You looked away for what seemed like a minute and your piggy tailed play school going baby has flowered into a young teenager, all gung ho about going out for an evening with a complete stranger! While dating might be a concept Indian families are slowly familiarising with, nothing short of hell breaks lose, when you realise that your daughter is dating. There is a mishmash of insecurity, possessiveness, anxiety and every attempt is made to get her out of this ‘horrible’ phase. However, what most parents fail to realise is that the more they try to refrain their daughter from dating, the higher will be her curiosity which slowly turns her into a rebel.
Try To Avoid An Instantaneous No
While it is obviously difficult to not react when you understand that your 15-year-old is already in a relationship, an instant outburst might be emotionally unnerving. Says Ashok Avasthi who is constantly checking on his 16-year-old daughter for boys’ company, “Kids now-a-days grow up so fast, that parents hardly realise the changing phases of their lives. When I saw my shy little daughter being dropped home by a boy from college, I freaked out so badly that she stopped going to college for a week.” Dating at an early age can surely be detrimental to a teenager’s emotional status, especially if she isn’t able to handle the pressure, and parents must subtly make her understand the same. Says psychologist Seema Hingorrany, “Communicating your fears to the child is very essential, because otherwise they will never know how you feel. If you think they are not ready to date, tell them why you think so, forcing them to behave your way.”
Don’t Treat Her Like A Kid
The problem often crops up when parents refuse to treat their daughters as grown-ups. They perpetually feel that the daughter is too young for anything, unless it comes to marriage of course! Accepts homemaker Durga Shah, “It was no less than a culture-shock for me when I heard my teenage daughter speak to some guy friend on the phone. But then I realised that I was eavesdropping and she is old enough to deserve some privacy.” If you think she cannot handle the pressure of a break-up, there is nothing you can do about it. Accept the fact that break-ups are a part of every youngster’s life, and eventually they only learn from it. Adds Hingorrany, “What you can do is advice your daughter on how not to get carried away by any relationship. Allow your daughter to go through the highs and lows of life so that she learns from practical experiences.”
Stop Being A Possessive Father
More than mothers, it is fathers who go through an emotional roller-a-coaster because they tend to be over-protective about daughters. Though he wants the best boy, for his daughter, somewhere this love turns into domination. Says Rajiv Kartha, “I used to hate my daughter’s boyfriend, because I always saw the relationship in a negative light. But once I got to know him, I am surprised how well I have bonded with him.” Befriending your daughter’s boyfriend can be one of the easiest ways to check on her security, as well has make her feel less overwhelmed by your presence.