Helping your daughter make wise relationship choices can mean the difference between her experiencing needless heartache or having relationship success. As a mother, you know this stage is crucial to her well-being. However, it’s tricky to figure out this new guy’s character when your daughter is being a typical teen and not sharing her innermost thoughts and feelings with you anymore. By closely observing this guy and asking the right questions, you can figure out how he approaches life, his worldview, and whether he lies, says Jennifer Kromberg, Psy.D., in "Relationship Red Flags: What to Look for Early On," on PsychologyToday.com. These characteristics will speak volumes about the way he will treat your daughter.
Get to know him through your daughter. Ask her how they met, about his interests and his family life. Try to be casual with your questions, not detective-like. Unless she mentions a safety issue, try not to pass judgment. Being judgmental will make her clam up and think twice about sharing important information with you. The goal is to get her talking candidly about her new guy so that you can help her make appropriate decisions along the way.
Observe Your Girl
One of the most important ways you can assess this new guy’s character is to notice your daughter’s behavior. Pay close attention to signs that she is using drugs or drinking alcohol, trying to control her weight in unhealthy ways -- like making herself throw up, having unprotected sex, and making threats to kill herself. If you notice any changes in these areas, intervene immediately. These may be signs that she's in an abusive relationship, says Jay Silverman et al. in "Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality" in the "Journal of the American Medical Association." On the other hand, if he’s contributing to developing her character by encouraging her to get over her fear of spiders and helping her interpret Shakespeare, maybe he’s a keeper.
Invite Him Over
Whether he accepts or declines your invitation to come over says a lot about his character. Guys who are smitten with their new girlfriends are eager to please her family. Use this to your advantage. See if he’s interested in seeing pictures of your daughter when she was a baby. Take notice if he volunteers to bring the dishes to the kitchen. Observe if he goes out of his way to be friendly with her brother. If he shines in these areas, it could indicate that he is altruistic and empathic, says Bill Underwood and Bert Moore in "Perspective-taking and Altruism" in the journal "Psychological Bulletin." And this means he is likely a good guy who may add a positive element to your daughter's life. On the other hand, if he declines your invitation, beware. Perhaps he’s a player, says Julie Spira in “Ten Signs You’re Dating a Player,” on YourTango.com. Guys who have no intention of doing right by your daughter will not want to meet you.
Notice His Behavior
Does your daughter mope around the house because he canceled his date with her at the last minute? Or perhaps he cancelled the very first date with her. These are additional signs that she is just one of many girls he has his eyes on, says Spira. But if he wants to take her to age-appropriate places and respects her curfew, maybe he’s a good guy, after all.
- YourTango.com: Ten Signs You’re Dating a Player
- Journal of the American Medical Association: Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality
- PsychologyToday.com: Relationship Red Flags: What to Look for Early On
- Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images