How to handle the “bad boy” infatuation

So, your daughter has brought home her new man, and he's yet another bad boy, leaving you to question…

How to handle the “bad boy” infatuation
Foto: Photo by mando2003us via Flickr

So, your daughter has brought home her new man, and he’s yet another bad boy, leaving you to question her taste and judgment in men once again. If you’re wondering if this infatuation is just that, or the beginning of a lifelong trip down a dead-end street, take heart. Chances are it’s only a phase, and she’ll see it for what it is and move beyond it. Most young women eventually do, but unless this pattern of behavior is broken early it can lead to heartache and pain of epic proportions which she might carry with her well into adulthood.

Nix the threats

First off, nix the threats and sermons. This will only make her more determined than ever to continue seeing him, and more undesirables just like him in the future. Very few people, if any, respond well to this tactic. Some children see this as a challenge to their newly emerging freedom, and are more prone than others to question authority. Knowing your daughter well, and not just thinking you do, comes into play here. Sit her down and calmly and rationally explain your concerns, outlining for her where you see this going, and then back off. Give her some room to navigate her own course for a while and see how she does. Just don’t harp on! It will only frustrate you both, and drive a wedge between you with her running straight into her bad boy’s arms.

Reverse psychology

If she’s stubborn and determined some reverse psychology may be in order. Some people actually use their parent’s likes and dislikes as a measuring stick for their own love interests, they may have been 100% for love interest, until they find out their parents are as well, and then it’s over in a flash. Obviously it’s not very mature, but it is what it is and can work. Telling your daughter from the get-go that she’s dating a bad boy could seal the deal for her and leave you feeling like a helpless outsider. Ask yourself if she’s doing this just to spite you, whether she realizes it or not. She may not even be that interested in him, but your displeasure at the situation could be the driving force behind it. If that’s the case, don’t give her the satisfaction of seeing you squirm, and let the relationship run its course.

No more Mr. Nice Guy

While they’re dating, stop interfering by trying to pair her up with somebody you think is Mr. Right, this will only backfire. As far as she’s concerned, she may have already found him. Remember, she may see him as exciting, but she doesn’t see him as a self-defeating bad boy, not just yet anyways. The thrill hasn’t worn off so far, and until it does you’re wasting your time. Even if you’ve managed to stumble across a true gem that you think would be the perfect match for her, again, let her infatuation with Mr. Bad Boy run its course.

Red flags

Discussing the significance of being in tune with red flags in life in general is important. Time and again we’re told to trust our inner voice and to pay heed to it regardless of the subject matter. Reinforce this wisdom, because it’s true, and hopefully she’ll figure it out on her own and see the light. Finally, let her know that no matter what you’ll be there for her, and that she can always come to you about anything and everything. If she does approach you about him then that’s your time to gently speak up and voice your opinions about her bad boy.