They Hate Him! They Won't Let Me Date Her!
by Jennifer Pinkowski, 06.11.02
If your parents don't like your new boyfriend
or girlfriend — even if you think he or she is the greatest thing sliced bread — you're going to have trouble.
You might be punished if you date your new love. You might constantly sweat bullets from the stress of sneaking around.
first thing to do is to try to see the situation from your parents' perspective. The number one issue for them is your safety.
"Teens need to understand that even good parents are scared to death," says Donnie McKinney, a counselor at the teen-run online
community Teenoutreach.com. "They are seeing their children gain independence and they're driving around where they can't
protect them all the time. They can't control who they hang around. So they panic. They're not sure they adequately trained
their kids. They're scared their teens are going to ruin their lives. Teens would probably feel sorry for their parents, instead
of being angry and hurt by them, if they just understood what makes them tick."
Take this into consideration, even
if you think your parents are overprotective. Have your parents seen your partner yell at you, hit you, or otherwise be disrespectful
or threatening? In this realm, it's a good idea not to have a knee-jerk "they-just-don't-understand-my-love!" reaction, but
to really consider if they're seeing something that you're not. We all want to be loved, and sometimes we're willing to take
what we can get, even from people who aren't good for us.
But if that's not the issue, you have to find out what is.
Your parents are from a different generation, so they may have ideas about dating that won't jibe with yours. This can play
out in ways that a lot us don't approve of: biases against people from other races, classes, or religions. The sad reality
is that if you're from different backgrounds, someone, somewhere is going to take issue with you. If that "someone" is Mom
or Dad, the best place to start would be to make clear to them that your boyfriend or girlfriend is no different from any
other human being.
McKinney advises hopefully, "Maybe they [your parents] can see their prejudices, logically, once
their eyes are opened." The best argument is that you like the person regardless of your superficial differences; you have
found things in common that make you both happy. It's a point you're going to have to hammer home again and again.
going to take persistence to make your parents believe that you've made the right decision, so make sure you're committed
to the relationship. And your parents must believe that you're capable of making that decision. If they've seen you behave
in mature and intelligent ways before, they're going to be more willing to take your feelings into account and trust you.