How to Tell a Strict Father That I Have a Boyfriend

Have a direct conversation with your dad, giving him the details he needs to know.
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Dating under your dad's strict eye doesn't seem easy. That said, you fell for a guy and now you have a boyfriend. Even though you're feeling the giddiness of a first love, or at least infatuation, telling your dad about your relationship makes your stomach swirl. If your father has rigid rules when it comes to your social life, telling him that you have a boyfriend takes a blend of careful consideration and educated assertiveness.

1 Go for a Goal

What do you want to get out of your conversation with your dad? Do you just want to inform him that you're now dating or do you have something more specific in mind, such as getting his permission to go to the prom with your new guy? Before you break out the boyfriend news, set a goal for your conversation. Doing this shows that you have maturity, according to the article "Talking to Your Parents -- Or Other Adults" on the "Teens Health" website. Having a clear goal in mind also can help you direct the course of the discussion and provides you with talking points.

2 An Honest Policy

Just because your dad is strict with you doesn't mean that you should lie to him. Telling him that you have a boyfriend already implies that you've been seeing your guy behind his back. Waiting for weeks or months to tell your dad about your dating will only make it worse for you when it comes to your dishonesty. Put your nervous feelings aside and tell your dad as soon as possible. Hiding the truth -- especially for an extended period of time -- will make it tricky for your father to trust you.

3 Avoid Arguing

Depending on how strict or understanding your dad is, he might quickly respond back to you with "No way." If your dad swiftly puts his foot down, don't scream, yell or whine to get your way. This shows your immaturity and may prove his point that you aren't ready for a real relationship. Think about how you feel when someone yells at you. Aggressively "telling" your dad that you're dating and there's nothing that he can do about it shows a clear lack of respect. Instead of arguing, stick to your talking points and present a level-headed case. Take a breath, and pay attention to how you are reacting. If he still says "no," try to come to a compromise, such as only seeing your guy under adult supervision.

4 Point of View

Don't assume that you have all the answers. Dad's years of experience may have given him insight that is causing him to keep a strict grip on your dating life. Even though you might not agree with your father right now, try looking at the situation from his point of view. Looking at the issue from someone else's view may help you to see a side that you never thought of, according to psychologist Marcia Reynolds in her article "How to Win an Argument" on the "Psychology Today" website. For example, you might realize that your dad wants to protect you from getting your heart broken or that he worries you aren't old enough to adequately handle the pressures of a mature relationship.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.