Most of the teens under 18 who I know (not including unschoolers), have a "curfew", a time by which they *must* be home or face groundings, loss of computer time, or similar punishments. It's something I've spent a bit of time thinking about.
During the school year, though I don't really agree, I do understand why parents impose a curfew. Kids do need to be up early the next morning to go to school. Now, this often doesn't affect how late teens go to bed anyway, since they just stay up late at home, but I do see *why* the parents want them in earlier. But in Summer? Now that, I understand less. The only reason, when getting up early for school isn't an issue, that I can possibly see making sense for imposing a curfew in the Summer, is worries about the safety of their kid. But there are such better ways of handling it than a curfew, and groundings in some of a teens only free time in the entire year, when they miss that curfew! Here's how my family handles things:
We like to know where a family member is when they aren't here. We like to know how late someone will be back. When Emi heads out, for instance (I'll use my sister as an example, since she's the one who's out late most often!), one of us will ask "when do you plan on being home?". She'll give an answer, and our policy is that whatever time is given, you should be home by, or call by, that time. That is the easiest possible way. Whoever is at home doesn't worry, and whoever is out isn't resentful because they "have" to be home by an externally imposed time. And in case you were wondering, we're all pretty good about calling to let HQ know where we are and how we're doing. I also ask my mother and father that question when they go out at night, and I expect to get a call if they're going to be late! This isn't just something for the younger people in our house.
If a ride is needed, obviously the driver has a big say in how late the person can be out! Mum is a night owl, and she really doesn't mind doing late night driving most of the time (I think the latest Emi and I have called to be picked up at was two in the morning... Maybe a bit later. She'd known and OK'd the fact we'd be home very late, and cheerfully arrived to bring us home!), but when she does decide she's too tired, or really doesn't feel like it, neither Emi or I are upset or put out. It's also a bonus that at this point, an increasingly large number of friends can drive, and some even have regular access to a car! ;-)
So much anger and resentment, so much fighting in so many families, over something that really shouldn't be a big issue at all. Every time I hear of a kid getting grounded for days for missing their curfew by 15 minutes, I just shake my head. There's enough things to expend your anger and energy on in this world. Pick the things that are actually important!