How much influence should parents have on whom their children date/marry?How much influence should parents have on whom their children date/marry?

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I actually think without directly saying it, each of the above posts suggests that parents should have perhaps the most influence on whom their children ultimately end up with as a mate.  Healthy families tend to share common values and expectations, including but not limited to religious values, perceptions of gender roles, communication methods, and identity/self-confidence.

Strong healthy families, as previous posts mention, are led by parents who build relationships with their children, role-model appropriate behavior, and impart expectations on their children in a way that is not burdensome (or overbearing) but not passive either.

Kids raised in such environments are more than likely going to be very highly influenced by the opinions and expectations of their entire family when it comes to the people they date or choose to marry.  I know it was very important that my parents and siblings approved of the man I thought I wanted to marry.  Had they not been, I would have certainly stopped and reconsidered.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that most parents have influence their children's dating choices simply by the way their children are raised. They share their ideals and values with that child. child said child is old enough to seek a partner, they rely on the ideals and values their parents ingrained in them. In some cases, parents still have the final say so in who their child marries. Of course, this is usually through financial support or because the child simply wants that parents approval. In the US and many other countries, there are no longer laws in place allowing a parent to select their child's spouse. 

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the above answer. I'm a parent too, though dating isn't an issue quite yet. But I think that if I've raised my sons to make good decisions, I can trust them. It is also the cold reality that sometimes you have to allow kids to make mistakes, and then support them as they try to bounce back from them. Easier said than done, I know, but ideally I don't think parents should, unless they fear their children are entering into abusive or otherwise dangerous relationships, interfere too much.

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it depends on what type of relationship the parent and child has. If the parent has a respectable, endearing, trusting, and close relationship with their child, then their opinions and input should be taken to heart. Honestly, in most cases, people may listen to their parents but "love and romance" are so powerful, people usually go on and make their own choices despite what their parents think.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think parents should have a very large influence on their children's choices in this area. Never the less the decision, although influenced by the parents, should still remain with the child. Most children of dating age seek approval from their parents as far as choosing a mate goes. If the parents don't agree with the child's choice of a partner this could cause discord in the family.

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree completely with the responses above.  If we wish to influence our children's choices, the time to do that is when they are young.  By the time they are ready to make these choices, the time for influence is long past.  If they are influenced early in a way that enhances their self-respect and appreciation for what is important in a mate, then I think that's the best we can do. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My opinion as a modern-day American is that parents should have very little influence in a direct way.  In other words, they should not tell their kids who to date or not to date.  Instead, their influence should be indirect.  They should bring their kids up to have good values and to be sensible.  Then they could trust their kids to date and marry the right kinds of people.