T Nation

Teen Curfew Laws


What do you guys think of them? Towns around here are passing them, and they typically range between 10 p.m. to midnight....

I seriously have to question this. Teenagers or not, they are American citizens, and no citizen of a free nation should be told when they can and cannot leave their house.



I am undecided on whether or not it is a good idea for local governments to respond to teen unruliness with curfew laws. It does smack of general restriction of a group in place of targeted punishment of wrong-doers. It could also be cruelly unjust in some cases -- some kid's parent comes home roaring drunk; maybe the kid wants to sneak outside for a while until the parent passes out; and then the kid gets fined because of the curfew.

As for the general statement that "no citizen of a free nation should be told when they can and cannot leave their house" -- generally I thinnk it is fine for underage citizens' parents to tell them when they can and cannot leave their house; just not sure I like the idea of any level of government telling them.


Well that's what I mean. They're still minors and of course their parents have that authority. I meant more about a government agent telling them so.


Well, we don't let kids vote or drive or a bunch of other things. Maybe set it at midnight and cops have to tell kids to go home.


All the towns I live around have them. They were almost never enforced on us. We loitered, we would "drag main", run up and down the street like idiots. All of us at the time 15-16. Never had any trouble with cops.

This one city we would go to though, had a lot of "hangouts" 2-3 big ones in town, (parking lots) kids would emass 100 at a time. After a few fights/drugs/noise complaints. They started cracking down. Now, once in a while they will get some greif. But most hang in groups 15 or less, no prob.

I always figured more politics than anything.

IMO, probably won't do any good anyway.


I like it. We don't need teens marauding around all hours of the night.


The only kids affected by this are ones with bad parents. If someone has bad parents I don't see a problem with local government stepping in.


Bad idea. Telling the kids when they should be home is the parents responsibility.

If the kids vandalize or otherwise break the law, they should be punished for that. Laws like this will effect 15-16 year old kids that wanted to go to a rock show that didn't get out until 2am for no crime other than being out past curfew. And that's bad.

To the poster who suggested this will only affect bad kids... I disagree so vehemently, I cannot even see the ground your position rests on. Agents of the state (police) will use any authority given them to its absolute limits regardless of things like circumstance and common sense. Counting on cops to be judicious and sage in their use of force is ridiculous.

Especially in Jersey.


Minors around the age of 13/14+ IMO should be made to do some kind of community service if they are actually caught out there causing trouble.

Older teens should be old enough to know better IMO & shouldn't effectively need to be nannied by some ridiculous curfew rule.

For kids under the age of say 13, a 10pm curfew doesn't sound too bad, to apply it to all minors seems pretty ridiculous to say the least (especially with regards the fines, which are almost certainly going to be paid for by the parents).

I believe the more we treat all teens (effectively the same way).....as if their is no significant difference between an average 13 year old & an 16/17 year the less well equipped these young people will be when it comes to making the transition between being an older child/ adolescent & becoming a morally accountable, young adult.


Agreed - well said.


Just because some kids have parents who are mentally challenged or don't have the nads to tell their kids no, it doesn't mean the government needs to step in and rescue everyone regardless of whether they need rescuing. This is the same logic that I fear one day the government will apply to tell us all what can and cannot eat in the name of addressing the obesity epidemic.


"When will you people learn? In America we stopped using corporal punishment and things have never been better. The streets are safe, old people strut confidently through the darkest alleys and the weak and nerdy are admired for their computer programming abilities. So, like us, let your children run wild and free, for as the Bible tells us, "Let your children run wild and free." Homer Simpson


Personally, I haven't liked them since I was cited at the ripe age of 16. That said, I was out causing trouble (not really).

I want to say when I was a kid there was (supposedly) some clause about coming home from work. I was a waiter at the age of 16/17 and I would come home quite late some nights. I want to say when you turned 17 you could technically work all night, so I ended up closing up quite a few times and coming home at 2 or 3 in the AM. Never had trouble at those times, but I'd hate to have a law that says a hard-working kid can't come home from work on a Friday night (like I did).


Just more ridiculous bureaucracy giving bad parents another excuse not to be responsibile for thier children's behavior.


The article takes place in Saddle Brook NJ. I spent most of my teens hanging out there and live 5 minutes away. There's no real crime there and it's a very nice town. The law is unnecessary. The worst thing most kids do there is hang out in the Taco Bell or supermarket parking lot.

Some might drink but that's nothing new. Punish the kids who are drunk or have alchohol in their car, not every single teen that's out after 10.

This is a retarded law. It's one of those laws old people pass because they forgot what it was like to be young. (I'm 35 and old FWIW)


How do you figure? You think because a couple of 17 year old kids are hanging out after 10 PM, they have bad parents?

Did you stay out after 10pm when you 17? I bet you did.


I don't see it as any different from the government forcing kids to go to school.


Yeah lets take away more freedom


In fact, I did. My parents were SO conservative, with my dad being a harsh disciplinarian. Not only were we (my sibs and I) not allowed out past 9:30, but we we not allowed on the phone past 10.


Its bad parenting to let your kid be out past 10pm? Midnight? You serious?