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Rules of dating depend on parents

February 21, 2006|by MATT AMALFITANO

HALFWAY - One game that is open to anyone who knows the rules is the dating game - if the parents say it's cool.

Here's a random, unscientific study to see where your parents stack up in terms of the rules they set for you.

Teenagers' courtship rules are generally set by parents. During a recent survey at Valley Mall, eight high school students and one recent graduate answered questions about their parents' dating policies.

One rule set by many parents is the age at which a child can start dating. Kat McMahon, a 16-year-old junior at Smithsburg High School, says her parents allowed her to start dating at 14.

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Robbie Soto, a 16-year-old junior at North Hagerstown High School, says his mom allowed him to date at 13.

Among the nine students surveyed, ages at the time of a first date ranged from 12 to 16.

Just as set dating ages vary among parents, so do curfews.

"Midnight on school nights, 1:30 to 2 a.m. on weekends," says 15-year-old sophomore Casey Keyfauver on her dating curfews. "My parents don't care as long as they know where I'm at. They are a little scared at times, but they trust me."

Among the nine teens who talked about their family's dating rules, curfews were as early as 10:30 p.m. and as late as 11:30 p.m. on school nights. Weekend curfews varied from 11:30 p.m. to no curfew at all.

While most parents control the dating age and curfew of their kids, parents also intervene when the date shows up at their home. So which parent is more critical of a kid's choice of whom to date?

"My dad," said Rachel Weagley, a 17-year-old junior. "When it comes to guys, he has to meet them and interrogate them."

While many of the teens were quick to point fingers at their dads, Tim Peak, a 15-year-old sophomore, said, "My mom, just cause she's a girl."

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