Getting to know the person your teen is dating can be a minefield. This is especially complicated if your son isn’t dating the best person.
While you can clearly see that your son is in a toxic relationship, he may not even care. If your son’s girlfriend is manipulative, do you confront her? How do you handle it if your son has a problematic partner?
How Do I Address My Son’s Unhealthy Relationship?
Teens that are in their first relationships often don’t recognize signs of toxic behavior. To them, everything their partner does is an act of love. However, as a parent, you can spot the signs from a mile away.
Parents can easily see through their kid’s partners, so much so that we want to make their dating decisions for them. While you can’t make your teen end an unhealthy relationship, you can explain how dangerous this manipulative behavior is.
Explaining Manipulative Behavior to Your Teen
Manipulative behavior isn’t always easy to detect for young teens in love. This type of behavior can be mistaken as intense passion. Though teens even view this behavior as flattery, manipulation is dangerously close to obsession.
Be careful when approaching your son. While it’s important he learns about these manipulative traits, he may not want to believe it. Carefully sit your son down as you explain how his girlfriend’s behavior isn’t healthy.
Manipulative people try to influence other’s decisions. For example, many lie, ignore, gaslight, or put down others to convince them to make a particular decision. While couples make compromises in their relationships, a manipulative partner really only expects everything to go their way.
Be honest with the behavior you’re seeing. Helping him connect the dots between his relationship and the manipulative behavior may help him to see your point of view.
Why Is My Son With a Manipulative Partner?
It’s easier to see relationship problems when you’re on the outside of the relationship. Most parents never understand why their child would willingly be in a relationship with a controlling partner.
While a manipulative and controlling partner is easy to recognize when the relationship is over, your son may be too in love to understand this. Helping your son become confident with himself will help him better recognize others trying to take advantage of him.
Other Red Flags to Watch Out For
As you work on how to approach your son, keep an eye out for other red flags to look for in a relationship. For example, controlling partners are often abusive in other ways. One important red flag is if your son’s girlfriend is trying to distance him from his family. If your son’s girlfriend actively doesn’t like you and starts arguments about your family, this is a red flag.
Likewise, other red flags include signs of abuse. While parents can watch out for physical abuse, emotional abuse isn’t as obvious. Monitor your son’s behavior for signs that his girlfriend is abusing him. See if your son reacts negatively or flinches in his girlfriend’s presence. Likewise, listen out for name-calling, derogatory terms, or excessive yelling.
Taking Action in an Unhealthy Relationship
If your son’s manipulative girlfriend presents an immediate threat to your son, get help now. While talking to your son about your concerns is important, you may have to take it to the next level. If your son is in an abusive relationship, an intervention may be necessary.
This intervention will help your son come to terms with the reality of his relationship. Having the perspectives of others will help him see his girlfriend for who she is.
Even if your son doesn’t end his relationship now, he will have a clearer understanding of toxic behavior. Over time, he will realize that he deserves a healthier relationship. Make sure you’re there to support your teen son through the ups and downs of dating.