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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.

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.

SquinkiesRule Sun 10-Feb-13 17:07:03

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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?

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

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

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.

janey68 Sat 09-Feb-13 15:23:46

Sounds to me that the real issue is the different agencies- social services and police, and you, all have different guidelines and expectations and it's impossible to marry them up.

Legally as an adult, you can't give her a 'curfew' and the police cant do anything if she chooses to stay out. If her sw is saying that she's vulnerable and that you should be doing something to 'keep her safe' then the onus is on them to spell out what that is. Because other than all the very sensible and reasonable things you're already doing, such as advising her about personal safety, I can't see what else you can do, without overstepping into un reasonable behaviour such as trying to place a curfew on her . I sympathise with your worries but I think you're being put in an impossible situation if the sw is suggesting you do more

marriedinwhite Sat 09-Feb-13 15:16:17

How can a social worker end a placement if she's 18?

Wishiwasanheiress Sat 09-Feb-13 15:15:33

I agree with the talk to her ones. Firstly this is about respect. She should get that. If she stays out she says where she is and with who and where. This works both ways, don't disappear out during day for example without note. She must have a mobile? Can't u all have find friends app on it? I can see where my dh is all the time. Same with key family friends. If u all did it so all of u can be found its ok.

She must know there's consequences to her behaviour? Are u saying she does but doesn't presently care? Not sure.

I think you both can only do so much. You sound very supportive of her. I hope it works out. I really do.

Muchadoaboutnuthing Sat 09-Feb-13 15:12:03

Thanks for all the advice. Its a hard one for me beacuse I moved out of my parents house as soon as I could, I was 17. So from then on I lived alone so had no real rules, curfew etc except self-imposed ones, e.g. I had to get up for work in the morning so couldn't go out and get drunk every night.

I just want to get fd as far as her exams at this stage. Going home isn't an option for her and doesnt look like it ever will be so she has no family to go to if this placement fails. This really is her last chance. At least if we get through the exams the sw will look at independant living or something for her, if she has to leave now she'll basically lose whatever support she does have. Shes an amazing girl and I don't want to see that happen to her. Shes really clever and does want to go to college but she just needs to settle down for these few months.

The sw spelled out for her a few weeks ago where her behaviour is leading her. And she does seem sorry and does want to stay with us, but all sense of reason seems to go out the window once she gets involved with some new guy.

I'm so concious that I must seem like a hypocrite to her, at her age I was living with DH and pregnant with our first child soon after and it was hard. But I did have my family to support me and my exams finished.

Booyhoo Sat 09-Feb-13 14:07:14

middle class is no guarantee of beig well adjusted. believe me.

garlicblocks Sat 09-Feb-13 14:04:18

Her situation is not that of a naice middle class, secure, well-adjusted teen/young adult.

You know what, moisturiser, that sentence would have been more meaningful without the "naice middle class" part. Thoughtless snobbery doesn't help anyone at all.

Pandemoniaa Sat 09-Feb-13 14:03:46

I agree that she is probably vulnerable and emotionally young for her age - her previous behaviour suggests she puts herself at risk - but I think the problem with imposing a curfew at her age is that she has no need to observe it. Especially if she's not truly aware of the consequences of her behaviour. I suspect that the OP would be less worried if her foster dd was prepared to be truthful and perhaps that's an issue to try and get to the bottom of.

Because she might agree to come home at 2am but it's what she's doing when she's out that is almost more worrying than the time she comes home. And if she refuses to observe a curfew, what does the OP do other than report it to SS which will almost certainly bring the placement to an end.

garlicblocks Sat 09-Feb-13 13:59:19

I agree with all the "talk to her" responses. I imagine she's been controlled, one way and another, throughout her young life and doesn't trust anyone to give her loose, but safe, boundaries.

It's a matter very close to my heart - my dictatorial parents imposed rules and curfews; raged at me when I stayed out (despite their insistence they did this out of concern, it made me frightened and angry). So I simply stayed away. It did mess with my A-levels, yes.

Tbh, once every few weeks isn't too frequent an all-nighter at 18yo. Were she away at uni, she'd be a doing it a few times a week. Please try to imbue her with the one thing her upbringing hasn't granted her so far - confidence. If you can get to the point where she really knows she won't be yelled at or sanctioned for behaving like an 18-year-old, where she can feel safe to ring you at any time should she need rescuing ... you will have done a wonderful job.

Good luck!

moisturiser Sat 09-Feb-13 13:52:55

I think it's all very well going she's an adult, can go out when she wants, that she 'needs telling' that meeting a man on the internet is awfully silly, but she's in care. Her situation is not that of a naice middle class, secure, well-adjusted teen/young adult. She's possibly extremely vulnerable and emotionally young for her age. It's completely different. And it also totally depends on what she's been through in life

OP you have my sympathies. I don't know what to suggest. I think given the situation a curfew might be appropriate, if you can sit her down and make her realise it's not a rule like a child gets given, just a house rule for all the adults in the property simply as a matter of respect. I'm not sure whether she'd remotely follow it.

Is she having counselling? If she's getting herself into situations where she's going off with dodgy men, it might be an issue she needs to address (I realise you might be thinking 'no shit sherlock', if there's abuse in her past). Does she realise this placement is at risk of ending if she repeats her behaviour.

I wish I had more advice. I hope things improve.

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