Setting Rules and Living By Them
It’s Friday night, and your teen is yet again asking if they can be allowed out to enjoy the vibrant Beijing nightlife. After a predictable argument, both you and your teen are feeling tense and frustrated. Perhaps you refused, quoting the dangers of going out, resulting in your adolescent sulking in their room? Or did you let them go out after they promised to return home before midnight, maybe even the early hours of the morning?
Perturbed, your thoughts fill with horror stories of drunken teens waking up in hospitals and unaware of the previous night’s events. As you wait up for the return of your child, you replay visions of them walking into a smoke-filled club containing hundreds of strangers.
As a parent, you need to be aware of such issues, of course. Consider, however, that going out one or two nights a week could actually be to the benefit of your teenager.
Experiencing clubs, parties and other social events are all part of adolescent development. How, parents may ask? Because it provides the opportunity for teens to build their confidence as they meet people their own age. It also enables them to overcome some of life’s obstacles as well as gain independence.
The media has painted a poor picture for teens when it comes to adolescent gatherings. They portray teenagers as raucous and rebellious, experimenting with drugs, alcohol and sexual relationships. But many teenagers are fully aware of the dangers, and education nowadays provides genuine information to adolescents on important topics that teens face in their lives.
Teens see going out from a different perspective. One 16-year-old says, “There isn’t so much of a pressure to drink or smoke as many adults seem to think. My friends and I just go out to relax and have fun – we know how to look after ourselves, as well as each other.” Perhaps adults are failing to notice just how assertive teens are nowadays, and that vigilance is a top priority for many.
Beijing offers a range of nightlife for teens and young adults. And because it’s a relatively safe city, taxi services are the best bet to get your teen home safely. Otherwise, a responsible adult can be asked to make sure the child returns home at the agreed time. Though it may not seem so, teens do look to parents to set guidelines and regulations; although they may not like them, eventually they will grow to understand and appreciate that these rules are there for a reason. Agree on a suitable curfew, but bear in mind that most places don’t really get going until after 11pm, so your adolescent won’t be too happy if you set a 9 o’clock restriction.
Make it clear that their actions will have consequences. But trust them to make better judgments, too, and help them understand sanctions and discipline. We won’t be children forever, so why not start training us for life now?