A case for open communication about dating
Bangladesh still has a conservative view on dating. Most parents have a very straight-forward stance on this topic. "Don't do it," they say. This anti-dating mindset means young people usually cannot turn to their parents for relationship advice and are left to figure it out on their own.
I have come across many posts on social media where people share their bad dating experiences. Although everyone has a fair share of those, some of them made me feel genuinely curious as to how the person posting it failed to see the red flags, and how someone could treat their partner so poorly.
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However, most adolescents get confused about what to expect out of romantic relationships since they do not receive proper guidance. This may lead to them struggling to figure out how they should be treated, or how they should treat their partner.
The problem with trying to figure this out all on one's own is the possibility of relying on the wrong sources. Young people may consciously or subconsciously rely on movies and TV shows to form their expectations. The issue with this approach is that movies and TV shows are usually unrealistic and primarily made to entertain, not to impart wisdom.
Additionally, many movies and TV shows glorify unhealthy approaches to dating. With the right background music and set up, it is fairly easy to convince young audiences that the portrayal of a relationship in the movie is romantic rather than toxic.
The truth is, although most people tend to make dating mistakes, a part of why it is so common in Bangladesh is probably because of the taboo surrounding it. Adolescents dating their peers is not uncommon these days, however, most of them are forced to step into it cluelessly, as parents seldom agree to guide their kids through it due to their disapproval of it.
Although learning from experience can teach valuable lessons, many parts of our personalities come to play when pursuing a romantic interest. Dating advice is just not advice on what to do in a certain scenario, it is also about analysing it. Many things contribute to the way we handle these situations, including, prior experience, our level of self-esteem, maturity etc.
Open communication on healthy approaches to relationships can allow young people to learn about these factors with ease. This can also build trust between parents and their children, as well as teach the latter that they can turn to their parents for help, instead of feeling the need to keep it a secret.
Many parents are still hesitant about accepting the new norm, but those who have accepted it, can stay involved in their children's personal lives and make sure they can avoid sour experiences or avoid becoming the cause of somebody else's sour experience.
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