Sometimes trying to get away with smallest thing (say, going to a movie after 7 p.m.) will release the family argument monster like no other. It’s especially frustrating when the most trouble you could get into is eating too many cookie dough bites in one sitting, but try to remember: this only happens because parents tend to care about their children. That said, it sucks when curfew means getting home by sundown. You’re nearly an adult, dang it! You know why Brown v. the Board of Education is important, AND you can name 7 uses for papyrus. You should be able to stay out past 9 p.m. without it starting an international incident!
Nevertheless, parents are rarely swayed by emotional outbursts and half facts. What you need is reason, logic, and COLD. HARD. SCIENCE. Getting your curfew extended could take anything from a very calm and mature sit-down meeting with your guardians to a full-blown PowerPoint presentation, complete with business dress and xeroxed handouts. Be ready for questions—and, if your parents are strict, lots of hypothetical, catastrophic situations to solve. Here's how to start:
1. Calculate an acceptable curfew time.
Starting at age twelve, it's typically acceptable to stay out until 6 p.m. with no questions asked. Tack on another hour to your curfew time for every year after. For example, at the age of seventeen, a person could reasonably be allowed to stay out until 11:00 p.m. Keep in mind that living in a dangerous area (like, say, Wolf City, where wolves outnumber humans 2 to 1) will affect this estimate. Include alternative times and leave room to negotiate for special events like midnight movie premieres or dates.
2. Present evidence to support your conclusion.
Collect every piece of physical and anecdotal evidence that you are a responsible person and an all-around good egg. This includes, but is not limited to, report cards that say “a pleasure to have in class,” first place trophies, exams you got A’s on, lifeguard certifications, and the adorable Mother’s and Father’s day gifts you made in elementary school. For added effect, cite child and adolescent development experts.
3. Prepare the necessary materials.
Organize everything into a convenient visual aid. The key is making everything easy to read and understand. Try to subtly condition your parents and put them in a good mood by doing all your chores before they ask you to, and going out of your way to do favors. They will realize you're buttering them up for something, but will be too pleased to actually care.
4. Practice delivering your presentation.
As every speech and debate teacher says, the foundations of delivery are in eye contact and enunciation. Mumbling and looking at your feet won’t get you anywhere near your goal. Run through your proposal a few times until you can say it in a concise, clear, and assertive way.
5. Be ready for cross examination.
Steel your nerves, because your parents will lob every single potential disaster your way, and attempt to poke your argument full of holes. Remember that time, three years ago, when you didn’t pick up your phone because the battery had died? Well, they remember, and they’re still unhappy about it. Also beware any situations that include the words “But what if you get hurt?” They signal that, as in the case of the Kobayashi Maru, you cannot win this round.
What's your curfew? Have you ever fought to get it extended?