What do you do when your teen breaks the law?

Now for those of you who have been reading my posts for awhile, or following me, you know that the title of this post is somewhat provocative. You may be wondering, “What the heck happened?”  or “Who did that, what law did he break?”

There are those people who value some laws above others.  People who think it is okay to break some laws, but not others.  And if we really get down to bras tacks, I speed pretty often, so I myself break the law on occasion.  But I am 48 years old and pay my own bills.  I am an adult who makes that decision consciously and is quite aware of the consequences should I get caught.

So my son broke a law, but did not get caught by the police.  He was caught by me.  So you are probably still wondering what law he broke? Was he speeding? Texting while driving? No, none of those.

Joe Cool didn’t make curfew.

Now you may be one of the people who thinks certain laws are dumb, and don’t make sense so we can just ignore them.  I know many parents either don’t know about or don’t care about the curfew law.  I am not one of them. Yes, there is a curfew law here in the town in which we live. “Under age 16 is 11pm. 16 years to 18 years of age is 12am.”


The curfew time is not the same in the surrounding cities.  In the city where he works and was at the movies the curfew is 12:30 am for those under 18.  However, he has to drive home in our city so I have him adhere to the Suffolk curfew of 12:00 am.

Now, to be honest, this was his first offense, however, what bothers me is the planning he and I did to avoid him breaking curfew.  So here is how it went down:

He came to me around 5 pm and said he wanted to go to the movies with a friend.  He said the movie started at 9:30. They decided to go to the movie theater in the next town over because our local movie theater won’t let kids under 18 go to a movie if they will get out after midnight.  (They don’t encourage breaking the law, even to make money.)

My response was to say no because he would be home after curfew, and he needed to find an earlier movie so he would be home by midnight.   We then googled the curfew together, “just to make sure it really is midnight”.  Yep, it is.

So he chose a movie that was starting at 8:30 so he would be out by 11:30 and home by midnight.

Imagine my surprise when he was not home at midnight.  At 12:15 I received a text that said, “The movie is still playing and I need to drive my friend home afterwards.”

I was really confused.  He left the house at 8:00, so I assumed the movie started at 8:30 (as we discussed) so he would be home on time.  So I started a texting tirade:

“I thought the movie started at 8:30, is it over 3 hours long?”

“Why did you leave at 8:00 of the movie didn’t start until 9:30?”

“Did you forget our conversation earlier?”

“You are with XXX he is over 18, let him drive your friend home.  Get your butt home!!”


“I am pissed! There WILL be consequences son!”

I was tired, so I went to bed and laid there and waited for my son to come home.  He arrived home at 12:45. I didn’t talk to him when he arrived home, but let him go to bed.  We have not talked yet today.  Punishment is in order, but I am not sure what to do.

I did call the non emergency Police line to ask an Officer what could have happened to Joe Cool had e been pulled over.  He said anything from a “stern talking to”. to being followed home by the Officer, to a call to the parents to come get him and leave his car where they pulled him over, or a ticket, or even detention depending on the circumstances and the kids demeanor.

So I am still mulling over exactly what the punishment will be.  I am open to suggestions.  For those of you who like to have your kids write papers as punishment, that will not work with this kid.  He can spit out a well written paper pretty easily, AND he actually had to write a paper for school last year about curfews and how they are beneficial to teens.  (yes it is ironic, I admit)

So what would YOU do if this were your kid?

Joe Cool....June 2014
Joe Cool….June 2014

One thought on “What do you do when your teen breaks the law?

  1. I raised 2 sons. They are both now upstanding productive members of society, but at times I was not sure this would be the case!

    Perhaps you could reduce the home curfew by 1 hour for 1 month – meaning he would need to be home by no later than 11:00 p.m. for a month. But, first make sure you let him tell his side of the story. Ask him what he thinks a fair punishment would be. Maybe negotiate on the amount of time.

    Good luck!

    1. Kelly,
      That is a wonderful idea! After discussing this with my partner (she was asleep because she has to be at work at 4am) and with the kid himself, reducing curfew is what we decided to do. We weren’t too harsh because his reason was good. His friend’s ride home bailed, and my son didn’t want his friend stranded, so he drove him home.

    1. Judy,
      I may have panicked if this was the oldest, but he is the third kid. It takes more to make me panic at this point…LOL This is our third time down the teenage parenting road. One more to go!!!

    1. LOL Coco. Texting is the best way to talk to them if they are with friends. Calling isn’t “cool”, and he won;t want to talk to me in front of friends. But texting is a bit more “secret”. His friends won’t know if I am fussing at him. LOL

  2. Ok. So I’m a mom of 4. 3 out of the house now.
    Curfew is solid in our house. Be it 11pm or 6pm.
    A lecture, and a weeks punishment. To me the punishment depends on the kid. Some time the cell phone, sometimes makeup. (yep she hated that one!)
    Once for the boy is was mowing all the neighbors lawns for a month.
    Be creative. Make it personal. To us it was about respect.
    Respect to us and respect for the clock.

    IF it was too late like Midnight…..the door gets locked.
    You have to call and wake me up (if you have nerve to)
    Not only that, but we expected them home BEFORE curfew.
    Just like a job. You don’t walk in “on time”. You show up early, and show you are prepared. For EVERYTHING.

    My Midshipman still drives me crazy with the time thing. She’s been at USNA for two years!! LOL But she knows the consequences.

    Good Luck.
    Nip it in the bud!! or it will get worse.
    Jennifer recently posted..Off Meds for Good or just for now?My Profile

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