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Stable Couples Are Stricter Parents

Are your parents still living in wedded bliss? If so, then you may have them to blame for your early curfew on prom night. According to a fascinating piece of research recently published in the Wall Street Journal, parents in loving relationships often set more rigorous rules for their kids.

According to the story:

Parents who are involved in stable romantic relationships with spouses or partners tend more than other parents to set rules limiting teen dating behavior, such as curfews, minimum ages for dating, limits on places teens can go and explicit rules against sexual activity . . . While the reason isn't clear, the author suggests these parents may hold more conservative beliefs in general; many of the rules involved sexuality.

Of course, this isn't a hard and fast rule; maybe you had happily married parents who were also happy-go-lucky with dating rules. Keep in mind that the study, conducted by a professor at McDaniel College in Maryland, is pretty small: the survey sample involved just 169 parents and 102 teens.

But the conclusions make a lot of sense to me. I definitely had some friends in high school whose parents were very strict, and now that I think about it, those were also the parents who maintained happy marriages! What do you think? Does this ring true based on your own high school experience?


Join The Conversation
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
That doesn't sound like my parents at all... they were really strict with me and now they fight all the time -_-"
Disagree! My parents were very leniant with me. However, they knew they raised a very respectable and responsible daughter, so they didn't have much to worry about. Besides, if I was out, I was out with my brother, who is 3 years older, and all of our friends. So, I'd be home when he was home.
italianblonde italianblonde 9 years
I agree with everyone who said this is sooo obvious. Pretty much a pointless study. I can find so many examples in my friends' families, as well as my own. My sister had our dad and my stepmom raising her, and she had soo many rules!! I lived with my mom and my only rule was to get home before 4am! The only exception to this study in my family are my 'crazy' aunt and uncles who love each other but are fun and laidback with everything.
ajennilynrushhh ajennilynrushhh 9 years
yeah i think this is true. my parents aren't the stable, happily married couple, no wonder they weren't really strict on me and my brothers. my friends and my boyfriend's parents are stable and happy so they are strict on them.
bingkaycoy bingkaycoy 9 years
I think this is true. Both husband and wife lays down the rules together and both impose them for the purpose of "stability, strength, wisdom and self-discipline" both parents relied on to cement their relationship as husband and wife. And I think I 'd be a strict parent and everyone thinks so. I would like my children be reared in a home like the one I've been.
divinedebris divinedebris 9 years
I know many people - as parents and friends' parents, that don't follow this rule. I kinda think this is bull. With such a small sample, how can they said this is even true. Maybe happy parents are more inclined to pay attention to their kids and unhappy ones pay attentions to their own lives- but the reverse can also ring true like in my family situation. I don't buy what they're selling.
bbkf bbkf 9 years
I know many exceptions to that rule. I think it depends more on the personality of the parents than whether or not they stay married.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I think parents who aren't in a stable relationship want to be the seen as the good parent because they don't have much else in their lives, especially if they are co-parents. At least then their kids would love them - I think that's what they are thinking.
apma apma 9 years
That's a pretty small study to come up with anything conclusive.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
This makes sense to me - regardless of age. I have 2 friends that both have 5 yr olds. One is in a happy stable relationship and her son is well-behaved. The other is divorced and is now in a volatile relationship with a new bf and the kid is completely undisciplined and unruly. It's sad really.
nicachica nicachica 9 years mom was a single parent and she was very strict with me! however, my bff with happily married parents had looser rules than i did, but that's not saying much since i wasn't allowed to stay out beyond 10 or 11 pm! btw, that prom couple in the picture are sooo cute! :)
RaCheer RaCheer 9 years
SO TRUE! My parents have been blissfully married for 30 years and they were so strict on me. I love them for it though. I think I turned out pretty well...haha.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
another one for the "duh" file.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
looseseal, good point This is definitely true for my parents. They have been married for a happy 33 years this year! And they were really strict on me ... not so much on my younger sister now though. I think they've relaxed a little (I was their first girl). My boyfriend's parents (divorced since he was 1.5 yrs old) are very lenient.
imLissy imLissy 9 years
I agree with looseseal. Isn't this obvious? If the parents have a good relationship, they'll stick together and back eachother up. If things aren't going so well, one'll break down to try and be the "good parent".
looseseal looseseal 9 years
I think the reason is obvious. Parents who aren't on good terms with each other are more likely to, on some level, in some way, try to "win" the position of the kids' "favorite". Which means authority goes out the window. In other news: the sky is blue, water is wet, and mom's a woman.
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