It can really hurt when your daughter prioritizes her boyfriend over her family. Sometimes it can feel like you are the one responsible for this behavior. Sometimes it even feels like you did a poor job raising her. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
It is normal for your daughter to choose her boyfriend over her family. Teens and young adults start to prioritize spending time with friends and partners over their family. This tends to only be temporary as they find their footing in the world.
As children young adults they start to pull away from their parents, this will typically continue into adulthood. Then typically around mid to late 20s adults will rebuild a stronger relationship with their parents.
Just because your daughter chooses her boyfriend over her family does not mean you are doing a poor job as a parent. This is a common misconception among parents. Think back to when you were a teen or young adult. Spending time with your friends or boyfriend was much more enjoyable than spending time with your parents.
Unfortunately at that age, there is a divide between parents and their children. Our children see us as an authority figure and not a friend. Although there is not much you can do to get her to see the value of family, there are things you can do to draw her into building a relationship with the family.
Getting Daughter to Stay Close to Family
Getting your daughter to remain close to family while she has a boyfriend can be tricky. It’s not just her friends that take away from spending time with family, it is also the boyfriend. Here are some things you can do to get your daughter to remain close to family while dating.
Don’t Force It
Yes, you want your daughter to spend time with you and the family but don’t force it. Forcing it will only make it more likely that she will pull away further from her family and more spend more time with her boyfriend. Instead, make suggestions.
In many cases, your daughter will say no to every invitation to spend time with the family. My best advice would be to try to sweeten the deal. Here are a few ways to sweeten the deal to increase the chances that she’ll go out with you.
- Do an activity she enjoys.
- Offer to pay for the activity.
- Invite the boyfriend also.
- Offer other incentives.
You know your daughter pretty well, what are some things that would encourage her to spend time with her family.
At the end of the day, we cannot force our children to choose us over the person they are dating. You may just need to accept the fact that they have other priorities in their life now.
If you feel your daughter is experiencing signs of depression or mental health issues, you may want to consider getting a professional online therapist involved.
Be Less of a Parent and More of a Friend
If you can get your daughter to stop seeing you as an authority figure and more of a friend, there is a better chance she will spend more time with you voluntarily. This is going to be a difficult transaction if she already sees you as just a parent but that can change over time.
When spending time with her, be sure to ask open-ended questions and listen. This is the time to stop being judgmental and just listen to what she has to say. Offer advice only when asked.
Be sure to have a nonjudgmental tone, even if she is discussing something you disagree with. It’s going to take practice for you to start having conversations with her as a friend and not a parent.
Have Her Closest Relative Reach Out
A great way to have your daughter start prioritizing family over other relationships is to have a relative that is close to her reach out.
We all have that one cousin or uncle that we really like. If that person were to reach out, it is much more likely that we would be receptive to them. We are not trying to be manipulative we are just trying to remind her of the good times she had with family.
Don’t enlist that person as a spy. Give your daughter’s favorite relative a call. Remind them of the relationship they used to have and encourage them to reach out. Here’s an example of how that conversation should go.
“Hey (favorite relative), how are you? I was just thinking about the times you and (daughter) used to run up and down the street playing tag. You should give her a call, I know she’d love to hear from you.”
Talk to Friends
This is the trickiest but best way to get your daughter to start spending time with family. It can be common for this to backfire so approach this strategy with caution. We don’t want your daughter to think you are spying on her.
Simply reach out to her friends and ask for insight on how to better get your daughter to spend time with family. Remember, your daughter’s friends will tell her everything you said to them so choose your words carefully.
Reach Out to Other Mothers
I can guarantee you that you are not the only parent going through this. Millions of parents all around the country are seeing their daughters choose boyfriends and friends over their family.
Reach out to other mothers that have been through what you are going through. Ask them what course of action did they take and what were the results. Especially if you can talk to parents that are friends with your daughter that would be ideal because your daughter’s personality will closely match the personality of her closest friends.
Just like talking to her friends, this is not an attempt to spy on your daughter through her friends’ mothers. Rather this is an attempt to lean on others that are likely in a situation that is quite similar to yours.
Here are some common questions parents have when their daughter chooses their boyfriend over family.
When will my daughter start choosing family over her boyfriend again?
In most cases, the family will never be your daughter’s number one again. Eventually, she will get married and her new family will be her priority. It can be difficult for parents to accept this but in reality, the days of your daughter putting family first are over.
Typically women in their late 20s will spend more time with their parents and strengthen that relationship but chances are she will never again choose family over their boyfriend, husband, or future children.
Why would my daughter choose her boyfriend over family?
As I mentioned before, as women get older, they start prioritizing friendships and romantic relationships over their family. This means spending less time with family, moving out, and neglecting them altogether.
This is not something you should take personally, rather this can be expected. The better the relationship you have with your daughter when she is younger the less she will pull away into adulthood. The good news is, in most cases, women will come back and form a better relationship with their parents as they approach their 30s.
What should I do about my daughter’s boyfriend turning her against our family?
If your daughter’s boyfriend is turning her against the family, this can be a difficult situation. Your best course of action is to let their relationship run its course. Statistically, their relationship will not stand the test of time.
Anything you do to push back will likely push your daughter further and further away from you. After their relationship is over, that would be the best time to reach out and fix your relationship with your daughter.
What if I don’t like my daughter’s boyfriend?
Not liking your daughter’s boyfriend is a common theme among parents. We love our children and want the best for them. In most cases, we think no one is good enough for our children and will tend to dislike the people they are dating simply because we think they are not good enough.
Let the relationship run its course. Any interference will likely cause your daughter to start resenting you more and more. Do not share your feeling about the person she is dating unless asked or after the breakup.
Unless there are any signs of physical or sexual abuse, you should let their relationship come to its natural end. If you do suspect physical, sexual, or mental abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support.
It can be difficult not to get angry when you feel like your daughter’s boyfriend is pulling her away from the family. The issue is the more you push her to spend time with family, the more she is likely to pull away.
Use the steps above to keep her as close as possible to family but at the end of the day you are going to have to let the relationship run its course.