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Talking to your Parents about Dating

Q: I’ve started dating someone from school, but my parents don’t know about it yet. How can I start talking to them about it?

It’s normal to want to have talk about your romantic and dating life. For lots of reasons, we sometimes have to (or want to!) have these conversations with our parents. Depending on how your parents feel about you dating, these conversations can be fun, informative, scary, or awkward. Ensuring that these conversations are positive experiences can be difficult, but here are some questions to keep in mind to help make it all go more smoothly!

Note: We’re using the term “parent” to stand in for any authority figure in your life that you may be wanting to share this info with. This could include parents, guardians, grandparents, and more!

How can I start a conversation?

Starting a conversation about relationships with your family can be stressful, especially if you’re not sure how they’ll react. Here are some things to keep in mind when you go to bring it up with your parents:

What can I say?
Here’s a few ideas of things you can say to start the conversation:

  • I think I want to start dating. Do you have any advice or rules?
  • There’s someone I think I want to ask out on a date. Do you want to meet them? Do I have a curfew?
  • I’d love if we could have some conversations about romance and dating. I could definitely use some input!

How can I help the conversation go more smoothly?

If talking about dating is a tense or emotional experience for you and your parents it can sometimes be hard to stay focused or level-headed throughout. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you hold down your end of the conversation:

It’s not all on you!
You shouldn’t be the only one following the above suggestions. If you want, you can share this blog post with your parents so that they can also be more mindful of things like their emotions, compromising, etc. While this conversation is about you, you shouldn’t be the only one doing all of the emotional and practical work to have it!

What if the conversation isn’t constructive?

For a lot of reasons, sometimes talking to your parents about your dating life might not be constructive. Maybe they’re just going to lecture you, lay down a bunch of rules, or ask too many invasive questions. For some people this can also include dealing with homophobia, racism, or other kinds of bigotry. Especially in those cases, in addition to reaching our for help, you can also keep in mind that your parents don’t need to know everything (especially if knowing everything will put you in harm’s way). If you don’t find that talking to your parents about dating is a helpful experience, you don’t have to keep talking to them about it. Other trusted adults (family friends, teachers, neighbours) or older siblings can be good people to turn to for advice, as well as people who can watch out for your safety when it comes to your dating decisions. Letting your parents know that you’re not comfortable talking to them is fine (it’s good to know your own boundaries), but it might also be helpful to let them know if you’ve started talking with an aunt or uncle about it instead. (This is not so your parents can pump them for information, but just so they know that you’re not doing this alone.)


If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]

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