How to Stop Your Teens From Sneaking Out
Having kids is one of life’s greatest gifts – that is, until they become teenagers of course! All joking aside, being the parent of a teenager can be challenging at times. It’s usually during the teen years that kids like to test boundaries and rebel a little. In fact, we can all relate to some degree because we’ve all been there. If only we knew then what we know now, maybe we wouldn’t have given our parents such a hard time!
Pushing boundaries is completely normal, but the issue begins when your child’s safety is in jeopardy. One such instance would be if your teen is sneaking out of the house at night. This isn’t something to be taken lightly! If you’re worried about your child sneaking out at night, here are some tips on how you can protect them.
1. Set an alarm
Set your alarm clock or phone to do some spot checks throughout the night so you can check up on your teen and make sure they’re still safely tucked away in bed. This may mean interrupting your own sleep, but chances are you’re already losing sleep worrying about your teen. You don’t have to do this every night, just do it periodically. You should also change the times your alarm goes off. That way if your teen catches on to what you’re doing, there won’t be a pattern for them to identify.
Hang bells – or some other noise making object – on any doors or windows that could be used as an escape route. These items will make noise if someone tries to open or close a door/window, and will also make noise if your teen tries to remove them.
3. Motion sensor lights
This can be an effective way of catching someone in the act. The only problem is these systems tend to be sensitive and could just as easily be triggered by a critter, as by a human.
4. Alarm code
If you have an alarm system, assign everyone in your house a code. That way, whenever someone comes or goes, they will have to punch in their code. You’ll then be able to track all the comings and goings.
5. Don’t make it easy
This may sound like an obvious tip, but don’t give your teens a bedroom with easy access to get out. Meaning, the bedroom that has a convenient tree that’s perfect for climbing up and down (right outside the window) isn’t a great place for a teen’s room. If that’s the unfortunate case, make sure to prune any overhanging branches. Also, ensure that there’s no ladder, patio roof, or anything else that gives them easy access to get out.
6. Security Screens
You’ll sleep easier knowing your child is protected by security screens on your windows and doors. Not only will security screens keep intruders and insects out they can be secured to keep teens safely inside.
7. Watch for signs
You may not have picked up on them before, but try watching out for signs that your teen is sneaking out. Is he/she going to bed unusually early? Is he/she often asking you questions about when you’re going to bed? Do they look too spiffed up for just hanging out in their room? Are they leaving stuff by the door for easy access when they sneak out?
If it’s gone beyond suspicion and you know your teen is sneaking out, here are a couple tips you can try out:
8. Wait outside the window
Be waiting for them at their exit of choice when they return. As soon as they see you there, they will know they are busted. This may make them less likely to try again.
9. Implement consequences
If you have caught them in the act, take away their car keys (if they drive) or cut them off their allowance. It’ll be much less tempting to sneak out if they don’t have a way to get around or if they have no money to spend. Don’t just threaten to do it. You must actually follow through. If you don’t, the behaviour will likely continue. Your teen needs to know you mean business.
No one likes to think their teenager is capable of sneaking out. It’s even worse if you’ve caught them in the act. It’s certainly not something any parent wants to deal with, but know that you’re not alone. These things are more common than we’d like to admit. The good news is there are ways to stay on top of it. Hopefully with these tips and safety measures, you’ll be prepared if it happens to you.