As parents, we don’t always like the partners that our children choose. Despite this, we can’t control who they decide to enter into a relationship with.
What happens when this relationship is toxic? If the partner that your son chose is having a ] negative impact on them, it may be time to do something about it.
Is my son’s relationship toxic?
The term “bad” is relative when it comes to parents’ views on their children’s relationships. As the parent, you’re probably overly concerned about your child’s choice in partner. If your son’s partner is making you uncomfortable, the relationship may not actually be toxic.
Take a moment to make sure that you actually believe the relationship is toxic. For example, your son may be in a relationship with someone you simply don’t like. Similarly, your initial meeting with their partner may not be an accurate reflection of who they are.
Try to analyze the situation to determine if there are any toxic patterns. One of the biggest signs of a bad relationship is a change in behavior. For example, if your child starts cheating, stealing, or lying, this may be a sign. In essence, your child’s entire lifestyle can change overnight when they enter into a toxic relationship.
How do I tell my son about his toxic relationship?
It’s easy to have blinders on when you’re in love. If your son believes their partner is “the one”, you need to find a way to carefully approach the conversation.
When you start the talk, make an effort to avoid bashing their partner. Instead, ask your child about how they’re doing and how their relationship is. As you talk, point out the changes you’ve seen in their behavior.
Additionally, now is the time to point out tell-tale aspects of unhealthy relationships. Show them that a toxic partner exhibits signs of jealousy, insecurity, neediness, and anger. In their effort to control their partner, they may lie, gaslight, place blame, or abuse them.
In many toxic relationships, the abuse isn’t physical. Helping your child piece the clues together will allow them to see the truth for themselves.
What do I do if my son doesn’t listen to me about his relationship?
It isn’t likely that your child will see the signs right away. While it hurts as a parent to watch your child experience a painful relationship, you can’t force them to end things.
Instead of trying to get your child to see things your way, have patience. Be your child’s sounding board as they experience the ups and downs of the relationship. Be there to give a listening ear when they need it. Don’t try to force them to see your side of things.
Knowing that you’re there to love them and support them is important. As this toxic relationship wears on them, they’ll need you more than ever to help them stay grounded.
Should I force my son to stop seeing his partner?
Unless your son is living under your roof, you don’t really have a say in who he sees. If you’re raising a teenager, you can set boundaries. While you can’t prevent him from seeing his partner, you can restrict how and when they see each other.
If your son is closer to adulthood, you’ll have even less say in who they should and shouldn’t see. If the relationship is truly toxic, it’s important that you share your concerns with your son. If you’re sure his partner is abusive, call them out.
Highlight the patterns of abuse and tell your son you’re concerned for his safety. While he may not want to hear it, he will listen. Eventually, he may believe it himself and end things.
How can I teach my son about positive relationships?
We all want our children to have healthy relationships. While we cannot handpick our child’s partner, we can steer them in the direction of healthier people.
Emulate what positive relationships look like in your own relationships. Emphasize communicating effectively, being honest, and true partnership.
Love isn’t easy. As your child goes through the ups and downs of romance, make sure you’re their sounding board through it all.