When your daughter was younger, you may have set strict rules about who she could date. Like many parents, you just wanted to make sure anyone taking your little girl out met your standards.
Now she’s all grown up, and she’s brought her new significant other home to meet you. There’s one problem: You can’t stand her partner.
Not even celebrity parents are immune from this common dilemma: Mandy Teefey, mother of Selena Gomez, recently admitted she’s “not happy” that her daughter is back with her on-and-off boyfriend Justin Bieber, but also acknowledges that the 25-year-old pop singer is “an adult and can make her own choices.”
Your daughter’s new love interest may make your blood boil, but actively protesting the relationship will only drive a wedge between you, and may even make her more determined to stay with that person. Here are a few tips to help you handle your daughter’s dating choices and make the best of the situation.
1. Express Your Concerns In A Diplomatic Way
It’s hard to watch your daughter expend her emotions and energy on a person who’s all wrong for her. You should never lie and pretend you like her partner, but you need to be careful about how you have this conversation with your child. Never place the blame on your daughter for making a bad decision (e.g., “How could you pick such a terrible person?”). Instead, make it about the partner’s traits or behavior: “I’m concerned that he doesn’t have a steady career,” or, “I didn’t like the way she spoke to me.” Once you’ve put your concerns out there, don’t bring them up again unless your child wants to talk about it.
2. Avoid Making Demands Or Ultimatums
If you’ve let your child know how you feel and she still wants to keep seeing this person, there’s not much you can do to stop her. Your daughter isn’t a teenager anymore, and you can’t say she’s “not allowed” to date someone. You may want to tell your child not to bring her partner around, or that you won’t see or speak to her until she breaks up with that person, but doing so will only damage your relationship with her.
3. Make An Effort To Get To Know Your Daughter’s Partner
Everyone deserves a second chance to make a good impression. Your daughter is probably excited about her new love interest and wants to tell you all about that person, so listen to her – or better yet, invite her significant other over again. Ask questions and keep an open mind as you try to get to know the partner a little better. You may even find there’s something you like about them, such as a shared interest you can bond over.
4. Respect Her Decision
Being the parent of an adult means respecting your child’s right to live their life the way they see fit, even if it’s not what you want for them. Let your daughter know you won’t love her any less or treat her differently because of who she’s dating – and let your words and actions truly reflect that.
5. Trust That She Will Learn From This Experience
You may be right that your daughter’s partner isn’t “the one,” but she needs to come to that conclusion on her own. Most people have made romantic mistakes in their past, and each one is an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Trust that your child will learn from the experience and make a better dating choice next time around.
If you have some serious concerns about your daughter’s partner – a hidden marriage or criminal history, for example – you may want to suggest that she do a little research into her new love’s background. With BeenVerified, you can instantly search publicly available data to find past addresses, legal records, social media posts and more, all in one place.