Meeting the person your child is dating can be a lot. That’s true for everyone involved. Parents have to especially make sure they’re balancing their own expectations with the reality of the person their child has chosen.
These 17 parents shared how they feel when their kids bring home someone new, and the answers are pretty fascinating.
1. Next-level parenting
Mom of a 13-year-old. He told me got a girlfriend and I didn’t know how I felt about it. At first, I’m like, “cool, he feels comfortable he can tell me things.” And then I’m like, “why do I feel uncomfortable about this whole thing?”
It’s like the next level parenting and I’m not ready for it. I met her and she’s super nice, very shy, and very awkward…so a normal teenager? My kiddo just told me this past weekend she broke up with him and he took it in stride.
He said it was expected since she’s a year older and in high school now (and even when he goes to high school, won’t be the same high school she’s at). I told him it’s ok. That stuff happens.
And still don’t know how I feel about the breakup. Personally, I’m not ready for raising teenagers.
I feel like I got forced onto a roller coaster and they didn’t put on the safety straps and I’m just holding on for dear life.
2. She still hangs with one of them.
My son’s first girlfriend is one of my favorite people ever. She and I still spend time together sometimes (like I took her to the movies) even though they broke up.
I tried to give my daughter’s first boyfriend as much consideration, but he kept doing dumb ass stuff that put her in the traditional “caring for the bad boy” role.
I finally told her what I don’t like about him and asked her how she would feel about him if she were the mom in the situation.
To my daughter’s credit, she was able to look at the situation objectively and then broke up with him.
3. So far, so good.
My daughter is currently in a relationship with her first-ever boyfriend.
He reminds me a lot of myself when I was a kid so I’m taking that as a win. He’s a good kid.
4. She only disliked one.
I’ve been pretty lucky because my kids have picked some good ones over the years. The only girl I didn’t like is the one who appeared to have no personality. She rarely spoke up, hardly ate anything, and didn’t seem to have an opinion on anything.
My son was about 15-16 when he dated her briefly and now as a grown man, he admits she had no personality. She was always an “I don’t care, whatever you want to do is fine” kind of person.
My youngest son had a girlfriend where their dorky thing was squawking like pterodactyls. And they both insisted on wearing mismatched socks.
My oldest never dated much in high school, but now as a 25-year-old man, he is in love, engaged, and they are expecting a baby. He comes into the house and just hugs her, it’s like a whole-body hug.
He lays his head on her shoulder and she just holds him and runs her fingers through his hair as he smiles. It’s so sweet. She’s considerate of his feelings, adores him, and gets him in all his geekiness.
5. They’re all in.
I love it! I’ve never disliked any one of them. Why? Because they’re into my kid so much that they are willing to endure coming over for a home-cooked meal to meet me.
That takes balls these days.
Why? Because I ended up telling one girl that if she ever broke my son’s heart, I would break her legs. She broke his heart. Twice. She’s still walking. I’m all bark and no bite.
6. They let the dog decide.
We have an unusual method – We let the dog decide. Seriously.
We have two small dogs, a boy, and a girl. Our kids are of the age where they have a lot of friends over including boyfriends/girlfriends.
A lot of these are new friends are ones we are meeting for the first as the kids are entering into different groups/teams/social circles. The girl pup insists on being the center of attention and greets every visitor with unabandoned glee – jumping, licking, tail wagging – you get it.
On rare occasions, we noticed her behavior with a new visitor would be drastically different: after a brief initial greeting, she will back up a few feet, appear hyper-alert, and bark continuously in a much higher tone like a high, panicky shrill.
She avoids all contact with this person. We used to shrug/laugh off these interactions off as a “one-off” but when she reacted the same way over and over with the same few visitors, we started to take notice.
Over time, every one of those friend visitors turned out to not be “friend worthy” by our kids in one way or another within a few months.
So now, we don’t worry about it. Maybe we’ve got a bad case of correlation bias but for now, we let the dog decide and she’s never been wrong.
7. They have to start with dinner.
We have a rule that if they want to date someone, they need to bring them to dinner. In the past this has ended budding relationships because they realized they didn’t feel comfortable having them home to meet us.
Perhaps they were too rebellious or rude of a kid and that alone was enough to end the relationship without my having to have a talk with my kid.
When they’re here, I don’t care about their personalities, awkward vs charismatic or needy vs athletic. I want to see them try to engage with us because they know it’s important to my kid.
If they’re trying, and even failing, that’s ok. Just let me see you want to be polite and friendly. If they come in and are rude to the siblings, see that everyone clears their plates but they don’t want to, try to be dominant when it really isn’t needed…. That’s not a good sign.
You can be awkward and shy AF and I’ll love you as long as you try your best. If you’re not willing to try to be kind and thoughtful to our family (just sit there and eat and answer school questions) then maybe you’re not ready for a relationship.
I’m a little judgy because I was raising my sister and her people picker can be very broken. She needs a little guidance.
8. Liking football is a plus.
If he’s respectful, treats her with dignity and respect, and says “yes ma’am” to my wife, that’s all I can ask for. He and I can shoot the breeze all we want.
Also, it helps if he likes football–just not the Patriots or Cowboys.
9. Only two things matter.
2 factors are most important to me: 1. How they treat my sons, are they encouraging and kind or do they criticize and demean?
2. Do they engage with the family? Participate in conversation, or stay on their phone in the corner?
We’ve had our boys bring home both kinds of girls, and these guidelines have proved their worth.
10. His happiness matters.
If she made my son happy and was polite to me and my husband, then I liked her.
It never mattered if I truly liked her or not, his happiness was always more important than our opinion.
Our son is married now. She makes him happy and after five years of marriage and one baby, he’s still totally in love, which makes me like her.
11. They can overlook a lot.
Are they respectful of me and my wife? Does he/she follow the rules I set in my house or curfew for my daughter?
Do they have a plan with what they want to do with their lives? Does he make my daughter happy/a better version of herself?
I can overlook a lot, but those are the big ones.
12. Limit snap judgments.
I try to keep my snap judgments to a minimum and trust my instincts. I know it probably sounds a bit sexist, but it’s more difficult with my 23 y/o daughter than my 20 y/o son.
She tends to make more impulsive decisions than he does. (Like her mother. Lol) All that matters is if they make my kids happy & don’t create unnecessary problems for them.
Their career choices, style, net-worth, and family history are less consequential if they’re making my son and daughter happy.
13. They’ll try their best.
My eldest daughter is 14 and we are about to go down this road… I don’t feel the need to show the boy my gun collection or hunting trophies or anything like that, rather I will talk to him like the fine, upstanding young gentleman that she has assured me he is and pass judgment based on his treatment of her.
She on the other hand will have permission to use any defense necessary if the situation should arise and know that I’ve got her back no matter what.
14. She gets to decide.
Single dad of a sixteen-year-old here. She’s had two boyfriends that she’s brought home so far.
The first was stressful because I didn’t care for him on a few different levels. Got the impression that she was with him because he paid attention to her during a period when she was struggling socially.
Beyond that his home life was awful, and it was reflected in his social interactions. Plus the horrible hygiene.
The second has been pleasant to be around, and it makes me happy to see them together.
Ultimately she’ll decide who she wants to be with, and I’ll reserve (vocal) judgment for if/when she asks.
15. It’s in the hello.
When my son brings girls home I usually judge whether I like them or not on how they greet me, most of them just glance at me and give a hurried hello before slipping away.
The ones who are actually considerate I take a liking to.
16. Trust yourselves.
We raised our children well and they turned out well.
We trust their judgment so we expect their girl/boyfriends to be good. We also appreciate that we are meeting someone who cares for our child.
We like people who care about our children!
17. It reflects your own relationship.
I’ve always thought that the way a parent treats their child’s significant other is a reflection of their relationship with their child. I had a girlfriend who I genuinely treated like gold but her dad absolutely despised me, and as a 16-year-old kid I couldn’t deal with it and had to get out.
The thing was, she and her dad had a really broken relationship and he sort of projected those feelings onto me. It took me a little to get some confidence back, but I’ve gotten along super well with my girlfriend’s parents ever since then.
Moral of my story, if you know you’re treating your partner well, don’t blame yourself if their parents treat you poorly. Oftentimes there’s some underlying thing that doesn’t even involve you that leads to it.
There is a ton of amazing advice in there! Which part is your favorite?
Let us know in the comments!