Tips on Talking to Your Parents About Dating

Your parents are an important resource for information and support.Your parents are an important resource for information and support.

If you're a teenager, it's normal to feel awkward when discussing your romantic life with your parents. However, your parents are an important resource for you, so it's essential to know how to start these conversations. Whether you have general questions or need advice on a situation, approaching your parents in an open-minded and respectful manner will help you get the support you need.

How to Talk to Parents

Think about what you want to discuss. If you're not sure, try writing your thoughts down. Approach your parents when they're not busy, or ask them when you can talk to them about something. You can also write a note saying you want to talk. When you have your discussion, clearly state the situation and tell your parents whether you need advice, help or permission, or if you just want to talk.

What Not to Do

Don't talk to your parents at a time when they're stressed or distracted. If you're angry or frustrated, wait until you've calmed down before you talk to your parents. Even if you're angry, try to speak respectfully instead of yelling, insulting your parents or whining. If you need permission for something, don't wait until the last minute to ask, and don't lie to your parents.

If You Disagree

Many teens disagree with their parents about dating rules. It's also pretty common for parents to dislike your boyfriend or girlfriend, or some of your friends. Parents usually dislike teens' friends because they're worried their teenager will begin to experiment with drugs, alcohol, skipping school or sex. If you have a disagreement with your parents, respectfully state your argument and listen to your parents' reasoning. If you have a strained relationship with your parents, consider asking a relative, clergy member or social worker to mediate the discussion.

Other Resources

If you don't feel comfortable talking to your parents, talk to another trusted adult, such as an aunt or uncle, coach, teacher or school counselor. If you're in immediate danger -- for example, if you're thinking about suicide or you think you're in physical danger -- contact an emergency hotline or the police.

Relationship Checkup

If you think your partner might be abusive, talk to your parents or someone you trust. Signs of a unhealthy relationship include extreme possessiveness, being put down by your partner in front of others, pressure to have sex and physical threats or abuse, such as grabbing, hitting or shoving. Abusive partners may also refuse to take your opinions seriously, make all the decisions, check on you frequently and refuse to accept a breakup.

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About the Author

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.

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