How to Get Your Parents to Understand

You may think your parents are lame or don’t understand you, but surprisingly, the majority of teens say that their parents’ opinion of their boyfriend or girlfriend means a lot to them.  In fact, some would go so far as to say they wouldn’t date someone their parents didn’t like. But what if you’ve met an amazing guy or girl who you’re totally into and then the “meet the parents moment” is a total bust? Is it possible to change their minds?

Maybe, but it’ll take some work on your part. If your parents have concerns about your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s best to hear them out rather than dismissing them as lame or overprotective. Maybe the problem is truly just a misunderstanding. They thought he or she was rude and unfriendly, but you know that they’re just painfully shy and were super nervous about meeting your parents. Tell your parents why you like this person so much, what their best qualities are. It also wouldn’t hurt to throw in some of the thoughtful things they do for you.

It also helps to get them in the same room together on a regular basis. Start hanging out at your house more frequently, invite your boyfriend or girlfriend to come for dinner or to your little brother’s baseball game. The more your parents see the two of you interacting together in low pressure situations, the more apt they are to come around. Plus, if your sweetie is willing to spend time with the fam, that’s gotta earn them some points.

If you’ve tried all of these tactics and your parents still don’t approve of your boyfriend or girlfriend, you may need to take an honest look at why that is. Sometimes when we’re in a relationship, we’ve got the love blinders on, which can make it hard to see things for what they are. Your parents may think he or she treats you badly or is too controlling. Is this true? It may be hard to believe but your parents really do have your best interests at heart. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my boyfriend/girlfriend get upset with me if I can’t hang out all the time?
  • Are my friends mad at me because I never see them anymore?
  • Does my boyfriend/girlfriend put me down or make me feel bad about myself?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your parents might just be on to something.


Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant Number: 90-FE-0024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.


Michelle Hainer is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in numerous national publications including InStyle, The Washington Post, People, and Teen People. A former teen magazine editor, Michelle’s covered everything from pregnancy to peer pressure and is now covering all things relationship for Stay Teen. Have a question for Michelle? Send us an email!


 

WHAT OTHER TEENS ARE SAYING:

ON DECEMBER 16, 2014 AT 5:40 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

So i just moved to a new state this year and im 13. on the first day of school i saw this guy and i really liked him from that point and he liked me. We started dating on the second week of school and after dating for like 2 months we got caught kissing and we got In School Suspension. (BTW my parents never knew about him and they were really mad when they found out i got In School Suspension). We've been dating for 4 1/2 months now and i finally got the guts to tell my mom about him about a week ago. She said i should tell my dad and i did yesterday. He did not like the fact i was dating and when i got home afterschool today he wrote me a letter and put it in my room. He said that when im a little older like15 he will let some dating. Me and my boyfriend have never hung out and he wants to a lot. I dont know what to tell him. My parents wont let me date and we've been dating for 4 1/2 months. I love him so much i dont want to break up with him. What do i do?

ON DECEMBER 11, 2014 AT 10:50 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Im talking to someone and we both really like each other but her dad won't let us go out together

ON DECEMBER 10, 2014 AT 9:25 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm 15 and the guy I really want to be with is 18 and I don't know how to tell my parents and I'm really stressed about it

ON DECEMBER 10, 2014 AT 6:54 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I have a boy friend right now and my grandparents know about him but doesn't want me to be dating him cuz in his profile picture on facebook it had him with pericings and everything. I tried to tell them that he has no pericings cuz he got them out and they still wont let me see him and go out with him! how do I change there minds about him and make them believe that hes really sweet? help

ON DECEMBER 5, 2014 AT 12:44 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm really upset. My parents are super strict. I'm 18, yet they treat me like a baby. I'm not allowed to date until I get my own job and pay my own bills for housing, etc. Rules go as they say. They almost found out about my boyfriend. It was so scary. I'm really upset because I don't know what to do. I hate making up excuses to meet up with him everyday, they're going to find out. I wish I could just have a normal relationship.

ON NOVEMBER 30, 2014 AT 2:44 PM, MADELYN SAID:

My parents aré very overprotective and now things are just getting more harder in my life. My bf just moved away almost 5 months and i still miss him a lot and so does he. We love each other. We aré now in a long distance relationship. And now i sit alone at school and have almost no friends.

ON NOVEMBER 25, 2014 AT 11:31 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

My parents still hate that I even am friends let alone dating him!

ON NOVEMBER 25, 2014 AT 7:58 PM, #FEELING WORTHLESS SAID:

My parents won't let me go over to my boyfriends house. My boyfriends keeps asking me to ask if I can go over or telling me to just make excuses, what am I supposed to do:(

ON NOVEMBER 22, 2014 AT 1:36 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

So today I made plans with my boyfriend. I invited my best friend and her boyfriend over. apparently she cant come for she has a dinner. Her boyfriend said its better off if he doesn't come. So I told my father and I said my two other best friends can come instead. he said probably not. I said even my boyfriend. he said yes. I don't get why he doesn't trust me with him alone I have taken more responsibility than I have before and im really ticked off right now.

ON NOVEMBER 17, 2014 AT 3:41 PM, THAT RANDOM CHICK!! ^__^ SAID:

Im a 12 year old girl and my boyfriend is 14 and my parents don't approve of him! They think if we dated we would just hit it off and i would lose my virginity but NO!! We both don't want that at this age, we are way to young! I want to be able to hang out with him but i don't want my parents to think anymore then hanging out, We don't get to see each other that much because we go to different schools. I Really love him with all my heart! I just don't know what to do!

ON NOVEMBER 14, 2014 AT 8:40 PM, CHERRY SAID:

Well im 12 and I think that we girls should be able to have a boyfriend but they cant interact maybe like a kiss but no physical touching

ON OCTOBER 25, 2014 AT 9:21 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

How am i supposed to tell my parents i want her over. Because ive never had a girl over just by ourselves especially. Wont my parents think somethings going on?

ON OCTOBER 24, 2014 AT 8:59 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

In a few weeks I'm 15 and I met this boy on holiday I really like him iv met him since I speak to him every day and FaceTime him quite regularly my mum trusts me and him but the problem is he lives 400 miles away and because we don't see eachother a lot and his mum said to him it's fine for me to stay over the weekend my mum really likes him but I don't know how to ask her if I can stay I don't know how to ask? Can you help me please?

ON OCTOBER 23, 2014 AT 2:55 PM, MORGAN JAIDE DAVIS SAID:

I want to get back with my ex but my mom won't let me because he went out with my cousin. He didn't know she was my cousin. It was her first year at my school and she ASKED him out and he was like sure. I really want to get back together but my mom said the only thing he wants is drama because he went with my cousin. HE DIDN'T KNOW!!! As soon as I told him he broke up with her and kept apologizing.. He even told me he still loves me and wants us to be together even though I broke his heart. i don't know what to do.. My mom would kill me if she found out I even still like him so i always lie and say we are just friends. He's my best friend and I am his but I don't want to disappoint my family... I hate being a teenager.

ON OCTOBER 19, 2014 AT 6:00 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm 14 and have a boyfriend the same age, my parents don't accept him and were forcing me to break up with him but I've managed to convince them somehow that we can stay together, not sure for how much longer though. Anywho, this information really helped me a lot! Thank you xo

ON OCTOBER 18, 2014 AT 10:29 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I honestly think my mom misunderstands me. I'm in 9th grade now and I still cant go over to my boyfriends house. he can come over mine but we have to sit in the living room. I feel like as a teen I should have freedom. ive always talked to older guys, and she feels like its not right . the most they are older than me is like 1-3 years. I don't think im ready for sex or anything, idk. but I just want to be happy and be inlove. and most of my relationships have went down hill because we never got to see each other. maybe im too advanced for my age. I just wanna be abled to be trusted to do things on my own. I know my limits. and me and him have our limits. most parents always think about sex, babies,etc when girls have boyfriends. me nad him not even on that level . we just wanna be able to chill, take pictures, and have fun and enjoy each other. but we cant even do that. its crazy how boys and girls get different reactions when it comes to having bfs/gfs. boys:parents would be like good job and hes a boy and boys gonna be boys, and that's my boy but girls: you cant go here, that's not save, you cant date, you might get pregnant, or this and that. that's not right. girls wanna do things to. I just wanna be able to have fun and enjoy life while im here.
~Some Random Girl

ON OCTOBER 16, 2014 AT 9:54 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

my boyfriend and i broke up last night , because his mom did not want him dating. she didn't know we where dating and we were getting ready to be in this serious relationship together but he planned to tell his parents when he had better grades. last night she saw some of out messages nothing dirty or bad just the ilove you stuff but she got mad and said that she doesn't want him dating and that shes cool if we are friends and talk but that if we are dating she is going to take away his stuff and kick him out of the house so we talked about how we felt and that breaking up would be best for his sake of not being homeless. now its just hard to talk i dont know what to do..neither does he..

ON OCTOBER 15, 2014 AT 9:34 PM, KYLIE SAID:

Hi im a 12 year old girl. I been dating this guy for like a week and my mom knows and she likes him and lets me date him. But my dad... Is like '' i dont want u to hang out with him unless u have another girl with u. I have't told my dad i was dating cuz i know his gonna KILL ME, and i mean KILL. What should i do :(?

ON OCTOBER 15, 2014 AT 9:02 PM, SHANIATAYLOR SAID:

hi thats really good work you guys have done

ON OCTOBER 15, 2014 AT 8:50 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

So my boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year im 15 and him but point is that shes always blaming him for somthing when he comes over he will get back from work too see me and she`ll yell at him for not taking the trash out I dont get it she drives me crazy!! one day she loves him then the next minute hate him and I dont know what to do how do I get her from always being so bi polar about shit ugh!! help!!

ON OCTOBER 14, 2014 AT 10:23 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

i was caught dating one time in 6 grade and i fell super bad! im in 8th grade and im dating a boy behind my moms back he is a very nice boys and doesn't do drugs .i want to tell her i like a boy but im scared if she will freak out or scream at me :(

ON OCTOBER 8, 2014 AT 6:57 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Hi I'm 13 years old and my mom want let me date unstill I'm 15 but I really like this guy and I'm in the 8th grade and 6th and 7th grade I have dated guys without her knowing but now she knows about the new guy and she keep getting on to me about him and how I'm can date when I'm 15 but I don't want to start going be hide her back aging what should I do?

ON OCTOBER 7, 2014 AT 7:47 PM, ATLEGANG SAID:

I'm 12 nd dating this cool guy I want to tell my mom but I can't, what if I tell my mom nd she agrees but this guys is not that into me as much as I am into him?

ON OCTOBER 6, 2014 AT 5:23 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I am 10 and I like this 11 year old and he likes me .
My mom knows and says that I am to young to be in love but I beg to differ .
But I love him and he loves me.
Help, she think I will be kissing him but I am not worried about it.
HELPPPPPPPPPPP

ON OCTOBER 6, 2014 AT 7:40 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm young... I am thirteen, but my mom doesn't get that I'm going to have to grow up at some point. She just doesn't except now. It's too late though... she found my texts. Nothing horrible, but she looked at my best friend and mines conversation about how I made out with my boyfriend. My boyfriend and I have known each other for about 7 months and we really care about each other... So much. I'm grounded now for who knows how long and I can't talk to him. He is one grade above me so last year I stayed in eighth grade and he went to the high school. My mom has met him and I told her over the summer we broke up. (dumb decision) We got back together as if we can't be apart. my mom doesn't and wont ever get me.

ON OCTOBER 5, 2014 AT 6:47 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

My girlfriends parents think i am a bad influence because of a text about skipping class. What do i do?

ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 AT 9:18 AM, ANONYMOUS GIRL SAID:

hi I have this crush and he is the last person I would expect to like because he is always mean to me im12-13 he is 12 everyone including his and my best friend also his ex say he likes me he is all I can think about HELP!!!!!! I EVEN WENT OUT WITH THIS GUY TO MAKE HIM JEALOUS idk what to do

ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 AT 10:35 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm 12 and I like a 14 year old. I just started to like him last week and all my friends have told him when I asked them not too. They all said he didn't really say anything besides who is she or I know. They all think I should ask him out when I don't even know him and he doesn't know me. My mom doesn't really care who I date as long as he treats me right. My dad on the other hand is way over protective and thinks that I'm still his little girl. He needs to know that I'm gonna grow up at some point right? Well I need advice on how to get to know him better. I'm really shy and I'm scared to talk to him a little.

ON SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 AT 2:48 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Well I have a question and I'm really desprite. My parents don't wanna meet my boyfriend cause they scared that I'll make the same mistake they did and I mean I'm not that kinda person and I'm willing to prove to them that I really like this guy and I want to show my parents that I'm open with them but...I don't no what to do

ON SEPTEMBER 14, 2014 AT 1:17 PM, SES SAID:

Sometimes we fall inlove with the wrong people and think we are inlove when we are just in lust ....how can we tell when we are inlove?

ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 AT 8:46 PM, VIOLETEMBLEMX SAID:

Hey there, I've liked this guy for a short while now, and before anyone says "that isn't love" I can assure you, it is, I'm not the romantic type, so when I do finally fall in love, I recognize it. I am 15 and he is 16, my parents do not want me to date and it really makes me feel controlled. Is my life really mine? I love him so much but can only see him at school or basketball practice :( What should I do?

ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 AT 6:31 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

ok so im 14 and my mom thinks she knows me or knows whats best for me but shes just getting in the way an im just not a kid anymore but to her im a 5 year old girl again. She trys to help but she makes things worse.... what should i do ignore her or what because iv tryed to tlk to her...?????

ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 AT 4:01 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

my parents will usually allow me to go out with friends. but every time, there is strict questioning (from my dad) about who's going to be there, what times. blah, blah, blah. he gets uncomfortable if i say a boy's name. im thirteen, ive never had a boyfriend, and im not currently looking for one. i just have a lot of guy friends. my dad always wants to pick me up early so i can have dinner with my family, im sick of family time. if we agree that i can stay out for dinner, my dad will want to eat at a restaurant nearby where i am just to make it easier to pick me up. when i tell him i dont want him nearby, he gets offended. he doesn't understand why he can't. how do i stay cool and keep my friends without upsetting my dad.

ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 AT 12:16 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm 14 and I liked this guy last year, and when mom found out I'd been texting a boy, she freaked and banned me from texting him. Ever. Again.

I can't even talk see him if mom finds out...parents, huh? Think you're just gonna go and do it with him, I mean gosh mom, I'm 14! Wait until it's legal, AT LEAST! T_T

And I mean, I wouldn't even do it until I was like 17 at least anyways. >u<

ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 AT 10:46 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

im 13 my mom wont let me even text to my guy friends ,I texted to my bestfriend and I told her I like this really cute guy at my horse camp and she scolded me for telling someone I like this guy. WHY ARE PARENTS SO OVER PROTECTIVE !!!!

ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 AT 8:57 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

My boyfriends family invited me to go to the Alabama game next weekend 5 hours away. We would be staying with his sister in her apartment. My mom won't let me go because we'd be staying the night and she doesn't want anything to happen. She says she trusts me but I don't understand why she would say no if she actually trusted me. Any help to convince her? We'd be with his family the entire time. No alone time at all which is fine with me and I would be sleeping with his mother on the couch.

ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 AT 12:04 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

This article was helpful but what if its before you start to go out? I really like this guy and everybody says that he likes me but my mum has expressed feeling that she thinks he is very weird and shy and my family made jokes about it. She is quite judgemental and I am worried that if he asks me out I won't know what to do. My mums opinion means a lot to me but I do like him a lot and don't know what to do if the situation arises!! Help?

ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 AT 3:44 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Im an asian boy, in high school, and my parents dont let me meet or text any of my friends. They are too controling, andi dont let me have a social life.

ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 AT 12:38 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm 17 and I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 1.5 years. He was a total jerk, controlling, and only cared about himself. I was miserable, but my parents liked him. I started dating this amazing guy and he's only a year older. I am so happy with him; he treats me fairly and surprises me all the time which i love. He's been over to dinner once and my parents already determined they don't like him. Yet, they don't know him. He was only late for a date once for a reason out of his control. They say I've been acting differently after seeing him. Yeah....I'm happy. They're just mad i won't let them be so controlling anymore...

ON AUGUST 25, 2014 AT 12:31 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

So my mom is still telling me I have to put my phone away at 9 o'clock and I'm going to high school what should I do about it ?

ON AUGUST 25, 2014 AT 12:26 AM, LACY TODD SAID:

I'm 12 years old, and I know for a fact I'm in love with this boy. Him and I have been dating for 8 months now. He is 13, and him and I kiss and hug, and every time I say I love him to my mom, she's like "YOUR TOO YOUNG TO LOVE!!!! DON'T EVEN SAY THAT!!!!" and it bugs me!!!! I may be young, but she needs to let me grow up. I know I love this boy with all my heart.... You people on here are probably thinking "Wtf is wrong with this girl????" But I'm SERIOUS!!!!

ON AUGUST 24, 2014 AT 9:01 AM, MARISSA MILLARD SAID:

My boyfriends parents are trying to make us stop seeing on another cuz his mom dont like me. And this started cuz his dad grounded him for a month and his mom said we could not talk to one another for that time so he got on face book with a DS and we talked and then she caught us and told him to say he could not see me and all so we started sneaking around to hang out at school well we was supposed to go to a football game we waited at my house for the football game start and it got canceled and his mom found out and said whole lot of mean things to me and then they said they would transfer him schools

ON AUGUST 20, 2014 AT 9:17 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm 14, and I really like this guy and he likes me. We have dated for like 6 months but he didn't want to date me anymore because my parents didn't know and he does want to have to be in a relationship that's a secret. I don't either but I am afraid to tell my parents because I am afraid they won't like him. My mom says she doesn't like him, but she hasn't even met him. What do I do?

ON AUGUST 16, 2014 AT 3:09 AM, SHARON SAID:

im turning 16 on the 29th of december i love this guy but my mom and dad dont want me to date..well i tried to hide it from my mom but my mom digs everything..if i go to de shop i must take 5 mins after school she calls where are you...etc....its like im in jail she keeps commenting saying you're still young to have a boyfriend she doesnt want me to go out even if i say im going to see a friend she'll be like no tell that friend of yours to cumover... that pushed me to sleep out twice and i didnt like it...please help me im disparate

ON AUGUST 15, 2014 AT 12:24 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

well im 15 and i my cousin introduced me to her ex boyfriend nephew and we been talking on the phone for almost 4 years now and now just started video chatting.we never met in person because my mom is overprotective and say that im not allowed to date until im 18 But i really like to the point that i love him and he love me to ....We talked about sex in converstations but i told him that i wanted to save myself for marriege and he understood how i felt .im scared to tell my mom that i like boys and that i want to go on a date with him.she wont let me talk to boys on the phone or even look at them and i really want her approval to see him or to even date him .my dad is kinda understanding but im scared to tell about my crush.alsp the guy ilike is 15 too and bought to be 16 the fall....and he wants me to hurry and tell my parents so we can see each other and we dont care if our parents is there togather watching us we just want to see each other and be happy .WHAT SHOULD I DO........HELP ME!!!!!

ON AUGUST 14, 2014 AT 12:43 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

My mom is very confusing , she lets me go out only at times (satandsunday) at times and only for 2 hrs , she dosent understand me at all , i understand i have school matters and stuff but i am also a teen and is not all about school really i been daying for almost 3 years

ON AUGUST 14, 2014 AT 12:15 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Im 19 and have been dating my boyfriend for over a year now. We met between mutual friends and instantly hit it off. After dating for a few months, he shared some of his past/history (things he now regrets) with me. Long story short my parents found out about his past through reading my text messages and facebook messages. Since then, they have made my life difficult. They want me to break up with him because of things he did before he even met me. I feel like since they found out they've been treating me and him differently, and pointing out things they wouldn't have if they didn't know about his history. I am a very open minded and forgiving person and am having a really tough time seeing their point of view. My boyfriend and I have become so close. He is my best friend. But I love my parents and want more than anything to please them and make them happy. It sucks not being able to hang out with the family and the boyfriend without feeling like everyone is judging him. My parents are constantly saying that hes not the right guy for me and to break up with him. But that is not how I feel in my heart, and I feel like it should be my decision to make. Its not like I'm 13 and weve only been together for a month or two, I'm 19 and its been over a year and my feelings for him are continuing to grow stronger. My relationship with my parents is falling apart. They think I am making bad choices and am going to regret this years from now. Everything has turned into yelling and tears. It has hurt both me and my boyfriend, and is emotionally too much for me to handle. It almost makes me want to break up with my boyfriend just so I don't have to go through this. I need HELP. I don't know what to do.

ON AUGUST 13, 2014 AT 5:15 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I have a very strict mom, which in my case ive had to sneak around to use the phone or etc to get ahold of him. It hurts me to have a relationship like this with my mom but if that's what it takes to be with him to at LEAST talk to him then that's what It will have to be.. we've talked for 4 years before him & I got together and I wish I can go to my mom & tell her all these things but the only thing she will do is flip out on me. Ive had some trouble in my past which was 2 years ago but I changed for the better & by now she should realize im on the right track.. I get straight A's, I don't sneak out (yet, if that's what I need to start doing that's what will happen) im just getting very fed up with all of this. I DO NOT WANT TO LOSE HIM . over something so small.. which I talked to him about this whole situation & he said he wills tick with me through whatever. so im okay with that I just feel he might get a little irritated with my mom & the way she is. sooner or later I know I will be making my own choices, but I think its time for my mom to let me live more freely and I do not know how to make her understand! Helpp!!

ON AUGUST 10, 2014 AT 9:37 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

My mom said I can hang out with guys but my dad he is the complete opposite and am afraid if I let him met him then he would embarrass me

ON AUGUST 7, 2014 AT 6:46 PM, ASHLEY SAID:

Me and my boyfriend been dating for almost 8 months I'm 17 and he 18 and we knew each other for 5 years before we started dating were in love with each other but my parents think I should stay focus in school n I was like I can do both I meet his parents n there are nice and they treat me like a princess lol n also were I'm a serious relationship n were waiting to have sex until after highschool which is in June 2016 but I'm parents are acting I can't wait to go back to school n see my boyfriend but I only see him after schools because we dont go to the same school

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