How to Stop Your Teen From Sneaking Out of the House

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When you bring your new baby home for the first time, you’re filled with dreams, wishes and hopes for his future. You want him to grow into a strong, independent adult who’s reasonably successful and has a life filled with happiness. What you may not be thinking about is the long road to adulthood and how that road can become particularly bumpy during his teenage years. In a bid to express his independence and establish himself as an individual that’s separate from the family unit, he may cross the line into sheer defiance more than once. When his established curfew interferes with things he’d rather be doing, for instance, it’s far from unheard of for a teenager to simply slip out of the house in hopes of getting away undetected. If you have a suspicion that your teen is sneaking out in the middle of the night, or if you’re sure he’s leaving and aren’t sure how to put an end to the behavior, these tips may help you restore a sense of order to your home.

Be Attentive

It’s far easier for a rebellious teen to sneak out of the house when he knows that his parents are largely oblivious to his actions. If he knows that you’re watching him closely and are attuned to his behavior, however, he may be a bit less eager to test his escape-artist skills. Staying up all night to monitor your child’s comings and goings might leave you temporarily exhausted, but making sure that your child knows how closely he’s being observed will be well worth the lack of sleep in the long run.

Get Involved

It’s not uncommon for teenagers to act out and display rebellious behavior as a means of gaining his parents’ attention. If you work full-time or are frequently away from home, your teen may feel that the only way he can get your attention is to behave so badly that it forces you to notice him. While it’s important to give your teenager enough space to assert his independence and establish himself as an individual entity, it’s just as important to let him know that you’re always there for him and that you take an active interest in his life.

Monitor Social Networking and Cell Phone Use

Making a habit of snooping through your teen’s cell phone or monitoring his social networking accounts when he’s given you no cause for suspicion can breed resentment and anger in an otherwise happy kid. When your child consistently proves that he can’t be trusted to stay in the house after curfew or to be respectful of house rules, however, all bets are off. There’s very little point in sneaking out of the house to hang out with friends if your teen can’t coordinate with them without the risk of tipping you off, so don’t be afraid to be the nosy parent until he’s made a concerted effort to regain your trust. You may also find that confiscating his cell phone at night and keeping it in your own room hinders his plans, especially if it’s a smartphone that’s connected to social networking accounts and serves as a hub for all of his communication efforts.

Think Twice Before You Resort to Drastic Measures

The iconic image of an angry father nailing a teenage daughter’s window shut may be the first thing that comes to mind when you discover that your teen has been sneaking out of the house, but sealing windows with nails, screws or bars can actually create a very dangerous fire hazard and impede her ability to escape in the event of an emergency. Rather than rendering windows useless, consider the installation of a home security system that will alert you when windows or exterior doors are open. Keeping the security code a secret from your child may be difficult, but it will also keep him from being able to slip out of the house silently.

Don’t Issue Idle Threats

If you’ve explained that another episode of breaking curfew to sneak out of the house will result in the loss of a treasured privilege or restriction from favorite activities, you have to stick to your guns. Regardless of how hard your teen fights you or the protests she makes, it’s essential that you let her know that bad choices have negative consequences. If you’re easily dissuaded from the forewarned punishment, your teen will start to believe that there are no real consequences for disrespecting house rules and being openly defiant.

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