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I'm not a parent, or in any parenting position. I am however kind of worried because of some rules in the house. I've been 18 for a few months now. And I still have quite a tight schema for bed and PC-usage; to bed at 22.30 PM and PC until 20.30PM. Everyone else that I know, has no such rules.

Is this schema any good? If not, how do I convince or tell my parents that they should be more relaxed about these kind of things?

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Their house, their rules, don't like them get your own place and pay your own way! –  Jarrod Roberson Jan 15 at 6:39

8 Answers 8

up vote 46 down vote accepted

When legally adult children continue to live with their parents, they implicitly accept to live by the rules of the house because they are legally free to choose to move out and live by their own rules.

The times you mention seem on the conservative side to me. I'm sure your parents mean well but if you want to change things then I would start by figuring out how those limits came to be and exactly what their purpose or goal was then. Perhaps the rules no longer exactly match the goal they have in mind for you.

If your education requires you to be awake and present at 07:00 (several medical educations have that) then going to bed at 22:30 seems reasonable and you should recognize this. If you need to be there at nine then the bedtime is admittedly too early...

Limiting your computer time depends on what you use the computer for. If your parents know that you only play silly games or surf questionable content, then they'd have a point that it's not helping you anyway. A shared computer in a community area where late use would disturb other members of the household could be another potential reason to restrict its use. If that's not the case, then make an argument what constructive things you could do in the evenings and see what their objections actually are.

In summary, I would say that you need to understand what your parents' reasoning is. Once you understand their point of view and their concerns, you can prepare a case for yourself. So: first talk to them but don't argue, and then at another time talk to them again and make your case.

If you can find a good compromise, fine! If not, decide or discuss what your options would be.

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Thank you very much :) I'll see how far this will bring me. –  Simon Verbeke Dec 3 '11 at 19:43
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+1 excellent answer! –  Beofett Dec 4 '11 at 3:16
    
I'm curious how it went for the OP! :-) –  afrazier Dec 8 '11 at 3:09
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That's a good start, @SimonVerbeke, congrats. So you've clearly found a way of negotiation that works for you! Consider what went right&wrong, then learn from that and make a plan for your next round of negotiation. Best of luck! –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 8 '12 at 19:39
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@SimonVerbeke Give me your parents email and i will tell them to lighten up! I'm kidding of course, but I applaud your reasonable attitude and posting here in an attempt to understand and solve a problem. Most 18 yo's would do little more than engage in some entitled whining and go on and on in their facebook status about how "my mom and dad are hitler!!!1" That's a pretty clear noggin you got on your neck for being 18, and I think it will take you far! Good job! –  monsto Jan 16 '12 at 8:22

In general, I would do the same thing to an 18 year old as any of my kids. They gradually get more freedom to set their own bed time, computer usage, etc, until they are sleeping in, not getting things done, etc. If they blow it, then they are on a tight schedule (For some time, I was sending them to bed at 1900, because they were having serious problems waking up. Now they are doing better, so I'm slowly raising their bedtime again...)

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Yes! Evidence-based rules. Can't argue against that :-) –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 9 '11 at 6:51
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i like the whole "i'm clamping your a** until you show the maturity that you can do it responsibly" theme. . . yeah i do that too. it's much easier to be clamped too tightly on your kid and release in little bits as needed than to release too much and try to rein it in later. –  monsto Jan 16 '12 at 8:17

"My rules or get out" is not a good way to teach children to compromise (and we hear that rhetoric so often when being critical of how a country is run, where this is learned I see clearly now..) or negotiate with other adults. You risk casting your children to the wolves, and I've seen friends devoured.

In this case, you should be able to calmly sit down and explain to your parents how you're contributing (if you aren't, start) as an adult in the household - maybe paying $20-50 a month rent just to start. It may be an inconsequential amount, but it at least starts you on the path to full responsibility for yourself.

If "at home" is always paired with "my house, my rules", it is no surprise that "not at home" (moving out due to anger, or going away to school) leads to excessive partying and poor decision making.

Pearsonartphoto made this point already about gradually getting more freedom, but I am suggesting you earn it (and do the work first, don't request that you have it up front), but sending your 18 year old to bed at 1900 is ridiculous and will never accomplish anything long-term or meaningful, because it operates on the presence of constraint, not on the inevitability of consequence.

Get a part time job, offer to pay for the house internet and see if your parents will dollar-match you for your own laptop. If they refuse this, then bide your time. You'll be free soon enough. You can't do a whole lot if your parents are unreasonable or don't see the basics entry points for accountability and responsibility - but the flip side is that you likely will miss living at home due to all sorts of unappreciated things if you just up and move out.

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+1 for the idea of directly contribution to the household. I agree with you that "my house=my rules" doesn't teach compromise, but perhaps this situation is not suitable for teaching this; as a parent, it's your choice which topics to stand firm on and which to accept arguments against. I think that your extrapolation to "excessive partying and poor decision making" is a bit over-generalizing, though. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 9 '11 at 6:49
    
+1: For meeting "my house, my rules" with "I'm paying rent (or contributing work in kind), therefore it's at least partly my house" If you're willing to take responsibility, you should be given more. –  deworde Apr 26 '12 at 16:18

I know that cutting off computer at 20.30 seems unreasonable to you and it is, in my anecdotal experience, certainly out of the ordinary. However, there's a very good chance that your parents are actually doing what is best for you. Read up on how many people don't get enough sleep at night and how much being in front of a TV or computer can affect that and I think you might start to see your parents point of view. One very good book is "The Promise of Sleep".

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I appreciate people's perspective that parents want what is best for their children. However, as 18 someone is no longer a child. At this point parents need to let their kids take responsibility and live their own lives. It's better to let someone make mistakes at 18 then to have them to have no idea how to function in society and make mistakes at an older age when parents aren't there to take care of them anymore. I am 28 and my parents weren't that controlling at all about these kinds of things. I think far too many parents are too controlling these days and their children are growing up not knowing how to function. Some parents are even going to their 20-something children's jobs and trying to tell their bosses how to treat their kids. At some point, parents need to let their children sink or swim on their own.

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-1 for not actually answering the question. If you feel that the parents are too controlling, what suggestions can you offer the asker? –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Apr 15 '12 at 20:57

I can think of several good reasons why you should still have a bedtime and a time limit on PC use.

  • Even at 18, you're still developing. Developmental changes continue to occur after puberty winds down, well into your 20s. Though you're mentally capable of making your own decisions (and being held responsible for them), your body still needs plenty of sleep, and that can still be disrupted by late-night PC use or being accustomed to being awake so late.

  • Staring at bright lights just before bed is bad at any age. Pretty much everyone besides TV manufacturers who have a say about TVs in the bedroom say it's a bad idea. The bright light right in your eyes decreases melatonin (your body's natural sleepy chemical) and disrupts your sleep patterns. Having the TV also tends to make you stay awake longer watching it. Computers, tablets, e-readers, even smartphones are all the same in this regard.

  • Since the nature of the question and your position as "the oppressed" doesn't lend itself to you volunteering much self-incriminating info, we can't be sure, but you just might need it. Your parents have raised you, and had to deal with you every day for 18 years. If you are cranky the day after you go to bed at 2, or even if you're in bed by 10:30 but spent all evening up to bedtime playing Mass Effect 3 and don't sleep well as a result, they are the ones who will know, possibly better than you.

  • Your parents live there. THEY have a bedtime. Your PC use and staying up can disturb them. Old folks need sleep too, and we get cranky when we don't get ours.

  • Its your parents' house, and their rules. You are still their child and expected to abide by their rules while in their house. Get used to it; those expectations won't go away just because you get a job, move out, get married, or even give them grandkids; they're not going to be keen on you staying up past midnight while you're home visiting.

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None of these reasons seem convincing to me, especially not more convincing than what others said regarding kids learning to manage their own lives. The "bright lights" argument seems to ignore that many people fall asleep in front of the tv or while reading on their tablets or phones. –  Robert Jan 17 at 16:41

Yeah, that schedule is an excellent way of making sure you get enough sleep. Not having any screen time 2 hours before be also means you will not be exciting your brain (both from the contents of games and the fact the light stimulates the brain) just before sleep.

Is it stifling for an 18 year old (adult!). Hell yeah.

I thoroughly recommend leaving home, you can do all the stuff your parents told you not to do and learn exactly why they told you not do it.

It may take a little while to find a good place to go flatting or whatever, but be patient.

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The job of an adult is to raise another competent, functional adult that can manage themselves in the real world, not to raise a child that must always be managed by others.

The only thing that having a set bed time for an 18 year old accomplishes is that they don't get a chance to learn how to manage their own tiredness/schedule/etc, and so they'll likely end up screwing up very badly when they first leave home. My girls are quite a lot younger than that, but the only way I can see giving them a set bedtime, at any age, is if they're failing to manage themselves and making it my problem, by acting out at me, or bringing home bad report cards, or whatever.

By 18, even bringing home bad report cards is their problem, not mine; the only way I'd set a bed time is if they were abusive to me when they hadn't slept well. The key point there is that I'd set a bed time with any adult in my house that had that behaviour.

It's been my experience that if you ask children to step up to your expectations, they usually will, and if you always baby them, they'll be babies for you, too.

-Robin

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