Ready to meet the parents?

Kelli Koch

Family’s opinion of partner can cause problems, affect relationship

When Ralphiel Stanley met his girlfriend’s grandma for the first time she hated him simply because he was a boy.

“She is big at church and didn’t believe in dating,” he said. “We were just hanging out at church, and she started yelling for her to get away from boys.”

Stanley, freshman aeronautical flight technology major, said his girlfriend’s grandmother’s disapproval didn’t affect their relationship. They dated for more than a year.

Parents’ approval is a big deal for many students when they bring home their significant other, but getting that approval can be difficult.

Michael Moore, the assistant director of the psychological clinic, said if a student’s parents don’t approve of the relationship, it can make the relationship more difficult, but it can be overcome.

“It can be stressful,” he said. “If you’re in a committed relationship, it’s just another hurdle.”

Although nothing bad happened when her boyfriend met her parents, Charmaine Dukes, senior educational studies major, is always nervous he might be rude.

“If he is ever disrespectful to my parents, it would definitely affect our relationship because we’d probably break up,” she said.

Jessika Rice, freshman nutrition major, said if her boyfriend’s parents were rude to her, she would probably break up with him.

“I am not about rude people at all,” she said. “That is where he grew up, so that’s where he gets his values.”

Terri Belsera, a freshman fine arts major, said she wouldn’t take the way her boyfriend’s parents act out on him, and they would probably stay together.

Parents have strong ideas of what they want for their children, Moore said. If the person he or she brings home isn’t the ideal person the parents want, their reaction can be hostile toward that person.

Nervousness can be one reason students forget to act like themselves around the significant other’s parents. Dukes said she was nervous when she first met her boyfriend’s parents.

“I did my best to act like myself,” she said. “It worked because they told me to come over anytime.”

Moore said some anxiety is normal, and first impressions can be made up.

“If you’re serious with your partner,” Moore said, “you have plenty of time to interact with their parents in the future.”

The way a student dresses and presents themselves can show respect to the parents.

Moore said students should be respectful, friendly and not fake.

“Your significant other sees good qualities in you and has probably already spoke to their parents about you,” Moore said. “Be yourself and you have nothing to worry about. Think of it as a process. It’s just one piece of the puzzle.”

Contact student life reporter Kelli Koch at [email protected].