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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.

Author: Michelle H.
Teenagers sitting on a tree limb

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