up to let her in, but that's it. I still get woken at 2am, but I can just get up, let her in and go back to bed.

marriedinwhite Sun 10-Feb-13 13:28:19

11pm curfews on school nights shock. We have an 18 year old ds in the upper 6th. He and his friends do not go out Sunday - Thursday and usually not on a Friday if they Saturday matches. Friday/Saturday nights and the holidays - they can stay out as late as they like. This is not even something that needs to be discussed - it is a given.

I cannot believe that social workers think an 11pm curfew for teenagers working towards exams is acceptable. No wonder society has problems. I am speechless - where do the boundaries begin.

Freddiefrog if she is at a drug dealer's house at 1am in the morning, presumably she cannot be far off a conviction. That is not normal behaviour; it is not what normal teenagers do - surely she is getting significant amounts of professional help.

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 13:38:12

Sorry, Freddie, I was meaning more that she could wake you up when she came back, rather than you chasing her. I see that's more or less what you've arrived at anyway, and should think the missing reports are a workable compromise in your situation.

FWIW, I spent a lot of nights at drug dealers' houses. They are usually up most of the night with plenty of people around and don't mind a decorative guest snoozing in the armchair. I did take drugs, but never hard-core ones despite those being on offer.

It should be clear that my history informs my view that punishments work less well than support!

chocoluvva Sun 10-Feb-13 13:58:19

I sympathise with your worry and frustration.

Not much of a compromise, but could you get her to tell you a rough estimate of when she'll come back and tell her to text you her whereabouts if it gets past that time? (If she forgets, it might make you worry all the more - hmmm).

I'd encourage her to bring boys back to yours rather than stop out anywhere till very late - if that was possible.

chocoluvva Sun 10-Feb-13 14:00:08

Sorry - I've just realised I've missed half the relevant posts.

freddiefrog Sun 10-Feb-13 14:15:29

married she's getting support now, but it was a long time coming. It took my social worker putting in an official complaint, me taking a flask and a magazine and sitting in their offices and refusing to leave, and the independent reviewing officer also making a complaint, before she was transferred to the relevant team, let alone actual support coming her way. Heads will be rolling in the near future, I am sure

marriedinwhite Sun 10-Feb-13 16:14:12

I don't know how you do it.

If you have other children how on earth do you deal with the boundaries issues. We have an 18 year old who is exceptionally alpha and I have no doubt, if he had a different home life, he would be out to all hours whenever he could. I do appreciate some children are challenging and I am 100% certain our ds would have gone off the rails in a less than optimal environment; our dd probably wouldn't in spite of being the more sensitive and more quirky child. It's hard enough dealing with your own; how you have the strength and tenacity to deal with someone else's and children who have been "damaged" I really don't know.

But thank you. I hope they will one day realise what you have done.

Your house your rules, if you insist that she has to be there by 2am then that is the rule.
We had the rules of midnight for Ds when he was still in high school at 18 and living at home. He was really good about it, once he was out for summer, we let it lapse, and he'd come in about 1am, and let me know he was in. I don't get to a deep sleep if I'm waiting to hear.
But we do live rural, theres nothing open after about 10pm and any parties seem to get the Police called around midnight, and if they went to hang out at the lake, they took food, firewood and tents and came back the ext day. Fine by me so long as I knew.

everlong Sun 10-Feb-13 17:11:36

I don't think you can tell her to be home at 2am but you should be able to insist that she keeps in contact with you and tells you where she is and what time she will be back.

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