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Teenage son’s summer activities

Question:

It is summer vacation. How many nights a week is it reasonable for my 17- year-old son to go out? Is two nights a week appropriate or too strict? He works part-time and completes all of his chores he is asked to do each day.

Answer:

Your question is an interesting one because your son is of an age where he likely wants to make his own decisions and should be managing parts of his own life in order to develop good, independent choices.

That he meets your expectations regarding his chores and holds a part-time job indicates that he is responsible. Does he play summer sports? During the summer months, teenagers are often very busy with activities that take them out of the home, providing a nice contrast to the schedule they keep during the school year. At the same time, their responsibilities at home increase because they have more time to complete chores.

Whether two nights a week plus weekend evenings is too strict is up to you and your son to determine together. If his behavior meets your expectations, then an increase in privileges typically follows suit. These privileges are motivation for him to continue to meet your expectations. They are rewards for good behavior.  If he makes poor choices or ceases to meet your expectations, then the privilege of spending one night out with friends can be removed. 

Time away from home during the summer months is reasonable if you know where he is, what he is doing and whom he is with. If your family has a designated family day, then maintain that tradition.

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