Why are parents stricter about their daughters than their sons when it comes to dating?


#1

I have looked for reasons online, but the main ones that I could find had to do with a parent's fear of their daughter getting pregnant and the social stigma that exists when women sleep around.

But considering that neither of those are issues for me, there must be some other reason for it. I have 5 brothers - 3 older and 2 younger - and it's not that my parents have approved of every single one of their dating choices (because they really haven't), but at the same time I feel like they've been a lot easier to my older brothers about letting their girlfriends come over for family birthday parties and holidays. I was talking to my married brother during a birthday party that was going on the weekend after my boyfriend and I became an official couple, and he asked why my boyfriend wasn't there. My boyfriend had to work that evening but I also mentioned that it was probably too soon for my parents to invite him over to stuff. My brother replied, "Nah, we're pretty relaxed about that here."

But my parents haven't been that supportive about my current relationship. I'm 21 years old and I've been dating a nice Catholic 23 year old man since July. My parents know that he's a nice guy who comes from a good family, but when they first learned that I was dating him they were a bit apprehensive. There are some reasons for their apprehension that I do know about that I can defend, but I won't go into those right now - my post is already long enough, lol.

However, his family has already welcomed me with open arms and they've already invited me over to birthday parties and they'll most likely invite me over for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know it seems silly, but I would feel really bad, not just for him but for me as well, if I was invited to go to his family functions over the holidays but he wasn't allowed to go to mine. We are dating to discern marriage and since we're both about to receive college degrees and head into the work force within the next year, if things go well for us for the next 6-9 months or so marriage might actually be possible. I know it kind of seems like I'm jumping the gun, but if there's reason to believe that we should be married and we're in a practical position to do so, then there isn't really any reason to wait.

But enough about me. I'm curious to know if other women (or men) have had similar experiences about this supposed gender stigma. Mostly I'd like to know if anyone has any reason why they believe that women have a more difficult time to get their men into their families' lives than vice-versa, a reason that doesn't have to do with sexual promiscuity.


#2

I was at a wedding once, and it was noted how often the father of the bride looked like he was at a funeral....and not because of the money spent.

One of the men at the table had a daugher who was 12-18 months old at the time. He was challenged to think of a single man, himself and his immediate relatives included, that he would think was good enough to marry his little daughter. This challenge turned out to be very hard on the man's wife, as it took him about two weeks to come up with an answer! :D He thought of *one *guy. Brothers act in a similiar way when it comes to their sister. They may insult her continuously themselves, but woe to the man that does their sister wrong. They take it as a personal failure to protect. So there is that.

I think perhaps women let go of their sons and want them to go out into the world quite a bit sooner than men feel that way about their daughters. When the mother won't let go of her son, though, you get that parental resistance that you're talking about. For some poor women, their MIL has them "under surveillance" for their entire marriage. There are a few sisters who are like that, too, but the men of the family are more likely to act this way (when the addition to the family has given no cause for suspicion, that is).

Families are also more protective of "givers" who venture into the world of dating than they are about "takers" or "give-and-takers". If your family thinks you are so giving that you risk being taken advantage of, they will be more protective of you. If they see you as a young woman who has a very rude surprise in store for any man who thinks you are vulnerable to misuse, they are going to be less protective of you (and will sometimes even drop hints of warning to guys that you bring home).

This is true of young men, too. The ones who will just bend over backwards to please a girl are going to find their families protect them where the family doesn't think the young man is going to protect himself. Since girls are more likely to have been socialized to be "givers" who don't penalize those who try to take advantage of their generous natures, then they are more likely to get this protective treatment....well, at least in my experience.


#3

My dad always told me that there wasn't a man on earth that would ever be good enough for his daughter. Dads adore their daughters and are very protective of them, and they are convinced that no man could ever love her and take care of her the same way that he did. A loving father would do anything for his daughter - even die for her - and they don't think a young boy who shows up out of the blue claiming to love his daughter would do that. They are very suspicious.


#4

I think you are asking the wrong people. You are 21 years old. You need to be talking directly to your parents, not posting on an anonymous internet forum about why people might be stricter with their daughters than their sons.

There isn't any evidence your parents are doing so. You say that they have reasons to be aapprehensive, but you don't say what they are. Perhaps your situation has much more to do with the specific issues with *this *boy than anything else.

You should tell them directly that you plan to include your new boyfriend in holiday events.

I don't know many families that issue formal invitations to family holiday events-- although there are probably some out there. Is it perhaps an assumption on your part that your boyfriend is not "invited".

Don't assume. Don't speculate. TALK with your parents.


#5

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:3, topic:215418"]
My dad always told me that there wasn't a man on earth that would ever be good enough for his daughter. Dads adore their daughters and are very protective of them, and they are convinced that no man could ever love her and take care of her the same way that he did. A loving father would do anything for his daughter - even die for her - and they don't think a young boy who shows up out of the blue claiming to love his daughter would do that. They are very suspicious.

[/quote]

As a father, I can say you hit the nail on the head.

My daughter is a long way from dating age but that is my fear. She might pick some guy that will mistreat her or has a different idea of what dating as a teen should be.

Also, as man who was once a teenage boy, I also know the sort of things boys that age think about girls and it terrifies me.

Granted, I turned out to be a good guy but I don't know that some 16 year old boy will.

Life would be a whole lot easier if I could clone my moral compass and instill it in every boy she might be interested in. :blush:

Not to mention it's a whole lot easier for a Father to think all boys are up to something than it is to think that their sweet little girl maybe the one who's up to something. :eek:


#6

I think it has to do with the "protection of the weaker sex" thing. I don't mean that in a "sexist" way, I just mean there's probably always going to be some ingrained chivalry. Parents of sons know that their sons face a lesser threat of being physically overpowered by someone they date, but for their daughters it's the opposite.:sad_yes:

Pregnancy may be another fear. And sadly there may be a double standard in some families that the male offspring will "sow their wild oats" more than the female offspring.

But even in other ways, I'm an only child who was overprotected both because of that and also (more by my Dad, usually) from learning things that involved physical effort or danger. I never was taught to mow the lawn even! And I wanted my Dad to teach me how to work on cars but aside from showing me a few basics, he was reluctant, and I think it was because he thought it was too dangerous and grubby work for a female to do.

On the other hand, I wasn't expected to be Little Miss Priss or anything, it's just that there were some gender expectations based on what my parents (born in the 1920s-30s) grew up with.


#7

Women are generally more delicate and can also get pregnant.


#8

[quote="EasterJoy, post:2, topic:215418"]
I was at a wedding once, and it was noted how often the father of the bride looked like he was at a funeral....and not because of the money spent.

[/quote]

My dad cried during our father/daughter dance at my wedding. And I had never seen him cry, even at funerals. I'm not even the favorite daughter, so for a dad, there just must be something about little girls.

To answer the OP, I grew up in a family where the girls received more strict parenting than the boy did (not just dating). When I asked my mom about it, as an adult, she said it had more to do with birth order. She and Dad realized they were too strict with me, so they let things slide with my little brother, then realized that they were too lenient with him, so tightened the reigns a bit with our little sister. Maybe your folks are treating you like most people do an oldest, because you are the only girl?

I kinda view my own little family that way -- My daughter is technically the oldest, but my middle child is my oldest boy (I have 3 children so far), so he gets treated like an oldest, too, because I feel like I'm parenting an entirely different animal, so to speak.:whacky: :D I think it's fairly common for parents to be stricter with "the unknown," since they don't have direct experience on which to base their expectations.


#9

Perhaps also, since you note that you are about to graduate from college soon, your parents might hope that you get some job experience using your college degree before starting a family.


#10

Believe me, I do know that I need to talk to my parents myself. Posting something like this on here will just make me more confident in doing so… I’m not very good at starting these conversations with my parents because I feel like we have experienced life very differently from one another and it makes it difficult for us to see eye-to-eye sometimes.

A few years ago my dad was asking me who he should send invitations to their 25th wedding anniversary celebration. He wrote down one of my older brothers’ names, and next to it a girl that my brother had gone on one date with. They weren’t officially dating (and never did, by the way) yet my dad was still willing to invite her to the celebration. He didn’t end up inviting her, but still…

As for assuming? Well, I also dated someone for 3 and a half years, during my senior year in high school until the beginning of my junior year in college. When he started receiving invitations to stuff (after about a year and a half, but I figure that was more because we were both younger), my parents either let me know that he was invited or they would tell him themselves. For my current boyfriend, there’s no sign of either at this point.

As for the reasons, one of those reasons does have to do with him specifically, but it has to do with the way they perceived him when they taught him when he was in 7th and 8th grade (they are middle school teachers). My mom warned me once that when he was that age, he had a bad temper. I asked my boyfriend’s brother about this (and his brother is a very honest person who knows my boyfriend really well) and he said that he doesn’t have that temper anymore, that the temper he had in middle school means nothing today.

The other reasons had to do with my dad’s belief that people shouldn’t date until they’ve spent a year out of school and in the workforce (a belief that my dad didn’t tell me about until after I started dating this guy - and a belief that I and most people disagree with), and also my dad thought that people who are involved in the particular Christian college group I’m in aren’t allowed to date (which isn’t true).

Those are the only objections that they have communicated to me. If there are more apprehensions, they are a complete mystery to me.

Do understand though - it’s been over a month since they’ve talked with me about any of this, and I’m in regular communication with my parents. It’s possible that they will let him spend time with the family at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I really just put my own story out there because I know that there are other women who feel like parents are less strict on their sons than on their daughters when it comes to dating. Maybe my story isn’t the best example, but I know that others like it exist, and I’m wondering, from a Christian/Catholic perspective, why that might be, because I am wondering this in theory as well as in practice, you know?


#11

[quote="Truly_Beloved, post:8, topic:215418"]
To answer the OP, I grew up in a family where the girls received more strict parenting than the boy did (not just dating). When I asked my mom about it, as an adult, she said it had more to do with birth order. She and Dad realized they were too strict with me, so they let things slide with my little brother, then realized that they were too lenient with him, so tightened the reigns a bit with our little sister. Maybe your folks are treating you like most people do an oldest, because you are the only girl?

[/quote]

Heh, in some ways I was actually rather spoiled. My 3 older brothers weren't allowed to go to school dances until they were upperclassmen. I was allowed to go to my first dance during my freshman year. My brothers were kinda ticked, lol. But I do think you're right about the birth order thing, too. There's a 3 year gap between my next oldest brother and I, and my two younger brothers and I were the "little kids" growing up, so the rule adjustments that were given to me were given to my younger brothers as well... and then some. My youngest brother gets away with so much. :P

[quote="lutherlic, post:9, topic:215418"]
Perhaps also, since you note that you are about to graduate from college soon, your parents might hope that you get some job experience using your college degree before starting a family.

[/quote]

That may be true. I already have a part-time job while taking classes though, and even if I were to get married soon after school, I don't plan on having children until I can get some of my loans paid off. But paying off some loans can be a good reason to delay marriage anyways. But that's not something I have to think about until after I graduate, anyways. I do NOT plan on getting engaged while I am still in school. That's just scary to me, lol.


#12

[quote="Sarah_Angel, post:10, topic:215418"]
Believe me, I do know that I need to talk to my parents myself. Posting something like this on here will just make me more confident in doing so... I'm not very good at starting these conversations with my parents because I feel like we have experienced life very differently from one another and it makes it difficult for us to see eye-to-eye sometimes.

[/quote]

Friends and family members can also be more perceptive of problems in a prospective spouse than the smitten person is. Most of the time, although not always, it is the friends and family who have the situation pegged correctly. If you're dating someone that they're slow to warm up to, that's one thing. If they just plain do not like him, pay attention to that. You don't have to give them veto power over who you do and don't date, but do take their concerns seriously. Ask them what they are seeing that you are not, and do think about it seriously.

So ask your dad: "Dad, are you afraid that I won't take care of myself, or is there something about this particular guy that makes you hesitant to accept him?" Then really and truly listen to what he says.

I would not defend the boyfriend. That will convince your dad that your impartiality has gone predictably out the window. Rather, I would enumerate how you are quite prepared to protect yourself: what your standards are and what you will not let this or any other man get away with. If you can do that in a way that accepts your dad's concerns as prudent, rather than poo-pooing them as overprotection, you might help your dad to relax a bit.


#13

I cant believe it's being asked. Why. A number of reasons. For 1000s of years women were basically property and a marriage was a business agreement. A virgin was simply worth more. There is to this day a double standard as well. A teenage son who gets around as seen as a stud by his buddies and maybe even his father and brothers and is celebrated. A girl who does so is a slut


#14

I also dated someone for 3 and a half years, during my senior year in high school until the beginning of my junior year in college. When he started receiving invitations to stuff (after about a year and a half, but I figure that was more because we were both younger), my parents either let me know that he was invited or they would tell him themselves. For my current boyfriend, there's no sign of either at this point.

As for the reasons, one of those reasons does have to do with him specifically, but it has to do with the way they perceived him when they taught him when he was in 7th and 8th grade (they are middle school teachers). My mom warned me once that when he was that age, he had a bad temper. I asked my boyfriend's brother about this (and his brother is a very honest person who knows my boyfriend really well) and he said that he doesn't have that temper anymore, that the temper he had in middle school means nothing today.

Well, from this information, it really does seem that your parents are being cool to this boy because they are worried about him specifically. I don't have daughters (or any children) but I do have a younger sister. If she told me she was dating a man who I'd known in middle school to have a bad temper, then I'd certainly be concerned. Especially if the man had a history of being violent due to his temper. It is certainly possible that he's grown out of it, that this was just due to adolescent testosterone overload. But domestic violence and spousal abuse is sadly quite common, and many victims ignore warning signs during the courtship period only to have to face the problem once the abuser figures he's "caught" his woman and can drop the inhibitions he put on his actions during the courting/wooing period. If this is what your parents are worried about, it makes sense to me that they aren't exactly eager to welcome this man into the family with open arms.

So if this is what your parents are really concerned about, then that is what you need to deal with, not wondering why parents in general tend to be stricter with daughters than sons. It seems they didn't have a problem with your previous boyfriend, but it also seems your previous boyfriend didn't make your parents concerned that you were at risk of winding up in an abusive relationship, especially if you are considering marriage. I guess your question is somewhat relevant in that this is an issue parents tend to worry more that their daughters will not be able to physically fend off a violent attack or aggressive sexual advance by a man. And while women can certainly be violent and sexually aggressive as well, usually the men such women are dating are able to defend themselves.


#15

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:3, topic:215418"]
My dad always told me that there wasn't a man on earth that would ever be good enough for his daughter. Dads adore their daughters and are very protective of them, and they are convinced that no man could ever love her and take care of her the same way that he did. A loving father would do anything for his daughter - even die for her - and they don't think a young boy who shows up out of the blue claiming to love his daughter would do that. They are very suspicious.

[/quote]

(Just a sidebar: Not all dads adore their daughters.)
(tammy57)


#16

quote="tammy57, post:15, topic:215418"
(tammy57)

[/quote]

Still, it is the ones who do who seem to be the strictest about who is allowed to date them.

As another sidebar: It is the girls whose fathers do not make them feel prized who are the most vulnerable to men who will say anything to get what they want. A young woman who has had the most important male in her life validating her value is much less vulnerable to flattery and is not as desperate for male attention. I have told brothers this, too: If you want to protect your sister from sweet-talking men, don't put her down. Let her know how beautiful and worthwhile she is. It is very very dangerous if the first man to tell her that is a lying sleaseball who wants to manipulate her to get what he wants.


#17

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:14, topic:215418"]
Well, from this information, it really does seem that your parents are being cool to this boy because they are worried about him specifically. I don't have daughters (or any children) but I do have a younger sister. If she told me she was dating a man who I'd known in middle school to have a bad temper, then I'd certainly be concerned. Especially if the man had a history of being violent due to his temper. It is certainly possible that he's grown out of it, that this was just due to adolescent testosterone overload. But domestic violence and spousal abuse is sadly quite common, and many victims ignore warning signs during the courtship period only to have to face the problem once the abuser figures he's "caught" his woman and can drop the inhibitions he put on his actions during the courting/wooing period. If this is what your parents are worried about, it makes sense to me that they aren't exactly eager to welcome this man into the family with open arms.

So if this is what your parents are really concerned about, then that is what you need to deal with, not wondering why parents in general tend to be stricter with daughters than sons. It seems they didn't have a problem with your previous boyfriend, but it also seems your previous boyfriend didn't make your parents concerned that you were at risk of winding up in an abusive relationship, especially if you are considering marriage. I guess your question is somewhat relevant in that this is an issue parents tend to worry more that their daughters will not be able to physically fend off a violent attack or aggressive sexual advance by a man. And while women can certainly be violent and sexually aggressive as well, usually the men such women are dating are able to defend themselves.

[/quote]

This makes sense. Thanks.

I really don't think that I have anything to worry about, though. He would never hit me (he's said so himself, multiple times) and he has shown no sign of having a temper. I've seen him frustrated but everyone gets frustrated. I think he was 15 by the time he graduated from 8th grade, and I feel like 15 year old white males go through "adolescent testosterone overload." I think of Harry Potter and how he acted in The Order of the Phoenix every time I think of the "typical 15 year old white male." Anyone who has read the Harry Potter series will know what I am talking about. :P

It's actually my mom who brought this up, too, and even she had the disclaimer, "I'm not sure if it's true now." My dad has expressed no concern about his former temper, even saying that he's a nice guy from a good family. My dad's concerns seem to have more to do with practicality.

Besides, I think my boyfriend's own family would kill him if they found out if he'd hurt me (he has 2 brothers, a dad, and a no-nonsense mom). Not to mention my own family, 5 brothers and a dad, plus some scary cousins. He'd have to be a special kind of moron to date me and believe he could get away with violence.


#18

I was always given the warning never to date a girl whose father calls her princess...because she just might believe it.


#19

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:18, topic:215418"]
I was always given the warning never to date a girl whose father calls her princess...because she just might believe it.

[/quote]

Being female, I was taught to look at how the dad and the boys treated the mother....that's you, someday.

I think it's important for fathers to treat their daughters in a way that gives them a sense of value and self-confidence. The spoiled princess thing makes me want to gag, though. A person with a healthy sense of self is not egotistic, nor expecting to be spoiled.


#20

I am coming from this at a totally different angle. Many children want their parents to be the cool ones they can tell everything to and have their parents trust their decisions including which guys to date. The sad truth of the matter is, not all parents can communicate at an adult level with their children. This could be for several reasons, brought up in a different generation, simply not liking to communicate, not being able to accept kids independance.

Part of growing up is to learn to make decisions that are best for ourselves regardless of what others think. It just may be that the man God intends for you to marry is the last guy your parent would pick. For all we know, your parents may be very happy for you to be single forever.

At some point, I think you need to sit with yourself and determine realistically (given your parents personality) how much you can expect from them and how much you need to pray for acceptance of them.

CM


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