It's a rude awakening for parents -- when your darling daughter brings home a boyfriend whom you absolutely can't stand. However, before you roll up the welcome mat, it may be worth investigating why your teen is attracted to a person whom you don't like. By taking the time to understand your teen and focus on your relationship together, a fleeting relationship with a boy doesn't have to be a reason for a family feud.
Take the relationship seriously. Dismissing your teen's boyfriend and downplaying their relationship to make yourself feel better can alienate and upset your teen. After all, an inexperienced teen is likely excited about having a boyfriend. When you talk down to her, she might feel like you're discounting her feelings and driving a wedge between you both.
Invite her boyfriend over for a family dinner or to some other family activity. This shows your teen that you love her enough to make an effort to try and get to know her boyfriend. If her boyfriend is rude or disrespectful toward her in the future, you can remind your daughter that you tried to create a relationship with her boyfriend in the past, putting the responsibility squarely on his shoulders, rather than your own.
Talk to your teen and ask what she likes about her new boyfriend, suggests Disney Family. You might be surprised at what she finds attractive in her significant other. This is also a good time to remind your teen of your family's standards. Try saying, "I know you're happy with John, but if he's going to spend time with you, I expect that he use respectful language, just like we do here at home." This projects your concern and love for your teen without outright banning her from seeing her new boyfriend.
Make time to spend together without your teen's boyfriend in tow. Whether it's a family dinner, seeing a movie together or just shopping, it's important to maintain your relationship with your daughter as an individual, rather than as part of a couple. Your teen should understand that her dating behavior doesn't affect your love for her, even if you don't necessarily approve.
Step in only if you feel as though your teen is in danger because of her relationship, warns Healthy Children.org. If you feel like your daughter is emotionally or physically at risk, you can ask that she not see him anymore but expect some opposition. Avoid making jabs or insults toward her boyfriend. Instead, help your teen to make her own choices by pointing out some of the behavior you've witnessed. Instead of saying, "John acts like a jerk," try, "I've noticed that you seem upset after spending time with John. I would rather you'd date someone who makes you feel respected and loved."
- Disney Family: When You Disapprove of Your Teen's Date
- HealthyChildren.org: Teen Love Connection
- Ending Violence in Teen Dating Relationships; Al Miles
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