How to Deal With Your Daughter's Boyfriend That You Don't Like

By Maria Magher
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At some point, the inevitable happens: Your child grows up and develops opinions and tastes of their own. Unfortunately, her opinion may not always coincide with yours, and learning to let go can be difficult. If your daughter and her newfound sense of independence results in her dating a guy you can't stand, letting go can be even more difficult. Finding a way to cope is essential if you plan to get through your child’s teen years with your relationship intact.

Evaluate Your Feelings

Before you can address the situation with your daughter, understand why you feel as you do about her boyfriend. If you don't like the boy because of his personality or because you don't feel he is good enough for your daughter, then don’t say anything. Psychologist Michael J. Bradley tells Disney Family that choosing a mate is part of a learning process that helps kids mature into adults. Your daughter is learning to make her own choices, and you must let her do so. If you don't like the boy because he treats your daughter poorly or is involved with dangerous activities like doing drugs, then you should intervene.

Establish Expectations

Instead of focusing on what you don't like about her boyfriend, focus on what is and is not acceptable behavior. For example, you may say that the boyfriend can visit, but that he must keep the bedroom door open door while he is visiting. Dr. Ruth A. Peters, a psychologist and contributor to Today, states that parents should try to be nonjudgmental and should talk about family values and about your expectations for dating and sex. Even if you can't control everything your daughter does, you can guide her.

Use Framing

You may see right through your daughter's boyfriend, but she may think the world of him. Unfortunately, if you make judgmental statements about his terrible job or his bad attitude, you might send her running into his arms. Bradley suggests that parents use framing techniques to help get their point across without alienating their daughters. Instead of saying, "He doesn't seem very nice to you," you can say that you’ve noticed your daughter seems very unhappy, Bradley says. You will plant the seed to get her thinking without pushing her away.

Make Nice

Unfortunately, in most cases, when you don't like your daughter's boyfriend, the only thing you can do is to suck it up. Child behavioral therapist James Lehman tells Empowering Parents that criticizing your teen's friends or boyfriend will only make her defend them and will undermine your relationship. Instead, try to reach out to the boyfriend. Try to find things you have in common. Be nice. Be friendly. You may find something you actually like about him.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.