A simple and innocent statement such as “I see this girl at school” is enough to make any mom raise their brows in excitement and curiosity, but mainly concern. We understand if you get a stream of questions flooding your brain. What? Is my son all grown up now? Who is the girl? And other questions leading to an extensive conversation.
Even if you may already plan for this day, you will be more likely to be in shock and kind of unprepared to have this conversation, especially when it comes so suddenly. But the fact that your son brought it up is a good thing. At least he is open to you, and you can roll the conversation from there.
Problems often occur when your son doesn’t want to open up, but you know you need to have this conversation at some point. To help you ease your anxiety about this conversation, the following are practical tips on talking to your son about his girlfriend.
1. Start with Light Conversation
The best way to start any conversation is with small talk. Yes, no matter how much we hate them, small talk is still the best practical way to give us a smooth transition to a more tough convo. You can start lightly by asking about their daily life and what’s happening lately. And then, you can open the conversation by asking about love life in a joking manner. It can break the ice, and your son will likely open up to you.
2. Set the Right Tone
Of course, you need to be careful about the tone you use. Even though it is normal for you to have concerns and worries, ensure that your son misses that. Your voice tone affects the overall atmosphere and determines whether he will be honest with you or not. And if you happen to not agree with the idea of him dating for any reason, make sure that you don’t judge his life choice but instead set the mood for an open discussion.
3. Don’t Lecture Him
Teenagers often feel mature enough to decide on their life choices. Therefore, lecturing him about relationships at such a young age can be a dangerous move. Of course, you have your best intentions when talking to your son, but if you lecture him on what’s good and what’s not, he might feel uncomfortable and hesitate to speak to you.
4. Genuinely Listen
Instead of turning the conversation session into a lecture, you can listen to him. And by listening here, we mean genuinely listening to what he got to say and not listening just to wait for your turn to talk. By listening to his point of view, you will get a better understanding as to why he chose to date a girl and what makes this girl unique according to him. Maybe you will get a better view as well.
5. Ask about How He Feels
You must know how he feels deep down. There are so many things going on in a teenager’s life, and dating might bring good and bad feelings. If his girlfriend makes him happy and can even motivate him to do better at school life and life in general, then it is a good thing. But sometimes, teenagers make choices due to peer pressure, and it is possible that your son starts dating just because his friends do the same. Make sure you know the basic reason why your son starts dating.
6. Encourage Him to Talk about Her
You remember how fun it was to talk about our crush, right? This can be an excellent way to make your son open up about his relationship. If he feels good about his girlfriend, he won’t hesitate to talk about it. It can lead to him being honest with you. On the other hand, you can also get to know the girl better.
7. Ask about His Favorite Things About Her
Similar to the previous point, talking about the good things about her can encourage your son to open up more. Other than for your own good, this conversation can be good for him as well. Talking more about his girlfriend encourages him to understand his feelings as well. Was he falling for him because she is the right person, or mainly for physical attraction because teenagers tend to miscomprehend attraction as true love. And it is an important point worth talking about.
8. Trust His Judgment
And after you get to know her better based on your son’s stories, you also need to be objective and not force your opinions. You should trust your son’s choice as well. If you raise him well, you know that he will not make foolish decisions and will try to be a good man. In this matter, you should not criticize his choice directly and, especially, never ever label his girlfriend. Especially if you haven’t even met her yet.
9. Talk about Healthy Relationship
A healthy relationship topic is so important that it should be the central point of the whole conversation. While talking about this topic, not only do you try to protect your son, but also his girlfriend and their overall well beings. Teenagers may feel like they know a lot of stuff, but their mental state is still far from mature. In this stage, it is very important that your son understand the concept of mutual respect, boundaries, and privacy and that having a separate interest is healthy.
10. Remind Him to Always Treat Women Respectfully
You are raising a soon-to-be grown-up man, and he should act well-mannered and respectful, especially towards the women they love. Make sure that he will never break boundaries and respect his girlfriend’s privacy. Being in love is not the same as being overprotective. This rule also applies the other way around. Your son needs to understand some toxic relationship traits to defend his right. Just because a girl claims to love him doesn’t mean she is allowed to tell him what to do, check on his personal belongings, and be overly clingy.
You can also share some of your past and recent relationships. Be honest when talking about this. No sugar coat. Tell the truth, whether it is good and bad. You can openly admit your mistakes as well. It can be an example that it is okay to make mistakes, but it is also essential to be aware and try our best not to hurt others and ourselves for the sake of keeping a relationship.
12. Be Supportive to Make Him Feel Safe
Don’t forget that you are here as his number-one supporter. Act as his best friend and not the judging parents. A good friend will support their best friend’s moves but also remind them when they seem to like making a wrong decision. Make sure that your son understands this so he knows that every advice you give is always for his best interest.
13. Remind on Life Balance
When a relationship takes up too much time and energy, it will turn out to be unhealthy relatively soon. When we are in love, it is easy to see our lover as the center of the universe, and nothing else matters. If not careful, it can develop into an unhealthy obsession and attachment. Remind your son that besides his girlfriend, the world still offers so many fun things. He still has his family, school, and his future to think about so he can maintain a balance between eating and living.
14. Debunk the Stereotypes
There are a lot of misconceptions going on in society. Even if you prepare him with the best education, he can still get influenced by his peers and the internet. He may have been exposed to inappropriate information regarding gender roles. You can tell him that being soft and caring doesn’t make him less masculine. Man doesn’t have to always be tough and strong all the time. It is okay to be vulnerable, and especially OK to treat his girlfriend right.
15. The Right Way to Make Her Happy
Teenage boys love to make an impression, whether it is on his family, their friends, or especially their love interest. It can be a good motivation for him to do better as long as it is done the right way. Making a girl happy takes effort, but your son should not misinterpret effort as material. You can give him tips on how to make his girlfriend happy such as by giving her the proper attention instead of showering her with expensive gifts.
16. Gently Tap on Sex
Like it or not, your son will be sexually active one day. And he might even think that he is ready to do it now. It is understandable if you are concerned about your baby being sexually active. But instead of being overly anxious and telling your son that he’s going to hell, you can talk about safety, prevention, and, most importantly, consent. You can also explain how hormones might work funnily and trick us to think that it’s love when in reality, hormon don’t mean love.
17. Dating is about Building a Relation
Due to their minimum dating experience, teenagers may only have a vague understanding of what a relationship is about. They may not know yet that it is not always butterflies and rainbows, and both parties need to make equal effort to make it work. You can explain that dating is about building a relationship, and it takes time and commitment to keep it healthy.
18. The Importance of Hygiene
If you’ve been stressed about your son not practicing proper self-hygiene, this can be an excellent time for you to talk about it. When being in love, normally, we want to look our best. And you can even tell him that girls love to be with a healthy and clean boy instead of a smelly one. This can increase their confidence level, and as a bonus, you can get a well maintained son.
19. Understand that Younger Generations have Different Dynamics from Ours
While having this conversation, you also need to understand that younger generations have very different dynamics than ours. They have other ways to communicate and express feelings. They also have different ways of dating. You may need to educate yourself regarding the young generation’s relationships so you can be relatable and not left out. This is beneficial, so you can keep up with their life and make your son feel understood.
20. Keep Him Comfortable
Finally, you need to make sure that he is comfortable talking about all of the above. Talking about dating and relationships can be awkward sometimes, especially when we get into sensitive topics. If you see that your son shows a little discomfort, you can end the conversation and continue sometime later. You can also ask him how he’s feeling and if he’s okay to talk about all of this stuff.
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What do you do when your son is dating the wrong girl?
First, you should ask yourself where you get this impression of your son dating the wrong girl? Is it from her behavior, or is it just you who is not ready for the idea of your son dating? If you are sure that the girl is not suitable for him, for example, because she makes him seem unhappy or stressed, you can ask your son about his true feelings and figure out the best way to solve it.
What to do when you disapprove of your son’s girlfriend?
Please remember that your son is an independent person with right to make his own choices. Before judging his choice of girlfriend, you can try to understand his reasons. You might as well try to get to know his girlfriend better before making any judgment. If you still think that this girl is no good to him in the long run, you can talk to him nicely instead of just forbid him from seeing her. This is his relationship, so he should make his own decision.
How do I get to know my son’s girlfriend?
You can get to know your son’s girlfriend better in some ways. First, you can ask your son to invite her to your family dinner. You can also go o a picnic or some kind of family getaway. And if you already form a close enough relationship, you can take her for brunch. Just the both of you so you can get to know each other without distraction.
How do I talk to my son about dating?
You can talk to your son about dating, starting from the basics. Your son must understand what a healthy relationship is so he won’t fall into a toxic relationship. It is a lot to unpack, so you may need several sessions to discuss this. Give him bite sized information every time so it will be easier to digest.
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