Have you been through it?
It will probably happen at least once in your life – you fall for someone that your parents disapprove. At times these disapprovals are valid while other times these disapprovals are invalid, irrational and makes no sense whatsoever at all. No matter what the reason may be, it is definitely difficult for us to deal with the situation when it actually happens.
When you fall deeply in love with someone that you want to share the joy, love and excitement you feel the closest to you – your family members. Naturally you will hope and dream that your parents will embrace your love interest whole-heartedly and see the person through your lens while holding as high of esteem as you do.
Sadly, this is not always the case. Parents are protective of their children by nature, and because of this sense of protection that developed the day their first child was born, parents always deem themselves to “know everything” and portray everything in their own sense of logic, not necessarily the truth. This is where the friction starts.
3 common way for a parent to show their disapproval at their child’s love choice
The “Expert Advice” approach
Parental authority can sound diplomatic, practical and sensible and parents consider themselves the voice of reason.
In their eyes you are still a child (a fact that never changes no matter how much you age) and they will throw 1001 reasons at you as to why this relationship doesn’t stand a chance. You might as well arm yourself with a sword and shield because you know you are going down a warpath with their reasonings.
The “Silent but Deadly” cold shoulder approach
Another way of tormenting your soul and sanity is by going silent every time you talk about your love interest. They seem to be counting on you to “wake up” and end that love relationship without them having to say a word.
Silence is definitely more punishing than harsh words at times and if they continue on this way you may have to be the one who brings up the issue.
The “Ultimate Ultimatum” approach
To some situation, parents are known to use extreme tactics to force their child to choose.
“Either him/her or us”
This is the harshest of all approaches, to some extent threatening to even disown you and push you out of their lives forever.
The situation of facing objections towards our love choice from someone that we have learnt to love and appreciate for all our lives is no fun. It is mentally and emotionally torturing, especially when you know that the reason behind the objection is based on personal opinions or “rumours” spread by others.
Obviously there is something that you want your parents to change their mind about, but what is it specifically? How do you identify the key reason behind their objections towards your choice of love? Before you start going into these challenging conversations with your parents, first you need to remember to set a goal from what you intend to get out of it. Use your goal as a discussion starter, leading the conversation by saying what you want to get out of it.
It’s unlikely you want to change your parents’ mind for the fun of it. There is always a reason for you to get your point across and that likely comes from your feelings about a certain subject. Here are ways to identify pain points from your parents’ objection and how to deal with it
How to identify parental objection and ways to deal with it
Examine your parents objections
Always be open and empathetic. Try to understand where your parents are coming from. If you can determine the actual reason they are objecting to your relationship, then the `solution is just right ahead of you.
What if they are wrong?
Objections based on racism, classism, religious bias or homophobia are not acceptable. This is unacceptable on your parents’ part so don’t let them put bigotry on you. If they are racist it’s their choice, but never ever let their personal choice control our lives.
Hold your ground against their bigotry, but do it maturely and in a respectful manner. These objections are likely happening out of fear for you or sometimes, clinging on to outdated social attitudes that your generation no longer shares.
What if they are right?
Listen carefully for what they have to say because your parents may see things that you don’t in your relationship. If your partner has encouraged you to pick up and indulge in bad habits such as drinking and smoking, your parents have a valid concern.
They have the right to speak up if your grades are dropping, you are losing your friends, your career is going downhill and even worse the trips to police stations to bail you out are getting more frequent!
Objection based on your sexual orientation
If you have recently come out to your family or if they have had difficulties accepting your sexual preference and orientation, the fact that they disapprove is not a shocker. You would have seen that coming miles away but then again, the fact that they are having difficulties accepting your true self doesn’t mean you should stop being true to yourself.
This sort of love affair needs to be handled more carefully because there is much more at stake besides your parents’ emotions. You must also be respectful to your partner’s feelings and point of view. If your partner is still keeping their sexual orientation a secret then the last thing they need is pressure from you and your parents too.
In cases of such, be supportive first to your partner and let them set the pace `for how “confrontational” you get with your parents. No matter what the outcome is, be ready and willing to deal with outright rejection from not just your parents, but also from the society as a whole. Try not to let it press things to the point where you stop enjoying the blissful feeling of falling in love.
Objection based on your love’s reputation
Reputations are vicious things, sometimes solidly based in facts and often nothing more than malicious gossips. You should know your partner fairly well, so trust your judgement and help your parents to see where you are coming from, cutting through all the surrounding noise.
It is essential that you really sit down and listen to what your parents have heard about your partner, from whom they have heard it from and what they heard is supposed to have happened. You will then find that your parents only have half the story or what they are hearing is only a part of your partner’s past that you are already aware of and resolved.
Objection based on your love’s behaviour and also correlating change in yours
To deal with this objections, you must be objective yourself and ask yourself, “Are they really out of line or do they have a point?”. Take a step back, look at how your partner behaves around your parents. Parents tend to be over sensitive to the bad behaviour of who is dating their child, but rarely they make mistakes over decisions made based on what they see first hand.
Be honest, never be defensive because believe it or not, sometimes being in love blinds us to things that are less than desirable in the object of our affections. If your partner’s behaviour is off the wall, then talk to them about it. Be kind and offer up comments rather than criticism. If you feel that you yourself has changed, take a step back and review your current lifestyle.
Have you picked up bad habits along the way? Have you turned complacent in the name of love? Sometimes, this are the things that you parents can see clearly whilst you fail to do so. If you can’t see any changes for yourself, then seek help from someone trustworthy, who is not afraid to tear you down with the truth.
Don’t stop seeing the person that you fell in love with, but never break your parents’ rules. It may not seem fair or right but as long as your parents do their part in your upbringing and supporting you, you do owe them a certain degree of compliance.
This doesn’t mean blind acceptance
Show them that you are mature enough to keep both your romantic and familial relationships in a balance even when the odds are against you. You may never truly know why your parents object and you may never get their blessing but you will definitely get their respect.