There is nothing more exciting than being a teenager in love. That feeling you get when you see your boyfriend or girlfriend. The butterflies you feel when you’re around them. The anticipation of that next text message or SnapChat or FaceTime. Looking forward to seeing them each day at school. Staring at them across the hall or classroom or lawn. It’s all so fresh and exhilarating. But what happens when you start hanging out and your parents don’t like him or her?
One thing that is important to remember is that your parents most likely have some legitimate concerns or reasons not to instantly like this other person. Your parent’s love you very much, and their biggest job is to fiercely protect you from trouble and harm.
Sometimes, they have reasons to fear that the person you love isn’t best for you or might cause you problems or pain. Maybe they fear this person will take up too much of your time and your grades will suffer. Perhaps they worry that this person will move too fast sexually and get you into a bad situation. It could be that their family is very different from yours in terms of values, rules and boundaries.
All of these things can be very worrisome to your parents. So, just as you wish they would often do for you, try to understand where they might be coming from, even if your think they’re being ridiculous.
Sometimes, parents simply express that they don’t like your choice of partner. Other times, they will interfere with your plans or even forbid you to see this person. But this doesn’t have to be a death sentence. There are ways to help turn your parents’ opinions around. So what can you do if you find yourself in this situation? Here are some do’s and some don’ts to help you guide you.
- Don’t sneak around behind your parents’ backs. Teenagers almost always get caught eventually, and nothing will break the trust faster than lying and sneaking. Even worse, you could face consequences that will make it even harder to see your love.
- Do keep communication open. Tell your parents that you know they don’t like him or her, but that you really do. Tell them a few reasons why you like this person. For example, he makes your laugh, she a good listener and helped you with a problem you were having, or he’s been really supportive of me. The more good qualities your parents hear about this person, the more likely they are to come around.
- Don’t be obnoxious and show a lot of PDA in front of your parents or others. Your parents are likely to find this trashy. Use some discretion and show the kind of maturity it would take for a parent to support you having a relationship with this person. On that note, don’t walk around with a giant hickey on your neck. I guarantee your parents won’t be amused by it. And by all means, don’t get a girl pregnant or allow yourself to get pregnant.
- Do invite your love over, if your parents will allow it. The more they get to know this person, the better chance they will begin to see what you see in them. When they are over, be very respectful of all of your parents’ rules. If you are not allowed in the bedroom or not allowed behind closed doors, then by all means, respect those rules. If you don’t, they will likely blame your partner, and it will confirm for them what they already believed about them. Don’t do it.
- Don’t stay up talking to them on your phone all through the night. Your parents expect that you can set some boundaries and get some sleep. If you don’t, you become a dangerous, tired driver, not to mention how your grades will potentially suffer. You parents will blame all of this on your new love if you allow any of it to happen. Don’t go there.
- Do take some time to reflect on your parents’ opinions, even if they didn’t necessarily express them in the most positive ways. Often, parents see things that are really true, but maybe you can’t see things as clearly because you are too close or too infatuated with this person. Don’ let the tension between you and your parents keep you from seeing something if it’s really there. Remember, your parents are truly looking out for you.
As parents, we know we can’t control who you love. We also know that if this is the person you want to be with, you will find a way to be with this person. But we also care deeply about you, and want what is best for you. Sometimes, we know things, and just want to protect you from getting hurt or making bad decisions. Most of us know that we must actually allow this to happen, but we do really have a hard time letting go. We just want you to know that.