Disapproving parents can be a handful and I’m pretty sure they think the same about you. After all, they did raise you. But when the time comes to introduce them to your new boo, it can be nerve-wracking. From strict parents to religious, old-fashioned parents, getting your parents on board with your relationship can be troublesome. Believe me, I hopped on a plane to travel to another state with my boyfriend one summer just to have my parents come to their senses. And while I don’t agree with anyone going to those lengths to get parents on board with a relationship, I am sure that the efforts will be worth it in the end.
But before we get to those steps to winning the parents’ approval, take the time to think. Think about why you are putting in the effort to convince your parents. If it’s to prove something to your parents, then you may want to reconsider. If you’re going to work at gaining your parents’ approval, you should be able to see that relationship going somewhere. And if you do, then, by all means, continue to fight for love. But you also have to consider the way that person treats you. There is no excuse and tolerance for any sort of abuse: physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, etc. You should not be fighting for a relationship that is toxic. But if all is alright, then I strongly encourage you to make these efforts in getting your parents on board with your relationship, but you have to be ready for all outcomes. Remember, in doing this, you’re saying that you are willing to fight for this person.
1. Talk With Your Parents About Dating In General
Assuming you are still living under your parents’ roof and under the age of 18, it is extremely important to see where your parents stand on the matter of dating. Considering that your parents will want grandchildren in the distant future, they will eventually want you to meet someone. But some parents have specific age restrictions when it comes to dating. Parents need to understand that, at some point, their children will start developing romantic feelings — it’s a normal, human thing. But, because of the consequences that come with dating, parents become protective, which is understandable. But, again, you will start having needs that need to be met. Sitting down and talking with your parents about having a relationship can be awkward because sometimes “the talk” follows. But talking with them is a sign of respect — that you respect their wishes.
Now, don’t just ask if you can start dating because you’re trying to get your disapproving parents on board with this relationship. Start by telling your parents that you respect their rules and their household. Next, explain to them that you’re maturing and you’re going to one day meet a person who shares the same romantic feelings as you. Then, ask about their rules and restrictions when it comes to dating. Avoid yes or no questions like “Is it alright if I start dating?” because it makes it easier for them to say “no” without any explanation. Ask open-ended questions that require longer responses so you can find your loophole. What I mean by that is, if your parents tell you that they need to meet the person you are interested in before the friendship turns into a relationship, then the two of you need to play buddy-buddy in front of them. But talking with your parents about their rules on dating is a sign of respect that they will appreciate.
2. Invite Your “Friend” To Certain Events With Your Family
Playing buddy-buddy is a way for your disapproving parents to get to know and get comfortable with your “friend.” On an episode of Degrassi, Alli and Dave were already dating but decided to pretend to be friends in front of her parents so they could get to know him. And while I do agree with that, I do want you to be careful. I understand that parents can be tough, but that doesn’t mean you have to change who your partner is. Alli was shaping Dave into a person who she thought her parents would like more, not thinking about the consequences that may come when the real Dave is shown. Let your partner be who they are because it’s not about making them appear as the person your parents are likely to approve. Chances are, your parents weren’t perfect either. It’s all about your parents getting to know the real them. But it doesn’t hurt for your partner to wear a belt if he/she sags their pants, as it would be considered disrespectful of them to show their underwear.
Some ways to have your parents get to know your S.O. is by inviting them to certain events, like family birthday parties, barbecues, church/bible study, family dinner, a family member’s wedding (with the permission of the bride and groom), etc. If you keep asking, eventually they will cave, but make sure you ask if you could invite a friend. But don’t ask for every single event because they will soon discover that there’s more going on and some things are best when it’s just family. A family is everything and should come first.
3. Talk With Parents Pt. 2
It’s time for that second sit down and talk moment. This time you are going to tell your disapproving parents you have developed feelings for that friend and clarify for them once again that you respect their wishes and house rules. Before confessing your feelings about your partner, ask about their feelings towards them. What are their likes and dislikes? You know the person better than your parents, and asking for their likes and dislikes is to make sure your disapproving parents have an understanding of them. For example, if your parents don’t like how your partner doesn’t talk much, explain to them why they are that way.
After they confess their likes and dislikes, you may proceed to tell your parents that you like that person and want to slowly start to form a relationship but you don’t want to do it without their approval. Think of this approach as the moment when a boyfriend asks the girlfriend’s parents for her hand in marriage. But instead, you are asking your parents for their approval to start dating. Your parents will be flattered because this says you respect them and want them to be a part of certain (not every) aspects of your life. Before they can answer with a yes or no, emphasize that this is like a trial run, meaning it’s to see whether or not things are going to work out, which is technically what dating is.
Now, a lot of parents are against their children being involved in romantic relationships because they think of them as distractions. Do not freak out if your parents say this! Every parent wants the best for their son and daughter and they don’t want anything to jeopardize that. At the same time, address this issue before your parents do because parents have a rule book and dating is a section, and under the reasons not to date, every parent has the “it’s a distraction” reason. Tell them that you understand their concerns about how getting involved in a romantic relationship scares them into thinking that you are going to throw away your potential. Assuage their worries by promising to continue to thrive in everything you do, including school. But only do this if your relationship is worth fighting for because not only do you need to say this to them, but you need to do it. If you don’t think your relationship is worth it, then save everyone else’s time, including yours, and don’t bother trying to get your parents on board.
4. You Said It And Now It’s Time To Do It
Whether they said “I’ll think about it” or “yes,” it is time to put those words into action. Your parents don’t want your relationship to ruin the best you, which is why promising them that you will not allow that to happen is a great way to help ease their worries. And now that you’ve said it, you have to do it. Your disapproving parents will soon change to approving parents when you show them that you meant every word and that this relationship is important to you. Some ways to show your parents would be helping around the house, respecting their wishes, not getting an attitude, respecting curfew, and taking work or school seriously.
5. Continue Involving Your Parents
Congratulations on having a relationship with your parents’ knowledge! Now, that doesn’t mean you can exclude them. You’ve worked so hard to transform your disapproving parents into approving parents, so don’t do anything to change that. I understand that now you’re in a relationship that your parents know about, and you want to spend every second with your boo, but you need to remember that your parents were once disapproving parents and now they approve of your relationship. Make sure you continue spending time with them because the moment you change your ways, especially distancing yourself from them to spend time with your honey, they will regret their decision and things can get messy, like forcing you to end the relationship. The bottom line is don’t forget your parents. It’s hard for them to share you with someone else, and they are probably hoping not to be left out. So, consider planning a family game night (with or without your love) or a family dinner.
Sometimes it’s hard to get disapproving parents on board with your relationship. Or maybe you’re already in a relationship and your partner isn’t making the effort to introduce you to their parents. Share this with that partner and with your other friends. Comment on the problems you’re facing with your parents regarding your relationship, or just helpful tips for others struggling with disapproving parents!
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Hello! For starters, thank you for taking the time to figure out who I am. My name is Taylor Berry, a journalism major at Florida A&M University and I am from Fort Lauderdale, FL. God is the reason I am here right now writing for this amazing online magazine and I can't wait to see where it takes me. I am happily engaged and I love that the love of my life is so supportive of my career choices and he is the reason I am working hard at making my goals a reality. This writing opportunity at Society19 is the start and I am grateful for the people who gave me this opportunity. I know I won't let them down and I won't let the readers down. So, I encourage those of you out there who are bored or looking for the latest styles, advice, and gossip, explore Society19! And don't forget to like, comment and share!!!