i want to talk to boys but i can’t

dear heather,

I am a Muslim and in my culture I am not even supposed to think about a boy! I think it’s unfair. I want to talk to boys, flirt and kiss but I can’t. My parents won’t understand, please Heather HELP ME!

I can tell that you’re really frustrated. Your situation IS a difficult one, particularly because (I’m assuming) you live at home with your parents. In a live-at-home situation–as in most cultures–the parents have the upper hand.If you have other friends who are Muslim, you might want to ask them how they deal with their situations. Talking to them just might yield some good strategies for dealing with your parents. At the very least, they could provide some support or a helpful perspective.

If you have any powers of negotiation, now might be the time to dust them off. While you may be on target about how strict your parents are, you may also find that you have inflated their expectations of you to Godzilla-like proportions, when their actual expectations may merely be buffalo-sized.

You might want to ask your parents exactly what they expect of you and what behaviors are acceptable to them. Is it okay for you to have conversations outside of school with boys, for example? Is it okay to go on a date? Are there any parameters that they want you to follow if you do talk to boys or go on dates (like are they allowed to have your phone number)? Your parents may feel more at ease if you agree to follow clearly understood codes of behavior, but in order to maintain their trust, you will have to abide by their rules.

When you are older, if you decide to live apart from your parents, you will have a greater degree of freedom. Nevertheless, for now (however frustrating the situation), your parents call the shots.

take care,

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