Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Romeo and Juliet Meet the Fockers

Dear Grace,
My teenage son has recently started dating a young lady. They have been spending a fair amount of time together, and all is well. (In other words, I approve.). I have not met her parents, nor has my son, and I think it odd. Should I approach them in some fashion with a version of "Are you aware that your daughter is dating my son?" I don't know whether she is even permitted to date and do not want to be an accomplice if she is violating a parental rule, but I also don't want to be intrusive or offensive and most critically, do not want to alienate my son.

Grace says:

I'm delighted to hear that young Romeo has found a nice Juliet to keep him company, and am even more delighted that you are in favor of his choice. I am quite keen on meeting the parents of my kids' friends and encourage you to meet the folks at your earliest opportunity. Avoid the "are you aware" phrasing--it implies that they are out of touch with their daughter and seems vaguely accusatory. Here are some Gracious ways to connect:

--At the next drop off or pick up scenario when the other parent is present, jump out of your car or your front door and Graciously push your way toward an introduction. Say, "Mrs. Capulet, I'm Maria Montague. I'm so happy to finally meet you. It has been wonderful getting to know Juliet through her friendship with Romeo and I hoped I'd get a chance to meet you soon." [Note: If Mr. and/or Mrs. Capulet are never around for an encounter like this one, you may want to relocate Romeo and Juliet's tryst site to your own domicile. Unsupervised teens can get into some star-crossed trouble if left unchecked for vast swathes of time.]

--Speak up. Let your son and his beloved know that you would like to meet her parents. Offer to invite them to dinner/coffee/brunch with the assurance that you will not expect the ingenues to stay with you for an extended period. Promise not to parade baby pictures out at said gathering.

And if the kids are trepidatious about the meeting, show them this...Meet the Fockers offers a hilarious take on what happens when two wildly different sets of parents become in-laws.


Carole of Brum said...

I just love your blog! It does me good to see that the undervalued qualities of graciousness, courtesy, respect and humility are being upheld and displayed somewhere. I'd love to think of myself as a Grace. Carole

Social Grace said...

Thanks for reading and writing Carole! Based on your comment, you certainly sound like a Grace.