How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Date
Talking to your parents about dating can seem scary at first. Figuring out where your parents stand on the topics of dating is an important first step. Knowing what you want to say, and being clear, direct, and honest with your parents, will you help you communicate why you deserve the freedom to date. Maintaining a good relationship with your parents and learning to compromise will probably, more than anything else, convince your parents to let you date.
Understanding Your Parents
Ask your siblings, relatives, or family friends about whether your parents have any strong beliefs or biases about dating.A bias is a prejudice for or against something. Understanding their position on dating will help you decide how, and if, you should talk to them about you dating.
- Dating is a non-negotiable in some families. This means dating is absolutely not allowed. If this is the case in your family, you may need to consider how to be content being single. Their decision may make you feel angry, confused, and upset with your parents. Your emotions are all completely normal reactions to have, however, there are online resources (including the one listed here) that will help you concentrate on positive aspects of being single.
- Some parents may have biases and attitudes about other people that are discriminatory and not about keeping you safe. Discrimination can be about a person’s gender, skin color, ethnicity, class, or appearance, etc.. Discrimination can be obvious, like not letting people come over because of their identity; and it can also be less obvious, like if they talk badly about that person in terms of stereotypes, or assumptions, based on the person’s identity.
- If your parents have strong religious views on dating, you may want to talk to someone who has similar religious views to your parents, and ask them to help you understand the rules of dating in their religion.
Do not talk to your parents about dating or sex, if you think it is not safe for you or your partner.Trust your instincts, you are the best person at judging whether your parents might be very opposed to you dating or having sex. If you have any concerns about your safety, contact a counselor about what is going on in your family, and they will help you- read on to the next step.
- If you are worried about your safety in the event that your parents find out about you dating, you may want to look into making a safety planner. A safety planner is your plan for how to get help if you are in a dangerous situation, and you can find one in the link listed.
Consider talking to a counselor or a trusted adult about any problem or serious issue you might have with your parents.Talking to your parents about dating may bring up problems in your family that you need help addressing. Luckily, there are free counselors and online resources with toll-free hotlines for teens who need help talking to their parents. Make sure that it is a safe or government website, however, before you call.
Communicating with Your Parents
Tell your parents you want to talk to them about dating.Find a safe and distraction free space where you and your parents can talk. Make sure both of you have time to have a full discussion about dating. Starting the conversation is always the hardest part, but once you get started talking it gets easier.
- You can say, "Mom and dad, can I talk to you about dating? Is there a place we could talk just the three of us?" You may want to make sure that it is only the three of you talking, if you have siblings, don't discuss dating with them. If there are other people there, they can make the conversation more complicated.
Communicate clearly with your parents.Be as direct and honest as possible and remember to remain calm. Consider starting off the conversation by saying, "The reason I want to talk to you about dating is because I am wondering about it and want to talk to you about a few things." Your parents will probably appreciate that you know what you have thought what you want to talk to them about.
- Write down what you want to say to your parents. You can write down all your thoughts and feelings and then circle the main points. After you have your main points rephrase them so that they are clear and direct. Remember to leave space in the conversation for your parents to talk.
- If your parents interrupt you often, calmly explain that you want to explain each point you are making fully, before the discussion begins. Say, "I have some things to say, but I want to finish what I want to say before we start discussing it together, is that okay?"
Listen carefully to what your parents have to say, and try to understand their point of view.You might assume that you know their views when you don't know for sure how they feel. Show them that you care about their feelings and concerns. They probably just want the best for you, and may need time to understand that you want to date.
- At first you may find it difficult to listen because you are talking about that you really care about. However, if you can focus on what they are saying you will have a much more productive discussion.
- If you are unclear about what they are saying or want to show them you understand them, you can reframe what they are saying understanding what they are saying correctly. You can say, “So what you are saying is that…” and re-explain their most important points.
Do not argue!It is easy to become emotional and irrational when you are talking about things that really matter to you. Arguing will not help you communicate clearly and could end up hurting your chances of getting through to your parents. If you find yourself arguing stop and back away from the topic you are talking about and move on to a more neutral topic of conversation.
- If your parents start to argue and getting angry, back away from the issue and talk about dating at another time after they have calmed down.
Negotiate if you have different expectations for dating than your parents.Negotiations are a process and they might take a few conversations before everything gets worked out. Work to find compromises that make both parties happy.
- For example, maybe your parents will be okay with you going out on a group date, even if they don’t want you to go on dates one-on-one, yet. Also, if you are able to respect a compromise you have made with your parents, maybe later they will allow you even more freedom to date.
Be prepared for your parents to say no.Remember, you may initially feel angry, frustrated, or discouraged, and that is okay. Try your best to stay respectful to your parents, even if you feel frustrated. If you need to take some time to yourself go to a quiet place where you can be alone for some time and write in a journal about your feelings, this will help calm you down.
- After some time has passed, feel out the situation and decide when/if you should bring dating up again. If you can remain mature and calm through the discussions about dating, this might show your parents that you are more grown up than they realized.
- If your parents say no it might be negotiable later or it may be completely non-negotiable. Whichever the case, consider spending more time with your parents rather than less. Your first impulse may be to pull away but your parents, however, maintaining a strong relationship with your parents is going to help you in the long run.
Maintain a good relationship if your parents agree to let you date or if they say no.Continue to talk to your parents regularly about your relationships, either casually or in a one on one conversation. Set up parent dates where you can go out with your parents and catch up on life and how you are doing.
- If you start having problems due to your relationship, have another talk with your parents. This is natural because dating is going to bring up a lot of new situations you need to talk through. Go through the same processes of communication that are described above.
- You may have to talk through the same issues several times before you both parties feel good about the situation. Remember, it is a growing process, and working through dating issues in a healthy way may end up strengthening your relationship with your parents and your partner.
Let your parents know what dating means to you, and ask them what dating means to them.Dating to your parents might mean something very different than what it means to you. If you are both talking about the same thing you will be much more likely to have a productive conversation.
- If by dating you mean going out on group dates with your friends on the weekends and being home by ten, your parents may not have a problem with you dating.
- If, on the other hand, you want to see, or talk to, the person you are dating every day and go to their house, then you parents will need to know that is what dating means to you.
- Telling your parents more about the context of what is going on in your life with dating, it may help them understand you and why you want to date. For example, if many of your friends have been dating for the past four years and you haven't dated yet, you may want to tell them that.
Explain the who, what, when and where of you and dating.Going through the details of what dating is going to look like for you will give your parents an idea of what to expect with dating. Talking through the details can clear up any misconceptions about what you want from dating; and it might bring up things that you need to negotiate, like the time you are expected to be home or how you will get home from your date.
- If you think that your parents might be okay with you dating the person you are interested in, tell them about what the person you are interested in, how you know that person, and maybe even why you like that person.
- Tell them what it will be like when you go on a date. Explain who you will be out with, what you will be doing, where you will be going, how you will get there, and what time you will be home.
- If you plan on hanging out with the person you are dating on a frequent or regular basis, let your parents know how that will look. Let them know where you will be expected to be, the adults or people that will be there with you, and how they can contact his/her parents, if something comes up.
Talk to your parents about sex.It may feel awkward at first but your parents may respond better than you expected. You may have some false assumptions about how they feel or what they think about sex. You can say, "I know it is awkward to talk about sex with your parents, but I think it it is important that we talk about sex."
- Some parents are going to be okay with you having sex, as long as you use protection and are old or mature enough. Other parents don’t want their children having sex until they are married. And there is a wide range between those two parent types.
- Finding out how your parents feel about sex will help you decide how to have the conversation. For example, if your parents do not want you to date because they do not want you to have sex, you may want to think about asking to go on group dates before you ask to go on dates alone.
- If your parents are concerned about pregnancy, let them know that you want to be safe. Consider learning more about sexual health by going to sexual health clinic, like Planned Parenthood, or by talking to your doctor about sex. Let your parents know that you are knowledgeable and prepared. If you can talk to your parents about sex in a healthy and informed way, this may show them you have matured more than they realize.
- If you are not sexually active and do not plan to be sexually active, tell your parents that you have decided you are waiting to have sex! This will probably make your parents relieved, if they are concerned about sex.
Ask your parents how old/mature they think you should be to date.Your parents may not have a set answer to this question, which may work out in your favor. You can ask them how you could show that you are ready to date to them. Maybe if you take on more responsibilities or improve your performance in school, they will feel like you are ready to date.
- If your parents are concerned about your maturity, make sure you come home when you are supposed to, send them texts telling them where you are, and act responsible about whatever it is that they typically get on you about. Your parents will be more likely to let you date if they see you acting maturely, consistently.
- If you are much younger than they want you to be to date, you may want to think about ways you can happily live single while you wait. The link here talks about how to have fun living the single life.
- If you are close to the age they want you to be, ask them if they are willing to negotiate and let you go on group or family dates.
Ask your parents who they would, and would not, be okay with you dating.This is important information to know, because you may assume that you are allowed to date someone who is out of high school, while your parents think that you should only date people your age. If you don't clear up this confusion, you may end up accidentally upsetting your parents later.
- Find out how old your parents think is too old for you to date, or young. Ask them if they have any other specifications of who you are (not) allowed to date.
- If your parents are not okay with you dating someone based on gender, skin color, ethnicity, class, ability, appearance etc., this may because some of their attitudes are discriminatory and not about keeping you safe. See step 1.2 for more information about what to do in this scenario.
- Communicate clearly and directly with your parents.
- Be patient with your parents.
- Try to show them how much you have matured.
- Listen carefully to what they have to say, and try to understand their perspective.
- Use dating as a motivation for yourself to get on the work they want you to do.
- Be mature. Get good grades, don't get in trouble, respect the rules and don't disobey your parents' rules. Get there respect first, before you push their rules to the specification to yours.
- A lot of parents are understanding about dating when it is age-appropriate and safe for you (depending on your education, your physical and emotional health and it doesn't seem like you are being taken advantage of). How do you think they met?
- If you already have a boyfriend or girlfriend (or have someone who likes you back) and believe you two are a good couple, think about introducing them as a friend first.
- Tread very carefully if your culture or religion has strict rules on the subject and your parents follow them meticulously.
Video: How To Get Your Parents to Say Yes To Anything
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