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Disciplining a 17 year old?

(22 Posts)
TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Oct-17 21:06:04

DS is 17, will turn 18 in four months. He is cooperative, polite, law-abiding, hard-working, helpful around the house etc. He has always been trustworthy up till now.

He goes out to 'gatherings' at friends' houses most weekends. Occasionally he stays over, but usually he prefers to sleep at home. We have a rule that on a Friday or Saturday night he needs to be home by 1am. If he is going to stay over at a friend's house, he needs to let us know where he'll be staying before he goes out. For the past year he has always kept to this, so we no longer wait up for him or ask him to text us when he arrives home.

Last night he went to a 'gathering' at a friend's house. Same group of friends as usual. He mentioned nothing about staying over. This morning, DH & I both had to go out; we assumed DS was asleep in his room so we tried not to make noise.

DH & I got back at 1pm. At lunch, I was making polite conversation and asked DS how the party was and what time he got back. He said the party was good and that he'd got home at noon!

I'm a bit concerned that there were 11 hours when we thought DS was at home but he was actually several miles away.

On the one hand, he is nearly an adult and there's nothing wrong with him staying over at a friend's house in itself.

On the other hand, I think he should have let us know that he wasn't coming home last night. For reasons of consideration and more importantly, personal safety.

I usually implement consequences and sanctions when my younger children break rules. I haven't had to do this with him for a long while - is he a bit old for consequences now? DH & I have both explained why he should have communicated better; is that enough?

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Oct-17 21:06:52

That was longer than I realised, sorry.

hugoagogo Sun 22-Oct-17 21:10:31

My ds always responded best if you explained why you wanted him home by a certain time.

Caulk Sun 22-Oct-17 21:10:57

What was his reason for staying? There’s a difference between a 17yr old planning badly strategies for getting home and one who purposely stayed out because he knew there would be no consequences IYSWIM

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Oct-17 21:24:58

He knows that the rule is there for his safety. We live in a safe suburb with low crime rates. Most of his friends live on the other side of town; on Friday and Saturday nights the town centre is filled with groups of drunk people, fights and violence. A 1am curfew means he can catch one of the last trains to our local station, avoiding walking through the town centre.

acornsandnuts Sun 22-Oct-17 21:31:29

I honestly think as this was a first offense just a chat about why you have these rules. We have a 'text before 11' rule for our 18 year old if they're staying out. I think things change so much that deciding before he leaves is a bit tough as he becomes an adult.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Oct-17 21:32:43

Caulk good question.

Another lad who lives near us was also at the party, his dad was collecting him the next day and he mentioned to DS that there was space in the car. No one else was heading in this direction, so DS would otherwise have had to make his way home alone.

I still think he should have texted us yesterday evening to let us know that he was staying over.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Oct-17 21:34:14

acornsandnuts texting before 11 would be a good compromise; I'd be happy with that. Thank you for the suggestion.

picklemepopcorn Sun 22-Oct-17 21:41:55

I would say you are really worried to have realised you didn’t know where he was. Had there been a fire you would have gone in looking for him. You'd like him to let you know if he changes his plans.

Regardless of whether he is almost an adult, it’s good manners to let people know your plans. Would you fail to come home one night without telling anyone? How would he feel if you simply didn’t turn up after work, or at a meal t8me, with no explanation?

Bufferingkisses Sun 22-Oct-17 21:42:00

To be honest, at 17 nearly 18 I'd just say that he lets you know one way or another. He should be free to change his plans, you clearly trust him to make good choices and he's demonstrated repeatedly that you're right.

Personally I'd far rather wake up to a text sent at 3am saying "sleeping at Bob's" than not know.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Oct-17 21:47:38

picklemepopcorn that is almost exactly what we said to him, including the fire scenario.

Bufferingkisses yes, I'd rather hear at 3am than not at all, but ideally he'd be safe and sound somewhere before 3am. A boy in the year below was fatally stabbed recently in the nearby town that DS would be walking through if he misses the last train.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Oct-17 22:22:57

I just looked up the statistics for the town centre, after my post of 21:24. The high street alone has more than 200 incidents of violent crime reported each month.

I've shown the stats to DS, and explained that I don't want him to end up as one of the victims.

We chatted about how he can keep himself safe, and also about communicating with us so we know he's OK.

picklemepopcorn Sun 22-Oct-17 22:27:30

Sounds good. They are at an age where you can’t tell them what to do, or punish them for disobeying. You just have to hope you are persuasive.

I had a long running 'discussion' with DS 2, 16, about the need to make an effort in Spanish. Basically he won. However, he did enough to get a C, which I think came because I told him he couldn’t make no effort at all because that would be really rude to the teacher!

MrsJayy Sun 22-Oct-17 22:34:05

You need to go with the safety and consideration aspect he is a near adult you can't really punish him, but you can say it takes 5 seconds to text son you live here and it is just resoectful/considerate to let us know if you are home or not.

MyBrilliantDisguise Sun 22-Oct-17 22:42:12

I always said to my teens that I didn't want any lies. For instance my daughter said she was going to a sleepover when she was 15, but she and her friends went into our nearest city. I said that if she lost her phone (she'd done that several times) or lost her friends in the crowds (very busy city centre) she wouldn't be able to get home (not enough money for a taxi on her own.) I said the LAST thing she wanted was to not be able to call me because of her lies about staying in at her friend's. We talked about how she'd get home in that situation - drunk, young, no money etc. I told her that no matter what she'd done, she could always call me and I would always help her - the bollocking would come later. When they lie and get into difficulties, they can make really bad decisions.

CatAfterCat Mon 23-Oct-17 11:48:19

I think discipline is the wrong word. I would feel terribly guilty if I hadn't noticed whether DS had got home safely or not.
We have a" text when you're setting off" rule, or text if there is a change of plan. DS is 22 now but still does this out of courtesy.
Explain that you don't have a problem with him being out but you want to know he's safe.

mumstaxi2 Mon 23-Oct-17 18:36:22

I think some flexibility is required here. Requiring home by 1am with prior notice of DS staying out is a little unrealistic for a nearly 18 yr old. In my experience gatherings often go on later than 1am and plans change. I often receive a late text from DS (just) 18 saying - staying at x's house tonight. I would much rather this than a very late trip home on their own or waking up to an empty room and not knowing where they are.

BertieBotts Mon 23-Oct-17 19:01:10

I think a 17 year old should be finding their own boundaries really with you to guide them/pull them up if they're really getting it wrong.

So I think that you've dealt with this just fine. Communicated why you were concerned and proposed a solution for next time. How he acts next time will really be the test. But it sounds as though he didn't realise you would be worried, rather than having deliberately set out to deceive you.

19lottie82 Mon 23-Oct-17 20:28:01

He’s practically an adult. He can join the army, have a child, get married (in Scotland), you can’t “discipline” him.
Asking him to be home by 1am is ridiculous.

Just have a chat with him about showing you respect by letting you know if He wont be home by a certain time or is staying out for the night.

MrsJayy Mon 23-Oct-17 21:01:10

Tbf if he was in the army at 17 hecertainly wouldn't be allowed out till 1 am

19lottie82 Mon 23-Oct-17 23:12:55

If he was on leave, of course he would!

DramaAlpaca Mon 23-Oct-17 23:22:54

At that age I'd just insist on a quick text to let me know if they were coming home late or staying out. Mine never had a curfew, I don't think you can insist on that at his age, tbh, and I also think he's too old for consequences. A chat like you've done, OP, is the right way to go.

Sending a quick text is just basic consideration really to let you know they are safe. My 20 & 22 year olds still do this as they know it means I don't worry.

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