My daughter has been seeing a man for 10 months… We have met him twice, he seemed nice. I know “about” him, but would like to get to know him as he is clearly important to my daughter. When I mention dinner or coffee or anything, she puts me off… I respect the fact that she is an adult but why is she choosing to keep us out and how can we get to know him?
Fran Harris’ Advice:
Janice, I’ve helped thousands of parents work through this challenge and hope this quick 3-step gameplan supports you.
Step 1: Get Close
Find an activity that you and your daughter can do that feels very organic and natural for both of you. This can be lunch, shopping, gardening or whatever activity that puts you both at ease. If lunch ain’t your thing, don’t do lunch. If for some reason you don’t live in the same city as your daughter, try a phone call or SKYPE (a free online service that allows you to have a live video chat).
Step 2: Get Personal
Keep the conversation light and let her talk about whatever’s on her mind. It shouldn’t feel like an indictment or a setup. If she senses you’re fishing, you’re dead in the water. So, don’t get too eager.
Step 3: Get Real
The key is to cement your relationship. It’s really not about you getting the information you want. When folks feel safe enough to share, they typically do. However, when you spot that opening in the conversation to ask about the boyfriend, here’s what I recommend you say: “I love you and nothing means more to me than your happiness and safety. So, when it feels right for you, we’d love to get to know your boyfriend better.”It’s essential that you use the phrase “when it feels right for you” because she has to feel that this is happening on her terms. She can’t be pressured or untrusted. She can’t feel that you don’t like him. And unless you have reason to believe that her life is in danger, I truly recommend simply being a loving and patient mother.
Remember, relationships first, information second. Keep your love for her in focus and let it lead all discussions going forward.