You can accept that you might not always like your teen’s romantic choice. What do you do however, when you actually believe your teen’s new love is toxic? This is indeed a difficult dilemma. Your teen maybe blinded by love but you see things quite clearly, and quite frankly, what you see frightens you.
What can you do or say to prevent the peril you foresee for your teen? You know that if you insist or even demand that your teen ends the romance that you run the risk of your teen refusing, or even worse, taking the relationship underground. You cannot however condone a relationship which you feel is concerning or possibly dangerous.
Here are some hints on how to handle this harrowing situation:
1.) Collect the intel. Before you talk with your teen about your concerns make sure you have the correct information. Don’t simply rely on rumors from one or two sources. You may have to do some detective work to get the facts. Talk to parents and teachers. Look up your teen’s main squeeze on the internet. You can’t imagine the type of information you can gather with just a few clicks on your mouse and taps on your keyboard.
2.) Both parents must present as a unified front. Before you sit down with your teen it is important that both parents are on the same page regarding the situation. This is no time for ‘bad cop good cop.’ Discuss your concerns as well as solutions.
3.) Don’t expect your teen to agree with you. No matter how calmly you present your concerns it is likely that your teen will not appreciate what you have to say about his significant other. Your teen is likely to take this as a personal affront.
4.) Offer ultimatums. Now is not the time to worry that your teen does not like what you have to say. Make your concerns clear. Calmly present the supporting information you have gathered. Clarify specific consequences your teen will face if she continues to see this unsavory character.
5.) Your actions speak louder than words. Let your teen know you will be checking up to make sure that the relationship has ended. Follow-thru with your intent.
6.) Involve the authorities when warranted. If you believe this relationship puts your teen in true peril, don’t hesitate to take strong preventative measures. If for example, your teen’s partner is an adult (over the age of age 18) you have a lot of leverage. If your teen is involved with a criminal, make it clear that your teen could be charged as an accessory if she is present when a crime is committed. For example, if your teen’s partner is found carrying drugs your teen can also be charged.
7.) If your teen’s partner refuses to call it quits, take protective measures. Let the police know and don’t hesitate to take out an order of protection especially if he has a history of violence.
8.) Your intervention may bring much needed relief to your teen. Sometimes it is not so easy for a teen to disentangle himself from a negative or even harmful relationship. Your teen may be grateful that you stepped in.
9.) You can only do what you can do. You can not keep your teen locked in a tower. Unfortunately, there is a limit to what you can do to ensure that the romance doesn’t turn reckless. If you find out that your teen continues the relationship despite your demands, institute firm consequences.
10.) Your opinion matters. Your teen looks to you for support, guidance, and protection. Your teen may not like your interference in her romantic relationships but at some point she will hopefully realize your goal was to her from harms way.
There is nothing sweeter than a teen romance; emotions run deep and expectations high. If however, your teen is literally flirting with danger and she is thinking with her heart not her head, don’t hesitate to take action. After all, a broken heart heals eventually, but a reckless romance can end in disaster and devastation.