Look up the word "dating" in a Spanish-English dictionary —it doesn't exist! No wonder L atina dating is such a touchy subject, if it's discussed at all. As Latinas, we are jewels to be protected by our fathers, tios, and hermanos until we're ready to leave the house —first for college, then for a husband. Instead of seeing you as a young woman confident in her ability to decide things for herself and resolve problems, they still see the little girl who relied on them to make all the decisions. Our parents just don't do well with the thought of us going out into the world exploring the ways of men through Latina dating. We face a struggle when we begin Latina dating that our peers don't: balancing the two parts of our world that don't seem to understand each other. Even if our parents are open to us dating, it is always with peros that are stricter than those in Anglo culture. When we were younger, our mothers and fathers were the first people we shared our good news and our problems with. Now Latina dating is a completely different animal to them than it is to us. Here are some things to keep in mind to help make sure your voice is not only heard but also listened to. Your goal is to start Latina dating is to keep the lines of communication open...no matter what. You are ready to try out new approaches to a life that includes Latina dating, but these ideas may not be the same as those held by your mother and father. If you want your parents to see you as a mature person capable of making Latina dating decisions, hold your frustration, cut the sarcasm, and stop yelling. Always use respectful language when you disagree. You know your parents. Pick out the right time to discuss your Latina dating differences when they can give you their undivided attention. Plan what you want to say about your young man, where you want to go, curfews, etc., ahead of time. Make a list and write it down so you stay focused. Think of what they might object to and plan a carefully thought out response. Listen carefully to their arguments, and then patiently, without an edge, try to answer their concerns. Are they worried about your date's reputation? Are they overly sensitive to a bad first impression? Do they object on racial, class, or religious grounds? Are they upset about changes they see in you that they are attributing to him? Are any of their points well taken? Once you have an idea where they're coming from, you will better be able to support your case. Show your parents they are dealing with a respectful adult who wants to keep her romantic and familial relationships open and honest. Expect that they might be offended when their opinions are challenged...and don't lose your cool. Don't sneak around or lie. Always be aware of where your parents are coming from. Good luck. Our money is on you! Learn about latina dating and get helpful tips and advice from BeingGirl.com.