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Advice Regarding Approaching Parents
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Advice Regarding Approaching Parents

I'm a responsible 16 year old in a bit of a jam. I suppose some background on myself is necessary to bring the situation into context:
I'm sixteen years old, I've skipped a grade, I'm taking 6 AP classes, and passing all of them with an A-average. As of now, I am my class's valedictorian, and have been placed in the top 0.05% of test takers by the ACT, SAT, and IQ exams. My parents are immigrants from the middle east, and are thus highly conservative (socially) despite having lived in the United States for twelve years. They will be granting me the position of emancipated minor in roughly 3 months out of necessity because I will be attending college early.

My parents are opposed to the idea of me having a girlfriend, but allow it nonetheless. However, they're opposed completely to the idea of me seeing her outside of school, which would be the point of having a girlfriend. Sometimes I feel as though they don't understand the social climate in an American high school and what is deemed to be the norm. For example, I had to argue to them to let me attend prom this year, and they act as though they're allowing me some sort of privilege that other parents wouldn't allow of their children by letting me attend. Every time I approach them regarding matters of my relationship, they respond with something along the lines of "we don't want the relationship developing into anything serious, as that could have negative implications upon yourself. That is why we do not allow you to see [your girlfriend] outside of school and some group gatherings, because any further interaction with her could develop into something that you will later regret." This was a response to my asking of whether I could go to the mall with her.

A few nights ago, when I brought up the matter again, my mother became very angry with me, and the situation did not end favorably for me. I feel as though that this should be time where they began to loosen their restrictions around me, as I'm leaving for college in fourteen months. Shouldn't this be the time where I begin to explore my world, making decisions for myself? Even though I've not kissed this girl - out of sheer respect for my parents - they're worried about me making poor decisions and having a serious relationship. Furthermore, their stance is rigid and will not be swayed by me. I'm not comfortable with the idea of doing things without their knowledge, but at the same time, it seems as though they have to learn that they are living in a more liberal society, and that I must be allowed to mature into an adult through experience. I appreciate all that they've done for me, but I'm growing more and more frustrated with their views. Is there anything I can do to help sway their opinions? I believe they're worried about a possible sexualization of the relationship or emotional attachment, however, those ultimately become decisions made by myself. If I [i]really[/i] wanted to make a poor decision, I would find some way to do it - however, it is my own set of social rules and respect for the advice my parents give me that prevent me from doing so. How do I help them understand that I must be allowed to make my own decisions regarding my life? I'm not saying that they should have no part in my life, but I feel as though they are becoming [i]too[/i] involved in my life. I have half a mind to buy a session with a family therapist in order to resolve this issue. I have no idea what to do to resolve this situation, and I do not want to go as far as having a session with a therapist.
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Is there anything I can do to help sway their opinions? - your statement

Probably not.  I really don't see what the "jam" is about - you're 16 years old and you will be attending college in a very short time.  I don't understand the term "emancipated minor"; however, by the time you are in college, your life will be your own.  Perhaps someone outside the family might be able to educate your parents on "how things will be" when you go to college (religious advisor, trusted friend, etc.), but for now, you are living in their home and thus, their rules.  By the way, who is paying for college?  In order to live the life you envision, it might necessitate that you "pay" for your college education by working part-time (and it might also mean that your parents will be very hurt by your decisions).  But, with privilege comes responsibility or as Dr. Phil says "when you choose the behaviour, you choose the consequence" - and this statement also stands true for your parents.  No easy solution here (a therapist might help but I question that route).  I wish you the best ....
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Have you explained it like that.  Not in the specific context of "may I see my girlfriend outside of school??", but more generally in terms of the fact that you will be on your own very soon, and need to start making your own mistakes while there's still some kind of safety net.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I realize this is an old post but wanted to make a comment also.

My American niece is married to a man from a foreign country. They have 5 boys who are destined to be doctors like their father. My niece would not allow her sons to have girlfriends in school due to the complications of ruining their future. We all have to admit that girls today are very aggressive and many were after these handsome boys, but my niece put a stop to it. She told the girls not to dare call her sons again, give them any notes or run after them or she would have her sons removed from public school and put in private school.  The girls chose to back off and leave them alone (at least so the mother couldn't find out)
The first one just graduated from medical school and there are 4 more to follow in the next 5 years. They are really great young men and are very intelligent and will make great doctors.
Do I think my niece was wrong?  No, she had to protect her boys future at least while they were in middle and high school.

Now think about what your parents are trying to do for you. They realize how smart you are, and what a great future you have ahead of you, and they just want to protect you. A mistake that can change your life and future forever can happen in a few minutes and they are trying to keep that from happening.
Be kind to your parents and love them for wanting to protect you.  You are still very young and have many, many years ahead of you for dating so try to obey your parents for now.
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Not too old a thread Jo Jo for good information as you have given here, I also see that he has plenty of time and as he will be old enough to make decisions at 18 for him self it is simply a matter of waiting, young people dont want to wait do they.. whatever culture they are from, this was very interesting and differant from other questions..I also think it is good that he respects his parents, especially as he is so young. Good Luck Downtime let us know what you decided was best for you.
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As an American who was a teen years ago and who is now a parent of teenagers, I have all three perspectives (as an American, as a teen and as a parent).  Just because MOST teens (Americans) are dating doesn't mean that all are, or that you have to.  I have the same desires and boundaries for my teens that your parents have for you and I'm an American parent.  Getting another person involved that will side with you (a therapist) will not accomplish anything positive and will be a waste of time and money.  If you go against the boundaries that your parents have set for you, you will only hurt them and yourself.  Your parents love you with all their heart and want more than anything for you to be happy.  Humble yourself under their authority now and you will truly be so much happier in the long run.  Take your focus off of dating and what others are doing and what you think you're missing, and instead focus on learning to play an instrument, doing service of some sort, playing sports, get a job and save for your future (life is expensive), be a tutor to a struggling student, become a teen leader and encourage other teens to respect and obey their parents, help someone in your community (I would love to have some help as a single Mom with two boys, and I have a teen son who could use some peer support, especially where school is concerned....he's very bright but he's going through a tough time right now). You are so gifted, you have so much that you can bless someone with.  Put your energies and care into other interests and people rather than dating.  You really won't be missing out on anything by not having a girlfriend, but you will gain everything in the future if you exercise self-restraint and respect for your parents now, you'll be glad you did.  JoJo (above) has worded it well, especially the last sentence.

Singlemom2009
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