Reader Question: I Hate My Daughter’s Boyfriend!

Reader Question of the Week
“I hate my daughter’s boyfriend.” That’s a tough situation to be in. And that’s our Reader Question this week! Every Monday I like to put up a Reader Question and take a stab at answering it. Here’s this week’s from a woman who is not pleased with who her daughter is dating:

I am concerned about my daughter’s current boyfriend. It seems to me and my son that he doesn’t respect my daughter and he is getting her involved with odd things – role-playing games, songs with bad lyrics, etc. She is 18, so I have limited power, but any advice would be great. Her dad doesn’t really see it, but he is gone a lot for work.

This is a difficult one, isn’t it? Personally, I’m really blessed, because I love my daughter’s boyfriend, but I’ve often thought about what I would do if one of my daughters decided to date someone I didn’t approve of.

And the truth is that once they’re a certain age there really isn’t a whole lot you can do. You can’t forbid them; they’re an adult. Nevertheless, you do have influence, so here are some thoughts I have on how to tackle this problem.

I hate my daughter's boyfriend! Handling a relationship you disapprove of.

Keep Your Daughter’s Boyfriend Close

You know the saying, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer?” I think this applies doubly for a situation like this!

Here’s the thing: if you tell your daughter that he is an awful person, and you tell her that you don’t like him, what’s she going to do? She’ll hang out with him anyway, but she’ll do it away from you! You’ll end up driving her away from the family.

Teenage love is a strange thing. People feel all these intense things, and believe that this is real love, and we’re alone in the world, and no one else understands us. Pretty much all teenage couples feel this way to some extent. Add in a slightly controlling or “dangerous” boyfriend, and you’ve already got those feelings doubled.

Then, if you start reinforcing this by telling her how awful her boyfriend is, she’ll take that as a sign that this is true love, and that only her boyfriend does understand her.

Instead, have him over a lot. Engage him in conversation. Ask him to help with things around the house, like fixing some plumbing or changing the oil on your car or something. Treat him like he’s part of the family.

Won’t this tell your daughter that you like him? Not necessarily, especially if you follow the next few steps. But what it will do is show your daughter how he sticks out like a sore thumb. If he is really different from your family, and your daughter is comfortable in the family, and then she finds that he just doesn’t fit, it could easily make him look more pathetic. If she only spends time with him away from the family, he can look better than he really is.

Here’s another benefit: even if you don’t like this boy for your daughter, he is a child of God. And right now, you have influence over him. I can think of two moms that I know who didn’t like their sons’ girlfriends. But they embraced those girls, they mentored those girls, they interacted with them on Facebook and tried to make them feel like they were valued, and when those destructive relationships did end, those girls had seen what Jesus’ love looks like.

If you bring that boy into the fold, you’re not blessing the relationship. You’re simply exerting influence, and showing your daughter that you trust that she will eventually make the right decision. And then you’ll know more what’s going on in their relationship, because they’re living it under your eyes.

Ask Your Daughter What She Wants in a Relationship

Talk to your daughter about the future. Where does she want to be in five years? In ten years? What kind of job does she want? How does she picture herself living? Does she want children? Then ask her in the abstract: what kind of man would make a good father? What are your non-negotiables for a husband? Eventually you may ask her how she sees her boyfriend fitting into this.

The main point: Don’t volunteer your own opinion. Simply keep asking questions. It’s better for her to come to the conclusion herself about whether he’s marriage material than for you to tell her repeatedly.

Share Your Specific Concerns to Your Daughter about her Boyfriend

In this case, the mom is worried about the role playing games and the songs she’s listening to. Again, start with questions. “What do you think of that song?” Share with her that this isn’t a song that you thought that she would like. And ask her, “have things changed? Do you feel differently now?”

If she no longer feels the same convictions that you do, you can’t make her suddenly have those convictions. But you can make her confront her own hypocrisy. Ask her, “how does this connect with your faith?” If she can’t answer it, then at least she can start to see that her faith may be weak. You can’t have a real God experience without realizing that you truly need Him and you’ve messed up. It’s totally okay to help her see that.

One word of warning, though: It could be that she does still love God, but she’s going to express it in different ways than you would. I know some teenagers, for instance, who the parents have told me have “rebelled” and have “turned their backs on God.” However, from my perspective they haven’t done that at all. They’ve gotten tattoos, and they’ve got different views of some social and political issues, and they’ve started going to different churches. But they still love God, they’re still in ministry, and they still pray and identify as Christians. They just do it in a different way from their parents.

I’m not saying that’s what happening here; I’m just saying that sometimes we react to what we perceive is a child leaving the faith, when really they’re choosing to express faith in a new way. I know that’s hard, because it means that your child is rejecting your family culture. But please, in those times, remember that God is bigger than your family culture, and see the faith that is still in your child. Approve of it. Bless it as he or she goes on a different journey, and don’t make him or her feel guilty for choosing something other than what you would do, as long as the essentials of the faith (say, the Apostle’s Creed, for instance) are still there.

What if the Relationship is Dangerous?

But what if it’s not a question of just disapproving of the guy, but a question of the relationship honestly being dangerous? Maybe she’s at risk of pregnancy because you’ve found that your daughter is sleeping with her boyfriend, or you fear he’s violent or controlling. That doesn’t look like the case for our letter writer, but some of you may be facing a more dire situation. Here are some thoughts in that case:

Do Not Let Your Daughter Sleep with Her Boyfriend in Your House

When You Discover Your Daughter is Having Sex
If your daughter is going to sleep with her boyfriend, she’s going to do it somewhere. Either your house, his house, a friend’s house, or the car. Those really are the only options.

You can make sure she doesn’t do it at your house by not letting them in the house alone, and by never letting them be in a room with the door completely closed.

If he still lives with his parents, you can talk to those parents and ask that they not leave the two of them alone, though you have no guarantee that the parents will follow this advice.

If the car is an issue, you can stop letting her borrow your car.

Here’s a more detailed post on this issue:

What to do if you discover your daughter is having sex

Give Her a Taste of Reality

The quickest way to end a fantasy is with a little dose of reality. If your daughter is completely rebelling, and is involved with someone that you know is bad for her, and is openly sleeping with him or doing drugs/alcohol, etc., then sometimes the best thing to do is to issue a bit of tough love. Tell her that she cannot do these things while living in your house, and tell her that if she is going to make these choices, then she will have to support herself.

Will this be hard? Absolutely, and this is really only for the worst case scenarios. But sometimes a person needs to go through a year or two of horror to come back and realize that’s not the way she wants to live her life.

Maybe it’s not to that level, though. Let’s say your daughter is involved with a slightly older guy that has kids with another woman, and he has to pay child support. Have her make up a budget. Have her figure out how much money will actually be left over if her boyfriend pays the full child support. Have her talk to one of your friends who is always in court battling her ex about money or access (you likely have at least one friend that does this; I have several!). Let her see how hard life will be.

If Necessary, Call the Police

If you suspect your daughter is being physically or sexually abused, call the police. Will it make her mad? You betcha. But it’s difficult for the authorites to prosecute unless they have a paper trail showing a pattern. And it could be that this guy has already been charged with domestic violence with other women. Violence is violence; don’t keep it in the family.

Remember that She is in God’s Hands

Finally, and this is the hardest part, remember that she is in God’s hands. You’ve done all you can; you’ve raised her for eighteen years or so, and you’ve instilled all the values in her that you can. Now it’s time for her to make her own decisions–even if you don’t like those decisions.

So pray hard, and lean on God, and learn to trust Him. He really does love your child, and He will protect her wherever she goes. Sometimes it takes a few years in the wilderness for her to figure out what she wants. Those are going to be tough years for you. But God can carry her, and He can carry you, too.

Now’s the time to learn to trust. It’s not an easy lesson, but it’s an important one. And He will be enough for you.

Now I’d love to hear from you: has your child ever dated someone you didn’t approve of? How did you handle it? Or if you ever dated someone your parents didn’t like, what made you eventually see the light? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Comments

  1. Larissa says:

    One point I would add is that there is a difference between a bad influence and the person just having different interests than you. In this case, she mentions role playing games. these in themselves are not bad. They are just considered strange by “normal” people.

    I learned this with my sister. She is now married to a guy who is completely different than everybody in our family. While there are things about him that have been a negative impact on her, a lot of the things about him that made us initially feel turned off of him were his interests and that they were strange to us. he could change his tune and keep his interests and he would be completely “acceptable” as a Christian and family member.

    • Great point, Larissa! Thank you. And I totally agree. Sometimes it’s just that they’re different, not bad.

  2. I agree with Larissa – I think Sheila did a good job of answering this question in a general sense that covers all possibilities, but the concern about role playing games is misplaced. RPGs are nothing more than a cross between a video game without screens and a choose your own adventure novel of sorts. Some people take them to a weird place but there are always those with every community (look at the extreme Harry Potter fans for instance).

    I think this ties into a larger theme of nerd hobbies being socially unacceptable, and even more unacceptable in the Christian community. For example, I’m a longtime World of Warcraft player but I would never dare mention that in any group bible study ever. I will get lectured about wasting time and bad influences, but then the same exact people will turn around and be like, “hey did you watch Mad Men last night?”. WoW is actually much much cleaner than most TV, part of the reason I play it. I think that Christians need to take a step back and rethink their dislike of nerd hobbies.

    • Butterflywings says:

      Totally agree! Most of the best people I know are into RPGs. My husband’s great friends, my great friends. Most are christians, all are caring, upstanding citizens. It’s not really my thing, but I started playing with my husband and his friends and my sister’s friends when we go back to our hometown because it’s a great way to catch up and have fun. It’s better than the mindless gossip (at best) and drunken idiocy (at worst) that goes on at most non nerd parties I’ve been to.

      Perhaps the problem isn’t the boyfriend but the views of society that nerds/geeks are somehow deviant for being different.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I agree 100%! I’m not super interested in most “nerd hobbies” but they do get a bad rap. A lot of the video games and card games out there are fine — it’s all what you do with them. Anything can become a crutch or soak up all of someone’s time. That doesn’t make the thing inherently bad.

      I’ve never understood RPGs (tried it, didn’t get it then, don’t get it now) but there are a lot of benefits to playing them. You get to work on a large project with people (teamwork), and you get to be pretty creative! If you’re doing a written one, then your writing skills get a workout (or should… unfortunately, the internet can be a cesspool of ignorance). Same with video games… you can choose the stupid ones OR you can choose the good ones.

      Also, apparently people aren’t allowed to like math/science these days, either. My husband is a TOTAL nerd that way (example… he spent yesterday morning figuring out what shape has the most area within given parameters… in his head) and he’s always super excited when he finds another one like him. :) But it’s not like you can just come up to someone and say “So, I was trying to prove a formula…” You get a lot of weird looks (and sometimes ignorant lectures about why math is stupid, and shouldn’t you be more worried about providing for your family with actual SKILLS?). So irritating.

      • Same here – RPGs aren’t really my thing either (too boring) but part of what draws me to nerd culture is the good clean stimulating fun aspect of it. I think part of the social unacceptability is just being in the minority. For example, a few weeks ago a relative of mine was posting stuff on Facebook like, “Can you believe Friends went off the air 10 years ago? Oh the memories! I miss Ross and Rachel so much!” and she’s considered a fine upstanding pillar of the Christian community. I can’t stand Friends and can’t imagine being that emotionally attached to TV but I’m sure she would find my cabinet full of German board games equally weird. There are more of her in the world than there are of me, so she is considered ‘normal’ and I’m not.

        Although if the world were full of puzzle/game/lego enthusiasts, I’m sure the emotional TV watchers would look very out of place.

    • Definitely! The majority of my friends are Christians, and a bunch of us are also really big geeks. Myself included. My husband and I end up getting together with a group of good friends a couple of times a year for a weekend of board gaming, and RPG-based games are often on the table. (No pun intended.) Most of the inside jokes I share with my best friend are centered around various “fandoms”. We’re actually preparing for a girls’ weekend going to our first sci-fi convention. And one of the ways I realized that my husband was a great match for me was his willingness to embrace a lot of this– he’ll never like Lord of the Rings or Doctor Who as much as I do, for instance, but we still have a lot of fun watching the movies and the show together. And we love playing board games together. Honestly, I get kind of irritated with people that automatically assume that something is “bad” just because the main characters happen to be wizards or some other fantasy creature, and miss the bigger themes of the story. And, for me at least, I’ve found that the people who like these things in even small doses are more creative and generally more fun!
      Becky recently posted…overwhelmedMy Profile

      • I am overwhelmed to I guess so thanks for the advice I like it will pray for ourdaughterthen and everything here.

        hopeful something will over come her and more board game appoarch then anything else.

        • Dear Patricia,
          Having been the daughter to put her parents through this, I want to say I’m sorry. I know this has to be one of the hardest things in the world. But in the end, she’s another person! She has to make her own decisions, eventually. I really really really wish my dad had given control over to God. He held on too tight to me and I felt like I had to break free. If he had just let me go, I don’t think I would have married the man he hated. You love your daughter more by trying to help, not by trying to control. Just let go, leave it in God’s hands. He’s very capable. Make sure she knows you love her, but let her live her own life. That makes all the difference in the world.

    • Christine C. says:

      I’d also like to chime in and say that role-playing games are a great way for a couple to have fun together and get to know each other (how does a partner react to in-game stress? How does he/she work in groups?) Maybe the mom can invite the daughter’s boyfriend to a game night at their house? That way she could join in their hobby and be around to supervise them at the same time.

  3. Sheila, love your advice about integrating the questionable boyfriend into the family. YES! Especially if she’s still close to her family, she can see how he does or doesn’t fit in. Is he polite and respectful to her family? Does he pitch in and help, or expect to be waited on? Does he enjoy anything outside of his own interests? What about her interests? I’d be very curious what KIND of role playing games he’s into and how much time he devotes to that.. Sure, they can just be an off-beat hobby, but I’d be curious if he’s kind of a Peter Pan (adultescent, whatever you want to call it). Is he functioning as an adult and those are his hobbies, or is his life all about his hobbies. Is he employed? Self-supporting? And you find out all of that by spending time with him. And hey! the more they’re with you, they more they’re chaperoned ;D

    Julie
    julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

    • I’d agree those are much more important questions that his particular hobbies.

      I’d also ask, how’s his walk with God? Is he attending and actively involved in church?

      She brings up rolee-playing games and the music, but as has been mentioned that’s more because it’s considered socially unacceptable to have those hobbies, but I’ve seen just as many, if not more “grown” men who had a problem with sports and ignoring their wife and family because a baseball game was on.
      Ticia recently posted…Austin Aquarium Field TripMy Profile

  4. Great points here, everyone! As someone who married a nerd, I completely agree about nerd culture being seen as somehow aberrant (and we have a whole closet filled with German board games, too).

    And I’d agree that many marriages are wrecked over more “innocent” things like sports, etc.

    The key thing is seeing the heart. Like I said in the post, often we assume that all of our own cultural pinnings to Christianity are an essential part, when really they’re not. Just because someone isn’t like you doesn’t mean they’re not following God.

  5. I have a few years before this could be an issue in my home. But a lot of the advice is good for “my kid has a friend I don’t quite approve of”, too. Not a friend I feel the need to completely ban contact with (and I’m not sure that would work anyway) but one I want to keep a close eye on and be extra-aware of what the two of them are up to.

    I had to look up German board games, because I’d never heard of them. But most of the ones listed as examples are, in fact, on the shelf downstairs where we keep games.
    There wouldn’t be space in the living room, what with the pet cages and the spinning wheel and things.
    So maybe we’re nerds and didn’t even know it…. :)

  6. Ilka W. J. says:

    Ok, sorry, I know that I am probably majoring on a minor here, but I stopped (briefly!) at, ” even if you don’t like this boy for your daughter, he is a child of God”. But then, he just might well not be, and that’s part of the problem? Or do we just have different definitions – as in, my understanding is that, while we all are _created by God_, a _child of God_ has made a decision to follow Christ and knows Him as his or her Savior, and others may call any human being a child of God?

    • Ilka, that caught on my radar too. I don’t believe that everyone is a child of God, but all are made in His image, and I think that’s the point Sheila was making. We ought to treat these sometimes-hard-to-love people as God’s creation. I was assuming (maybe too much?) from the letter that the boyfriend was not a believer, and that was the root of the mother’s concern.

      Julie
      julie recently posted…Mothers Day HappenedMy Profile

    • Elizabeth B. says:

      I have the same issue, Ilka and Julie, I actually did send the original email. The “boy” in question is a non-believer. He was 23, my daughter was 19. The role-playing games conversation was actually majoring on a minor, in my honest opinion. My issue is that she never did it before and it suddenly took up all of her free time, she wasn’t hanging around many of her Christian friends, the music isn’t just music if the lyrics are absolutely obscene, and I’m not talking about anything you would hear on most radio stations. I’m not really extremely strict about many things.

      The fact that he is a non-believer, and was treating my daughter horribly were the main points. I know that there are people who like RPGs. My issue is when any activity becomes the focus when the focus should be God.

      An update – she is no longer involved with him. :-)

  7. Ilka W. J. says:

    Adding to say that I’m totally tucking this away (LOVE Pinterest!!) for future use. My oldest is almost eight… 😉

  8. My daughter is involved with a young man of another colour. Having being brought up to believe that mixed relationships/marriages are taboo, my husband and I are finding it very difficult to accept. My husband has almost rejected our daughter. Before she went into the relationship, he begged her not to and she promised him she would not, only to confront us a few weeks later to say that she had to give the relationship a chance. It is very hard for me too, but I love my daughter and am not prepared to lose her. My husband also loves her but will not/can not accept the relationship and also feels she betrayed him by breaking her promise to him. My daughter lives at home with us. Relations in our home are very strained and I am in the middle. I feel as you do, that we should accept this young man, invite him into our home and get to know him. My husband refuses to allow this. This has been going on for nine months. My husband refuses to stand down and I am stuck in the middle.

    • Jayne, I’m a little unsure how to answer this. I understand that many people think mixed race marriages are wrong, but there is absolutely no biblical basis for that. In fact, the Bible says the exact opposite. In Christ there is no Jew nor Greek. Race doesn’t matter. What does matter is belief. It’s infinitely better to marry a Christian of a different race than to marry someone who doesn’t believe of the same race. It is Christ that matters.

      If your husband is a Christian, then he needs to be confronted on his sin of being racist and of judging this man and this relationship unfairly. I know that it can be culturally ingrained, and that is hard to stop, but a sin is a sin, and racism is simply wrong.

      If you do not want to lose your daughter, I would tell your husband very clearly, “I love you and respect you, but what you are doing is wrong and is contrary to God’s principles. I will not lose my daughter over this, and I will not see Jesus maligned by you refusing to welcome someone good into our home. You are free to stay in the bedroom when he comes over for dinner, but if you fight with our daughter over this, we will simply go and hang out elsewhere, leaving you alone, since that is what you are choosing. You will miss out on your daughter and your grandchildren, and I will enjoy having a relationship with them.”

      Your husband doesn’t need to have a relationship with her and her boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t. And we are to stand up to sin and confront it; your husband is clearly sinning, and this should not be tolerated, whether it’s his culture or not.

      If the boy is not a Christian, that’s an entirely different story.

      I’m sorry you’re in the middle, and I would definitely try to love your husband and have a good time with him doing other things, but I would make it clear that you will not tolerate his exclusion of the boy, or his attitude towards him.

      I hope that helps!

      • Jenn T. says:

        Thank you so much, Sheila, for speaking out against the ugly sin of racism. As the mother of a son who was adopted from another culture/race, I am so saddened, hurt and sickened that this attitude exists today, but to know that it exists within the Body of Christ is absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you, thank you for not staying silent!

      • You’re telling the wife to directly disobey her husband? Clearly unscriptural and sinful for the wife. There is not enough information here — is the young man a Christian? Is he of a different faith or no faith at all? Is he from a different culture? WHY does a daughter choose a man she knows her father will disapprove of? Why does she directly disobey her father, her authority, when she has already made the promise to not see him?

        It sounds like the husband believes the relationship is a sin — how do you justify giving advice to someone to “stand up” against that? The daughter has sinned against the father, and then her mother is helping her justify it, and then you’re giving advice for the mother to sin as well. Is the woman the head of that family? It sure seems that you are advocating that she be so, and treat her husband like a child.

        This isn’t about race so much as it is about disobedience.

        • Acts 5:29: “Peter and the other apostles said, “we must obey God rather than man.”

          The fact that you would post that comment right after news broke about a white man shooting up a black church and killing nine is rather ironic.

          Racism is a sin. We must confront it, no matter who is committing that sin. Matthew 18:15-17.

    • Wow…some of these situations are perfectly awful!I married my husband with my dad’s blessing and my mom loved him too. I prayed for years for the right man and only ever dated or kissed my husband. Not because my parents were that strict but because I feel God knew what would be best for me and prevented all other situations. I have had friends in many different situations but I always prayed for a man who would love God and love me forever. My dad wasn’t immediately happy about my dating him but as he did get to know him their relationship has continued to improve. The things he was concerned about were of little importance in the end, because they were simply his preferences not actual problems. I’ll be married 10 years in the fall and am still head over heels in love with my hubby. We have grown together spiritually and as individuals. We have had children, been financially strapped as well as having moved nearly half a dozen times. We’ve been through sickness, health and he held me countless times after my mother passed and I miscarried. God has made everything beautiful and meaningful in his own time and way. I feel like if our younger generation could just wait on the Lord’s timing and our older generation could put their trust and faith in him in these matters, each one of our daughters could have their own imperfect but blessed marriage as I do.

  9. My
    Daughter has been a devoted and dedicated Christian for 4 years and has been a great influence to many of her friends who were not Christians and who now are. She professed her belief that she didn’t want to just date a guy just to be dating and that she wanted to only date guys with a heart for God and those who were seriously looking for a wife. She told multiple, suitors that this is her belief before she really gave them the time of day. She had this utopia that the perfect wise and God loving man would just show up and put a ring on her finger.
    My son had a great deal of influence over her in this area because, after a few years of drug abuse and being lost he came out of that with a heart for God but also an attitude that he was wise and wanted her to follow in his footsteps for finding a husband.
    He married a Christian having only known her for 6 months and truly only dated her long enough to know what was on the surface. Under the advice from his pastor, he was guided to note date any women until it was the girl he would marry. He was sat down in front of his pastor and asked are you prepared to marry this girl right now and if not you need to not date her.
    Well under this advice the proposal, and marriage happened within a 3 month period.
    My son wanted the same thing to happen for his little sister and convinced her that this was the only wise path to take even to the point t of meeting with her last boyfriend a year ago and putting him on the spot with the same question his pastor asked him “are you prepared to marry my sister today and if not you need to stop dating her.
    Fast forward 2 years and my son is in tears telling my daughter to not do what he did because his wife had not had a sober day in over a year. We didn’t know of his wife’s drinking problem until then and suddenly he tells my daughter to not follow his advise and make sure she gives a relationship time to really know the person before marrying them no matter if the man professes to be a Christian or not.

    In other words, his influence and talk of his choice being the wise path to take was suddenly shattered. She now sees the real struggles he is facing and has decided that her utopia of the perfect marriage was just a lie.
    Now my daughter comes to me and says she feels like she has been a devoted Christian to please others and that her heart was not truly on fire for God. She is questioning everything she has held a firm position about since learning about her brothers not so wise and perfect marriage.

    Apparently I found the truth of her recent battle within it is not so much that she does not believe in God but that she is torn because she is now dating a guy who she knows would not fit the profile of what she thinks we would approve of. She is also contemplating a tattoo. I know she has lived for 4 years trying to be the perfect daughter and developing a personal relation ship with Him but trying to live up to the expectations s of her brother and her Christian friends and is tired of pretending
    that she is “all in” with her heart and soul for God.

    I think this change in her is a partial rebellion caused by her shattered believe in her brothers “all wise and knowing” prideful influence over her.
    This new guy is of another culture and does not fit the blueprint of someone she would normally Consider as a suitable match. She knows she will mostly likely be challenged by the fact that she will not get approval in her choice to date this guy
    This new love interest might be her rebellion against trying to please everyone for so long.

    My husband and I have told her that everyone questions the validity of their faith sometimes when things are going well. I told her that she has not experienced anything truly devastating and has not been brought to her knees by any
    thing really in her life but when it happens, I promise that Jesus will be who she turns to again because he will not stop pursuing her or abandon her no matter how confused or how much she questions her faith in Him.

    We have told her that we love her unconditionally and do not expect perfection. We told her it is OK and enviable that she will make mistakes. We have told her we will never leave her side no matter what and that Jesus will never leave her as well. She is questioning in the validity of Christianity and leaning about the history of other religions.

    Being completely honest, it is going to be very hard to walk the talk and follow the way of Jesus not to judge and offer grace to this new boyfriend because of our own pride and prejudice about his culture. We have in all honestly put her on a pedestal as the perfect daughter and that is really our mistake. As she makes these choices, how do we really show her that we love and trust her adult choices and let her fall off the pedestal we have put her on?

    How will we handle the comments and judgements from our family about her choices when they have also put her on a pedestal!

    • Wow – I have the same questions – I am a mother of 4 (21,20,19 and 17). A year ago in July our 20 year old daughter and her boyfriend of almost 2 years were being pushed to marry so they do not sin sexually. He asked for our blessing (and we liked him but not the idea of marriage while they were both still in school) on the Wednesday and was killed in a car crash on the Friday, 2 days later. Our family has struggled since – however, we are all christian and that has really helped us on this journey but it has been very difficult still.
      Since then, our daughter has become involved in a church that seems controlling … we are no longer christian enough for her, every conversation goes wrong and we can’t even communicate –
      In June she was introduced to a man from Brazil who is 29 – he asked for permission to date her and we said yeas but to go slow as she has not fully grieved her loss(not a year yet). He tok her to meet his family on the first date and after 2-3 weeks of not taking it slow, the word marriage came up. Once again, the church was encouraging marriage rather than to sin sexually. We could not provide scripture to say why she should wait to get to know this guy but they were in a rush to marry in December when he was home from school (goes to Southern Seminary in Kentucky – we live in Canada) so he could take her with him back to school.
      She quit her education and he has convinced her to work while he finishes school. He is $10,000 in debt and our daughter has saved quite a bit more. He says he feels bad that she will have to support him.

      He also says that it is good for them to marry because they cannot control themselves sexually – however, he lives in Kentucky right now. Our daughter has always lived at home – they have never come to our house, always his, they are very isolated and the church people are surrounding them with approval.

      My husband and I are devastated – he asked for our blessing to marry her in December and we said no that we had a few things we wanted them to do first and to wait. He proposed anyway and they at least are waiting until June.

      The mention of his name makes us sick – we never see our daughter as she has moved out to live with a family from her church. I just feel something is not right – we have tried to talk with our daughter but she will have nothing to do with us now. I do not know how I will be able to get through this wedding.

      I am trying to trust God – what a test …

      Any advice or has anyone out there had to deal with this?

      worried mom

  10. This is good advice. I dated and eventually married a man who almost split me from my parents. But this wouldn’t have happened if my dad actually spent time with my husband-to-be and kept his role to an adviser, not a controller. I’m a strong-willed person, and I got it from my dad. When I stepped towards becoming engaged to Matt, my dad started balking and started going the opposite way. He found every reason to criticize Matt and could see nothing good about him.
    Then, the fatal mistake, he tried to force me to do what he thought was right. I made so many mistakes with dealing with this. There are so many things I should have done differently. But speaking from a stubborn kid’s perspective (I was 20, but still living at home right after college, plus, you’re always sort of a kid), I listened to him when I was asking for his advice and he was simply giving it. But when he felt like he was loosing control, he tried to hold tighter. And this just made me struggle more against it and stop listening. Again, something I shouldn’t have been so visible about doing.
    I still don’t know what I should have done, Biblically. God gives you parents for a reason. But after a certain point, you choose your own way. And I don’t think my dad had come to peace with that. He held onto me too tightly and I felt like I had to break free.
    One last word: never make your child choose between their “special someone” and their family. Because, if you’re the one giving the ultimatum, they will chose their “special someone.” Because that person isn’t threatening to shut them out. My dad did this as a last resort and I went crying to Matt.
    Mercy M Hass recently posted…The Myth of Mary’s ShameMy Profile

  11. Our daughter is 20 years old and met a boy (24 yrs) who claims to be a Christian. Our daughter lives at home. As far as we know he treats her well and respectful & honest. Here is the issue – He has questionable Spiritual issues. He is not involved with a Church. He is a new Christian, but he has tattoos on his entire arm and a few others on the other arm., My husband does not want our daughter to date the guy, or have him over at our house or involved with our family because of the spiritual aspect and also the tattoos are another big issue. My daughter is a Christian, attends Church but we feel he is not a future husband for her. She is blinded by this guy because he treats her well but we feel he is not a good spiritual guy for her. So we don’t know how to approach this situation. Do we have this guy over at our house when we feel he is not spiritually right for her? And do not feel he would be a good fit for her? We don’t want to encourage the relationship.

    • Hi Lori. That’s a tough one. I think the tattoos are a red herring and rather irrelevant–if he’s a new Christian, then it’s quite likely he did them earlier, and you can’t be upset at someone for things they did before Christ.

      I think you can just involve him in your family–invite him to church, make Sundays family days where you go to church and then play games or have fun together afterwards; get him involved in your life. She’ll see soon enough if he doesn’t fit, and in the meantime, you’ve had a chance to minister to him. But being negative right off the bat often doesn’t work. She needs to see it herself.

    • Hey Lori! I was the daughter in this situation, my family didn’t approve of my choice, so here’s my input.

      I like what Sheila said, first off.

      A good attitude to try to have is that this is, ultimately, her decision. You can’t reject him for her. My dad tried doing that and I ended up marrying the boy. If you try to take the decision away from her, she will cling to it all the more, or, at least, I did.

      From my point of view, how do you know this isn’t a good guy if you don’t know him as well as she does? That’s what she’s saying in her mind right now. So get to know him. You might change your mind. But even if you don’t, in her mind, you will be more qualified to help her make a decision. (Emphasis on the HELPING, let her make her own decision). My dad had 1 one-on-one talk with my boyfriend in the 2 years I was dating him, and it helped my dad see what I saw in Matt. But he didn’t like him as much when it wasn’t one-on-one (Matt is ADHD and tends to be a clown in public). I had thousands of one-on-one talks with Matt and knew I liked him.

      Lastly, and I feel like this is really important: love her more than he does. This will make it so much easier for her to break up with him, if she ultimately sees your point of view. My dad started doing this. He would hug me and help me and even buy me chocolate and stuff, and just generally made me feel like I didn’t need to have a husband/boyfriend when I had my family. But then, when we got engaged, my dad started freaking out and at one point said that if I chose to marry Matt, he would shun me. That just pushed me into Matt’s arms, quite literally. I “knew Matt would love me no matter what I did.” My dad was threatening to not love me if I did a certain thing. Matt had never threatened that.

      Be gentle, shower her with affection, and, above all else, love her by trying to understand why she loves who she loves. There is a reason, beyond just him being nice to her. She sees some sort of future with this guy. I hope it goes well! Don’t forget to pray! If you have any more specific questions, I’d love to help. :)
      Mercy M Hass recently posted…Comment on The Artist by MercyMy Profile

  12. Guys I am desperate and need some solid advice.
    We are christian and my daughter had mostly a phone relationship with a muslim boy for 3 years. He is a year younger than my daughter, took her to her matric ball and saw her maybe 5 times in 3 years. His strict muslim parents told him he could have a girlfriend when he finished matric and turned 18. Well he turned 18 the day after he finished his matric exams and was promptly told by his parents that there is no girlfriend boyfriend relationships allowed in islam. My daughter having waited 3 years again agreed to wait until they both finished varsity. Things got out of hand though because they attended the same varsity and this very friendly boy made time for all and sundry except my daughter.

    In the meantime my daughter was driving with a lift club to varsity and the driver of the car started persuing my daughter. This boy is also muslim and his father is a muslim priest. I know for a fact that when my daughter refused him he became violent and clutched her jaw so tight he left bruises. I didnt know this but a friend of my daughter told me a while later and I removed her from the lift club.

    The “boyfriend” having finally gotten some freedom was playing the field at varsity and my daughter finally broke up with him but then immediately looked for comfort from the second muslim boy. When she was seeing the first boy I had told her that if it did not work out between them she was not to bring home another muslim boy. She remembered this and kept the second boy a secret for about 4 months before she brought him home.

    Every bit of advice I got about keeping your friends close and enemies closer flew out the window and within the time it took me to make a cup of tea I was asking this boy what his intentions were. I let him know that I would never accept my daughter converting to islam, I spoke to them about children in mixed religions, how the parent was responsible for bringing up the child in the christian faith. I told him we dont worship the same God because my God has a son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for me and his allah did not have a son.

    My daughter was very upset at this conversation wanting to know why I was talking about marriage.. my point was, dont start something you cant finish. This boy told my daughter to leave the room and she got up like a puppy and obeyed him.

    Besides being muslim my other concerns are:
    He doesnt know to remove his peak cap when he enters my house. I had to ask him to remove the cap.
    My daughter went out to speak to him at his car one time and I went out and told him that if he wanted to speak to my daughter ever, he had to do it in my house.
    I told him at our first meeting that I didnt trust him and that he had to earn my trust. I found out he had picked my daughter up after another function she was at and took her to sit at the beach at night. Cape Town is dangerous and people have been held up, robbed and some girls raped at these lonely spots. My daughter refuses to understand this.

    I recently found out that this boy smokes dagga. The other worrying thing is my daughter got straights A’s last year and was given a full bursary by the university but I recently found out about one lecture that she missed.. I dont know of any others but it is possible. She is studying for a Bsc, maths, stats and physics so she’s not stupid but she finds herself struggling in this being her 3rd year.

    This boy when he was doing the lift club often called in the morning to say he was not going in to varsity and I then had to pick up his other passengers as well and take and fetch them from varsity which is 98km for both the morning and afternoon trips. I knew then that this boy had no work ethic and my daughter thought the same because he was repeating his first year at that time and failed again last year and is repeating one subject this year so he can continue with his degree next year.

    I am sorry to make the story so long but feel y’all need to know the reasons I am concerned.

    He visited my home for about a month and a half before I found out that he smokes dagga and then told him that I want him to stay away from my daughter and that I would be visiting his parents to tell them about the drugs.
    Prior to this he never took my daughter to meet his family and I dont think he ever had intentions of doing that.. I played right into his hands because they then claimed that they broke up but I know that they are still seeing each other at varsity.

    Another worry is that when he visited my daughter, everytime he came he would go through her phone. One time when he was due to come visit my daughter asked her friend to delete her chats while my daughter dried her hair.

    I arranged for my daughter to speak to a psycologist, she has been for 2 sessions already because I feel this is a rebound relationship and in Cape Town muslim boys tend to use christian girls for sex while their muslim girls sit at home like my daughter does. Unless they got intimate at varsity I can say with 100% certainty that they were not intimate anywhere else. I made sure of that, even the time they went to sit at the beach.. Im ashamed to say how I know, just believe I do.

    My daughter swore at me this morning because I asked her to clean the kitchen which she dirtied anyway and I lost it and told her to go to this boy, that I dont want her in my house anymore, that I will not be taking and fetching her from varsity anymore, that she is on her own because I cant allow her to disrespect me in that way and this while I am making sacrifices knowing that the day she finds her first job that she will be out of here and off to support this person who looks like a gangster. My 26 year old son spoke privately with my daugter this morning at which time she showed her brother a picture of this boy. Well my son’s opinion is that this boy is not suited to my daughter and he guessed correctly that this boy cannot even speak decently, its mostly slang and gangster language. My daughter is very proper, or so I thought until she swore at me and my son seems to think that this boy would be out of place in a restuarant and that the best eat out for the two of them would be slap chips from a fish and chips cafe.

    A trusted friend told me that I have to let go and let her make her own mistakes.. How does any mother do that knowing that this boy is on drugs, a different religion, and the fact that muslim boys use christian girls.

    Eish, I went overboard but these are the facts and I would appreciate any advise please on how to go forward.

  13. Here’s our situation… my daughter is 21 and dating a 21 yr old guy that we had over and included in many family things. He comes from a Palestinian family that are devote Muslims. He – had chosen not to practice their religion.

    His mother contacted me to tell me that they do not approve of the relationship. I told her that my daughter is an adult and can make decisions on her own.

    After almost a year of dating, my daughter confessed that the bf is emotionally abusive, drinks too much, etc. After describing an incident where he actually threatened to hit her and called her the most vile of names, we told her that given his behavior we were not comfortable with him and he was no longer welcome in our home.

    So he tells her he will get help, but we said that though we can’t tell her who to date – we have boundaries and given his past behavior it would be completely inappropriate for us to disregard his past behavior. We are sticking to our boundaries.

    She says she gets it but will remain in her relationship.

    Thoughts PLEASE!

  14. My daughter is 19. She has been in an off and on relationship with this young man for 4 years. They started dating her junior year of high school. He was a senior. He had asked her to go to prom. Two weeks before prom he broke up with her over a text message, then later that week he asked someone else to prom. She was devatstated. He went into date someone else, (not the one he asked to prom) during that summer and into the fall when he left to college. Then around thanksgiving he started texting my daughter again and they hung out during the holidays. It was her senior year. They started taking again after her graduation. I met him at a local coffee shop and expressed my feeling on how he had treated my daughter. I told him she deserved better than to be token up with over a text message and if he was going to date her again he would have to respect her as a human and not take the relationship lightly.
    I tried, really hard,to like him. I have a hard time with forgiveness. Especially when it comes to my children getting hurt. He would come over, just walk in our house. He hardly talked. They really never went anywhere but to eat and they just stayed at my house.we even took him on a ation with us the following summer to try together know him. Halfway into a week vacation,they weren’t speaking to each other and it was very awkward. But they continued to date. They finally broke up after Christmas 2014. Not even a week later, he was dating someone else! She was in high school. He is now 22.
    The way my daughter was acting,I thoughtforsurr we were done with him. She started going out with friends, having fineven went on dates with other boys. Like a normal young adult does…. Have fun.
    Well now, it’s June and he has broken up with the last girl and now they are hanging out again. I know he isn’t the one for her and I’m not sure what she sees I him. I’ve tried to tel her he isn’t trustworthy since he seems to hop from girl to girl.
    If he’s texting you while dating someone else, whT makes you think he’s not texting and talking with someone else while you’re “hanging out?” I’m not sure what to do. My daughter has lots of dreams and goals. He has no job, plays golf and video games all day. He is going to college but has not decided what for.

  15. My daughter has been in a relationship for 4 years on and of,Her boyfreind is not the father of her children,he has bashed her over 5 times,He has contolled ,her,money,and to the stage where he said to her pick your family or him.also he has made her deppression that bad that she started taking drugs,with him that offered her.shes not aloud to go anywhere eithout him,and dosn’t go out with her 2 sisters anymore.My daughter is now in the mental health unit for past 3 days as he keeps her on synathetic ice, to keep controll of her,theres a dvo on him,but yesterday he locked him self in her house and screwed the insides of the doors shut with big bolts,My daughters father went to get clothes for our grandchildren he couldnt get in so police breached him for the 4th time,the boyfreind smashed my grandchildrens tv,s playstation, with a hokey stick and waved it at my daughter 3 weeks ago,he just got out of the wachouse ,and now hes storking me while my daughters in hospital and im in the childrens ward looking after my grandsughter with a bowel problem,and he parked 2 cars up storking me,hes also told my 10 year old grandson that he wont have a grandma too much longer !hes going to kill me.my daughters sick and lets him come back i have my grandchildren please give advice.

    • Jane, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this, but if you feel like you or the children are in danger you should call the police immediately, or ask someone from the hospital to escort you to your car and make sure that you are safe leaving the parking lot. You should also call a women’s shelter and ask what to do. But definitely call the police and call children’s services and let them know that your daughter can’t be trusted with the children right now.

  16. This story was great for my situation except my daughter is 14. The boyfriend is 17. He is so controlling she no longer has much of her friends. There is still one that refuses to give up on her. She has to show him all conversations she has with anyone via message. I have never actually hated a child until him. I dont know what to do. Her grades are dropping to the point she may not be able to attend the college she had planned and we are no longer as close as we always were. I am scared that she will be stuck in this relationship forever and feel helpless.
    Some examples are:
    While on vacation at the beach she wouldnt swim. I couldnt figure out why, she lives the water. Later I read her messages and he is very mad at her for being at the beach with her family. He said she should know her place is with him and that she better not have a bathing suite on.
    A girl from school messaged her about volleyball sign ups. She had to forward all the messages to him because he said she was lying about what they were about because school is over at 3:15 and she messaged her at 8:30.
    It goes on and on but its exhausting just thinking about it. Any suggestions as to what I can do?

    • Jody, your daughter’s boyfriend is abusive, and your daughter is only 14. At this point it’s time to be a mom and be a parent and not let this continue. #1: Take her phone away and limit her computer time so that he can’t text her. Kids don’t need phones until they can afford them on their own. #2: Only let her see him at your house (if you let her see him at all). She’ll kick and scream, but he is abusive. That is entirely different than just a boyfriend you don’t like. And it needs to be taken seriously!

    • helenpre says:

      I made my daughter split with her boyfriend after things got verbally abusive. It was good to give her time to grow, but we had to hear for years, “just wait until I’m 18 and we can be together!” It broke her trust with us because in her mind we used things she shared with us against her. Now that she is 19, they are back together. It is so hard to stomach. It is torture.

  17. helenpre says:

    My daughter has been on and off with an incredibly manipulative older boy for years. At one point he shoved her and hurt her back. He has told her he is questioning his sexuality but that makes her chase him more. She has dumped the sweetest Christian boys to keep restarting a relationship with him. He is manic and she loves the UP but when he is on the down he has told her that her #$%&ing hates her. I cannot stand him. We tried the ‘keep your enemies closer’ and it backfired causing the relationship to last two years until we forced her to end it. Now she is over 18 and we have no control. She spends all her time with him away from us because she thinks we hate him (we do). No idea what to do now as she leaves a trail of broken hearts.

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