Your daughter brought her new boyfriend over for dinner last night, and he wasn’t what you expected. To be honest, you don’t think he’s a good match for her. You find yourself wondering if you should say something to her or just let it be. What should you do?
Limit their time
Teenagers like to rebel, so if you forbid your teen to keep seeing their significant other, chances are they will run off with them and spend as much time as possible with them to spite you. To avoid this from happening, simply limit the amount of time they are allowed to spend together. For example, they can’t see each other on school nights, only Friday and Saturdays.
Try to rationalize the situation
You and your teen are looking at this relationship from completely different vantage points. He or she is wearing rose-colored glasses and you’re wearing, well, mom goggles. Try to look at the relationship from his or her perspective: what good qualities does their partner bring to the relationship, and do they make your teen happy? If you are concerned the relationship is toxic, talk to him or her about it by describing how the relationship looks through your eyes. They may see things they were missing before.
Image Terrell Woods
Come to grips with reality
It may be that you and your teen’s girl/boyfriend just don’t get along because of clashing personalities, or because you aren’t ready for your child to be dating just yet. But this shouldn’t stop you from being happy for them. Realize that your teen is of appropriate dating age and has found someone they really like to spend time with. This boy/girlfriend might be sticking around for a while, so be pleasant to them and respectful of the relationship.
Tell it like it is
If it is obvious that your teen and their girl/boyfriend are a bad match, be up front with them. Tell him or her that their behavior has changed for the worse since they got together. Maybe their grades are slipping and they’re shutting out other people from her life. Be firm with your deliverance, but don’t be nasty—this may be the first time your teen has considered that they’re a bad match. Explain to them why you feel the way you do so can understand where you’re coming from. But don’t expect them to end things right away, or even at all. Your teen may feel that he or she needs to ride things out for a little longer before really coming to terms with things.
Every bad relationship needs to be looked at for what it is and no two should be treated the same way since they involve different people, different times and different bonds. Stay true to your gut and be respectful to your teen, their partner and their relationship.
Feature image Kelley Boone