Sunday, June 19, 2011


(This blog is written to inform parents and others of disturbing trends of teenagers.)

When Hollie was 15, she had a friend sleep over one night. Usually when I go to sleep, I don't wake up, but this Friday night, I woke up around 1:00 a.m. with this uneasy feeling. So I go to Hollie's room, open the door, and there was her window wide open.  I turned on the light, and of course, Hollie and her friend were gone. PANIC! So I go look around outside, in the backyard, down the street, trying to decide what to do.  Do I call her dad? Call the police? After a few minutes, I went back into her room, shut the door, turned off the light, hopped in her bed and waited....and waited...and waited (it really wasn't that long).  After about twenty minutes, I heard Hollie and her friend outside giggling. Then I heard one of them say "Shhhhh".  I sit and watch...Hollie's friend quietly climbs back through the window.  Next, I watched Hollie climb in the window and quietly put the window back down; she turned around and SURPRISE! There I was...

Would you know if your tween/teen was sneaking out at night?

If/when you catch your teen sneaking out, you may think it is the first time, but in reality, it's probably not his/her first time.  Teens can be clever.  There are even websites telling teenagers how to sneak out of the house without getting caught.

  • The first time you catch your teen sneaking out, take away the electronics. I mean everything; the computer, their cell phone, TV, video games, Ipod/MP3 player, etc. (If you read my blog, then you know I'm all for stripping away everything to get them back on track.)  This may seem extreme for a "first" offense, but the lack of text messaging will torture your teen more than simply grounding.
  • The easiest way to prevent your teen from sneaking out is to have an alarm system installed.  Be sure that all doors and windows are closed, locked, and the alarm is set before you go to bed. (This is one thing I ended up doing.  Hollie knew about the alarm on the doors, but she didn't know I had an alarm placed on her window.)
  • Check on your teen at odd hours during the night. There is a chance you will catch him/her gone and (like I did with Hollie) be sitting on the bed when he/she comes back. The shock of being caught will not only let your teen know you are aware of what he/she has been up to, but you’ll also be able to  tell if he/she is high on drugs, alcohol or just seen the girlfriend/boyfriend.
  • Talk with your teen about why it is not safe to sneak out and explain what can happen that late at night. If he/she is meeting up with friends or a girlfriend/boyfriend, explain the dangerous of drug use, late-night partying, having sex too young, etc. You need to let your teen know this behavior is not acceptable in your house.
  • Set consequences for sneaking out after everyone has gone to bed, and let your teen know what those consequences are.
  •  If you do catch your teen in the act of sneaking out or sneaking back in, allow him/her to go back to bed and handle it in the morning. The last thing you want to do is freak out.  Sleep on it and discuss the problem the next day.
  • If all the above suggestions fail and your teen keeps finding ways to sneak out, get a sleeping bag and sleep in your teen's room. Remember, this will only work with persistence. Try it for a couple of weeks so your teen gets the message.
Teens take risks, and while we want to encourage independence, sneaking out at night to hang out with friends is just too dangerous in this day and age.
The biggest mistake parents can make is thinking their teen won't sneak out at night, because chances are they will.

P.S. It is summertime, your teen will get restless, and there will be more opportunities to sneak out at night.   Be on alert!


Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

Yes I would and I have. You are right. Never assume they will 'not do' anything!

The worst? I once had A Parent, (If I can even honestly use that word) pick my daughter up in the middle of the night and drive her to her house for a party her son was having.

April said...

Good post! It's a scary time to have teenagers. We have alarms on all the windows and doors. Additionally, curfew is midnight on the weekdays and discussed on the weekends.


Anonymous said...

First thing--I'm the girl who snuck out so many timesI've lost count. 2. Window alarms don't work - there's a way to jimmy them so that they will not go off. That applies to to the contact ones. Now sure about the laser ones. 3. The last time I snuck out (or tried to) was when I was downstairs in the basement trying to go out the door. Of course it was dark, and it was probably 1 am or so. My friend was waiting in her car. As I clicked the key in the lock, the lights in the room came on and revealed that my military father was sitting in his arm chair about 2 feet away from me, wide awake and ill as a hornet. NEVER AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

This is great information. I don't have teens yet but I want like knowing what the trends are so I can be prepared. As a teenager I was to afraid to sneak out for fear of the consequences. My husband was a different story. So I am hoping that we will make a great team and be able to stay one step ahead of the kids when they get to be teenagers. I also totally agree with taking away electronics instead of just grounding. I find it to be more effective.

Coffee Please!?! said...

great post! one of my friends constantly would sneak out of her house - in 8th and 9th grades - i don't think that her parents ever had a clue! the book, Shattered, by Melody Carlson touches on not being completely honest with parents about your whereabouts as a teen. scary stuff.

visiting from voiceboks!

amy said...

This is great - but terrifying info. I'm so afraid of my daughter getting to this age! Calling the alarm company this week!

Kathy said...

Yikes!!!! Thank you for this post but yuk, I don't want to think about it!!! You are right, they may, or will do it, so be prepared is crucial. I like the idea of stripping away all electronics, what do you do with the constant begging and complaining during a punishment. I recently took away a movie trip from my 12 year old for some really unaceptable talking back and the complaining felt like my punishment. Although, I kept firm. How did it go with your daughter and did it happen again? Thanks for discussing really important topics!

Sara said...

Teens. You've got several great posts and this one really hit home. I had a teen living with me that would sneak out AND sneak boys into her room. While the sneaking out is bothersome, I was more upset about unknown people in my home who could potentially hurt my kids. Great informational post. Thanks for stopping by my blog for my SITS day!

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