How to Talk to a Teenage Daughter About a Bad Boyfriend

The bad boy persona is one that teen girls -- and women -- are presented with on TV, in movies and in books, according to Boston-based psychiatrist Susan Carey. These bad boys often are dangerous and inappropriate, but they turn out to be sweet guys by the end. However, it becomes a problem when your teenage daughter's boyfriend is actually just a bad boyfriend and bad influence. You want to talk to her about this guy, but you have to do it in a way that doesn't drive her further into his arms and out of your reach.

A mother and daughter in disagreement on the couch. (Image: JackF/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Discuss your expectations with your daughter, but make it about her and not her bad boyfriend. For example, if she is dating someone you don't like, remind her of the rules in your household and the consequences that go with them, but do not use the boyfriend as an example. Tell her you expect her to be home by her curfew every night, lying is not permitted, grades must be maintained, and her behavior must be respectful and polite at all times. Do not single out the instances she breaks rules when she is with her boyfriend or she might become angry that you are singling him out because you don't like him. This serves as a reminder that she is still your daughter and that you expect her to follow the rules; she is more likely to continue following them if she fears you will punish her and keep her away from her boyfriend.

Step 2

Talk to your daughter about the dangers of drinking and having sex with any boy, advises Anthony E. Wolf, author and clinical psychologist. Again, do not make this a personal conversation about her boyfriend -- make it a generalized statement that makes it seem that you are simply reminding her about the risks of sexually transmitted disease, unwanted teen pregnancy and drinking because she's at an age where it's important to keep these perils fresh in her mind.

Step 3

Warn your daughter about the dangers and warning signs of a bad relationship, advises New York Presbyterian Hospital psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz. For example, tell her than in any relationship she has with a boy, whether it is her current boyfriend or a boyfriend she has in the future, it is never OK for her boyfriend to hit her, harm her, verbally abuse her, mentally abuse her, or keep her away from her friends and family. Ask that she talks to you or another trusted adult if she ever finds herself in such a circumstance. Refrain from telling her you think her boyfriend is like this or you might push her closer to him.

Step 4

Encourage her to listen to her intuition and that no always means no, advises Saltz. If she ever finds herself in a circumstance with her boyfriend or anywhere else in life in which she finds herself feeling uncomfortable, tell her to trust her gut and say "no."

Step 5

Skip the talk and sever the relationship if it is out of control, advises clinical psychologist Ruth Peters. You are the parent and you make the rules. This situation should be used only if it really requires it, such as when your daughter's boyfriend is significantly older -- what is a 30-year-old man doing with a 16-year-old girl anyway? -- if he has a troubling criminal record, if he abuses drugs or alcohol, or if he is abusing your daughter.

Tip

Discuss the aspects of a healthful relationship with your daughter. Remind her how wonderful she is, and how much she deserves to be treated wonderfully. Constant reminders might help her remember that she is better than the guy she is dating.

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