How to Ask Your Dad if You Can Start Dating

Leave the attitude out of the conversation to avoid a fight.
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Talking to a Dad about dating can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be the most nerve-wracking conversation you've ever had. Don't wait until after you've started dating to ask if it's okay; this will only demonstrate that you don't respect Dad's rules, which won't get the conversation off to the best start. When you're ready to broach the subject, remember to make it a conversation -- not an argument -- so you can show him that you're not only old enough but also mature enough to date.

Demonstrate that you are trustworthy and responsible. While you might be anxious to start dating right now, think about what will show your dad that you're mature enough to do so. Focus on keeping up your grades at school and fulfilling your responsibilities around the house. Be responsible when you're out with friends, avoid detours to places that are forbidden and make it home by curfew every time.

Keep outbursts to an absolute minimum from now on. While it can be difficult to control your emotions when you're in the midst of a heated conversation with your dad -- whether it's about a flunked math test or a sleepover -- you should use the opportunity to display how grown up you are. Rational discussion can show your dad that you are more mature than he thought, particularly if you can accept an occasional "no" graciously.

Propose group dates at first. Instead of asking if you and your boyfriend can cozy up at the movies together, suggest that you bring along a few good friends. While your friends are not exactly chaperones, your dad might feel more comfortable in the beginning if he knows they are accompanying you.

Work with Dad to establish rules and boundaries and then stick to them. You can propose calling and checking in on a regular basis, detailing the activities of the evening and agreeing to a limited amount of time out on your date.

Introduce your date to your dad. While he might not warm up quickly, your father will likely appreciate that you are including him as much as possible. You don't have to introduce your date one-on-one if you think it would create too much pressure. You can have your friends drop by for a visit or before a group date and introduce your dad to each of the unfamiliar guests.

Accept your dad's decision -- even if you don't get the resounding "yes" you were hoping for -- but go ahead and ask when you can revisit the issue again. It's possible that your father has a particular concern that you can work toward relieving. Avoid sneaking around behind his back because this will cause substantial trust issues and delay dating privileges even longer.

  • You can ask your dad at what age he started dating; this will give you an idea about when he might consider letting you date.
  • If you're uncomfortable addressing your dad one-on-one, ask your mom, an aunt or uncle, or even an older sibling to be there with you when you make your proposal. Don't try to win this person over to your side, but rather make it clear that you want an objective participant in the conversation. This way, your dad won't feel that you and your support person are ganging up on him. Furthermore, if Dad says no, an objective party might be able to offer more insight into what you can do to change his mind in the future.

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.