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What to do when you don't like who your child is dating
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Parents have more influence than you realize when it comes to dating. - photo by Wendy Jessen
Many parents may look forward to their child dating with trepidation and for good reason. Not only does this take a great deal of trust, but dating begins the time where your child may ultimately choose who they want to spend the rest of their life with. Marrying someone is a huge decision not to take lightly, and as the marital prospects come along, parents may find themselves in a situation where they disapprove of their child's choice.

So, what should you do when you don't like who your child is dating? Here are 5 tips:

1. Remember, you have more influence than you think

If your relationship with your child is strong, your influence on who your child dates will be greater. Wall Street Journal stated, "Moms and dads continue to influence their childrens dating behavior throughout adolescence, but they exercise that influence indirectly, via the warmth of the parent-child bond and the skill they bring to overseeing their teens."

Cultivate positive relationships with your children now if you want to be a good influence on who they choose to date.

2. Don't jump to negativity

"Parents who want to convey disapproval about a childs romantic partner had best do it with the tact and subtlety of a diplomat. Those who openly criticize or reject a young adults romantic partner often drive the pair closer," according to Wall Street Journal.

This can prove rather difficult, but if you exercise patience and love, and even spend time with their boyfriend/girlfriend, things may eventually pan out in an acceptable manner. If they break the relationship, then it may be a better time to discuss the good or bad traits of the person they were dating, which can be a learning experience for your child.

3. Remember Romeo and Juliet

In the story of Shakespeare's young love couple, Romeo and Juliet, neither of their parents approved of the other. This only pushed the couple closer together and made them more determined to stay together, ultimately leading to their deaths.

While death won't likely be the end result, your child may decide to stay with a significant other just because you disapprove. They need to know you trust them and their choices. They also need to learn what qualities they like and dislike in another person. Let them date who they want, while using your positive influence to steer them in a good direction.

4. Help them choose good friends

Friends have a major influence on your child, not only for choices they make, but also who they date. Dating partners often stem from their circle of friends. Additionally, friends influence who your child may date based on likes/dislikes, popularity, or activities they are involved in together. Help your child know how to choose good friends early in their life.

5. Set a good example

If a husband and wife have a good marriage, their example can teach their children what to look for in a future spouse. Make sure you model good conflict resolution when you disagree, support each other, work together to make your house a home and take time to strengthen your relationship. Naturally, your kids will learn that that is something they want in their relationships.

If you don't like who your child is dating, have patience and let them learn from each relationship they have. The best thing you can do is have a warm, loving relationship with your child, regardless of who they date.