More Stories

Youth Life!

Night Life:
Teens Who Sneak Out of the House
Author: Rosío Sánchez, Delfina Sánchez, Cythia Sánchez

You think you know, but you have no idea. Where are 
your children? Did they tell you that they went to a 
supervised sleepover at “Susie’s” house? Are you sure? 
Do you have “Susie’s” phone number and address? 
Who’s “Susie”? Or is your child asleep, tucked in 
tightly, underneath the warm blankets? 
Well, you think you have the answers to all these 
questions, while your child is probably jumping face 
first out of his or her bedroom window. Many of us do 
it. Parents say “NO, you’re not going to any party!” 
So, we jump out of the window, while unsuspecting 
parents are asleep. Or maybe they say, “You’re way too 
young to start dating, I won’t have it!” So, we get 
dropped off at a friend’s house, and minutes later our 
date rolls around the corner, driving like a maniac. 
It’s a weekend ritual, just as routine as getting up 
late every morning. 
We asked one hundred teens how many sneak out and/or 
lie to their parents about where they’re going. 
Seventy-three out of one hundred students admitted to 
sneaking out of their homes. Eighty-five out of one 
hundred admitted to lying about where they are going. 
Well, the rest of them are most likely sitting at home 
playing Scrabble or hanging out with their parents, 
while most of us are out drinking, having sex, doing 
drugs, or just partying “safely.” 
While doing this study, we also interviewed people 
about their thoughts and opinions about teenage “night 
“I sneak out on weekends, about 9:00 pm and go to 
parties, I get home around 5:00 am,” said Mare, a 
Watsonville High student. “I sneak out because my 
parents want me home too early. All I have left to say 
is ‘no regrets!’” “I go out my window at 12:00 am and 
sometimes I don’t get home for days,” said Yesenia, of 
“I go to the beach, Mount Madonna, dances. I take my 
cousins with me. I leave because my parents are too 
strict. I think that any day is a good day to get 
away!” And Ryan, of Aptos, said: “I tell my parents 
that I have extended football practice, or a football 
meeting. I leave when I want. I go to The Catalyst, 
Manresa beach, and out drinking on the flats. I 
usually go out with my friends and some girls here and 
there. I get out any chance I get. I say, rock on!” 
We also interviewed a few adults, to find out what 
they think. Mr. Graham, a Santa Cruz parent of 
teenagers said: “It’s okay for kids to go out, as long 
as they’re being safe and not endangering anybody, 
including themselves. I think that a decent curfew is 
12:00 am. Kids should act like kids and not try to 
grow up so soon.” 
Randy Pescé, officer of the Watsonville Police 
Department for sixteen years, works Thursday- Saturday 
from 4:00 pm - 6:00 am and sees “too many kids out on 
the streets. Curfew is a city ordinance, but teens 
hang out at Jack in the Box, so we kick them out. If 
we pick someone up, they are released to their 
parents. There are problems with taggers, teens under 
the influence, and loud parties where there are 
juveniles, drugs, alcohol, and no parents. This is a 
nationwide epidemic.” 
The city curfew is from 11:00 pm - 5:00 am.  The 
curfew has no effect on whether or not teens sneak 
out; most people or don't even acknowledge the fact 
that a curfew exists in Watsonville, seeing as it is 
not strongly enforced.  
 “Times have changed and so have our kids, but I don’t 
think that us parents should have to adjust,” said 
Lydia, a mother from Aptos. “Our kids should be home 
when we want them home. They can start to do as they 
please when they grow up and are on their own.” 
Yet the fact that teens sneak out has been getting 
worse over the past several years and isn’t going to 
get any better, until parents and teens figure out a 
way to renegotiate going-out privileges. If this 
doesn’t happen, then teens are going to keep on 
jumping out the window and lying about their 
whereabouts. The problem is just going to get bigger. 
Maybe if teens had something to do during “party” 
hours, instead of sitting at home doing absolutely 
nothing, they wouldn’t sneak out or lie. The fact of 
the matter is that it’s hard to come up with an 
activity that matches up to hanging out with friends—
drinking, dancing, and doing other “things.” Kids have 
endless possibilities of how to get out of their homes 
and this endless array isn’t going to go away any time 
soon. So, parents, please renegotiate with your kids 
or deal with the fact that they’re out doing their 
thing. But don’t say you weren’t informed. (Names of 
minors have been changed.)