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How to Get Parents to Approve of Boyfriends

by Karen L. Blair

Getting your parents to approve of your choice in boyfriends can be a challenging task. Parents want the best for their children and sometimes have spent years developing in their own mind a "picture" of their child's perfect mate. When you bring home your boyfriend to meet your parents, your parents will probably, consciously or unconsciously, compare him and his qualities to the ideal mate they have created for you over the years. Since ideal and perfect people do not exist, chances are your boyfriend will deviate from your parents' imagined ideal in at least one way, if not many. While you can't make your parents approve of your boyfriend, you can try to influence your parents' perceptions of your boyfriend and your relationship with him.

Tell Your Parents About Your Boyfriend

Share stories about your relationship with your parents.

Parents are more likely to be skeptical and concerned about your potential boyfriends if you do not share any information about your dating partners with them. Failing to tell your parents about your boyfriend make lead them to wonder if there is something about him that you are hiding. Even if you do not plan on introducing your boyfriend to your parents right away, tell them about your boyfriend, share positive stories about him and allow your parents to share in your happiness of having found someone who makes you happy. If your parents see that you are happy and feel as though you trust them enough to share your dating experiences with them, they will be more likely to approve of your boyfriend when they do finally get to meet him.

Emphasize Your Boyfriend's Good Points

Tell your parents what you like best about your boyfriend.

One of the most common ways to influence parental opinions of a dating partner is to emphasize the partner's good points. Results from studies such as the one Leigh Leslie of the University of Maryland and her colleagues published in the Journal of Marriage and Family have shown that many people, especially young adults, strategically share information about their dating partners with their parents and that those who share predominantly positive information and who emphasize their partner's good points are more likely to gain approval of their relationship from their parents. Although you shouldn't lie to your parents or embellish your boyfriend's good qualities, it can be helpful to focus on the qualities in your partner of which you know your parents will approve.

Introduce Your Boyfriend To Your Parents

Set aside some time to introduce your boyfriend to your parents.

It can be difficult for your parents to approve of someone that they have never actually met. At the same time, you should also seriously consider the timing of introducing your parents to your boyfriend. Parents are more likely to approve of relationships that are more serious, therefore you may want to consider introducing your boyfriend to your parents only once you feel a certain level of commitment and certainty within your relationship.

Demonstrate Your Commitment To Your Boyfriend

Let your parents know that you are happy in your relationship.

Research has found that one of the biggest predictors of parental approval of a relationship or specific partner is the level of commitment between the partners and the stage of the relationship. In other words, parents tend to become more approving of a relationship or specific dating partner as time goes on and as the relationship becomes more serious. Sometimes this simply means that the best thing you can do to get your parents' approval of your boyfriend is to be patient and let time pass.

About the Author

Karen L. Blair has been professionally writing since 2001. Her work has been published in academic journals such as the "Journal of Sex Research," "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" and "Psychology & Sexuality." Blair received her M.Sc. in psychology at Acadia University and her Ph.D. in social psychology at Queen's University. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow and research consultant.

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