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Why won't my parents allow me to single-date?


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I just don't get it. I'm 16 years old, and my parents don't let me date alone yet! Yes, I go out in groups to a place with my boyfriend, and, yes, I can double date, just not one-on-one.

My parents always want me to ask them first whenever I do something with my friends. Then my parents wonder why they can't trust me. Well, they can't if they don't give me enough leeway to show them I can be trusted.

My parents are just too strict!

—Tammy

Couple playing pool. Photo copyrighted.

It's an old, old story—teenager and parents struggling. It's always tough for the teenager and for the parent.

Tammy, I don't know your whole story. But rather than attacking your parents, maybe you should be asking some honest questions. Why do they ask what they ask? Maybe there are some reasons there that you have been overlooking.

Again, I don't know your whole situation, but this much I do know: God has placed your parents in authority in your life.

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (Eph 6:1,2).

As for why they don't allow you to date alone, I'm not sure. Maybe one of them or even both of them had a bad experience in their own dating life as a teenager. Maybe they dated too early and suffered some consequences from that. Or maybe they sense a caution light with you and your boyfriend dating alone.

Perhaps you and your boyfriend should sit down and discuss the question with your parents. Ask them what they believe and what they are thinking. Your parents need whatever fears they have put to rest. But Tammy, that won't happen if you lash out at them in anger. Just be honest—and kind—with them.

I guess I seem to be coming down on the side of your parents. But I'm a parent, too. And these are very scary times we're living in. Your parents are probably like all other parents: they have some genuine fears for the protection of their children.

I really believe you and your parents simply have failed to communicate. I suggest you get a third party—some other adult you trust—and sit down together and talk through your problems. Find out exactly where you stand in your parents' eyes, and have them explain their role in your life.

It's not easy in the 1990's to be a teenager, and it's just as difficult to be a parent. But I do know that God will help you and your parents through these struggles.

In a very few years, you'll be leaving your home and starting your life as an adult. Don't let these kind of problems hurt what should be very special years with you and your family. Maybe your parents do need to lighten up some, and maybe you need to understand better where they're coming from. But neither of those things will happen if you don't get together and talk about it.

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