How To Tell If Your Daughter's Boyfriend Is Bad News

Did your parents ever dislike your boyfriends when you were younger? I don't know about anyone else, but my sister used to date guys my parents didn't like just to annoy them. I wasn't trying to bother them, but sometimes I dated guys my parents didn't like. Sometimes it was just a matter of, 'no one's good enough for my little girl', but sometimes the guy truly was a creep. As much as we didn't want to admit it, our parents were usually right about the guy. But how do you handle things when you are on the other side of the equation-when you are the mom and your daughter is dating someone you don't like? How do you know that it's not just your 'mother's intuition' overreacting, that the guy your daughter is dating really is bad news? Here are a few warning signs that your daughter is in a bad relationship.

  • Is her boyfriend overly controlling? Does he have to know where she is and who she's with at all times? It's one thing to be concerned if something major happens, but another thing altogether to treat her like a child who needs constant direction.
  • Does he try to isolate her from her friends or family? He might feel the need to be with her every second of the day so that she doesn't have any time or energy for anyone else. Just because she still lives at home doesn't mean she's not withdrawn or pulling away emotionally. It's also not uncommon for an abusive boyfriend to push everyone else in her life away-either directly or indirectly-so he can have more control over her.
  • Has she dropped out of activities she once enjoyed or begun to behave in uncharacteristic ways?
    If she's started to do things like skip school, mouth off to you or otherwise get in trouble when she used to be an obedient child, that could be a sign of something wrong.
  • Does she always seem to be upset, frustrated or hurt? Do you hear her arguing with him a lot over the phone or in person? When they have a really bad argument, does he tend to follow up with a lot of sweet gestures of affection? It's not uncommon for abusive boyfriends to turn on the charm after a really bad fight so that she'll take him back and the cycle can start all over again.
  • Does she seem afraid of him in any way? Is she uncharacteristically nervous or timid around him?
  • When they do have problems, does she seem to always blame herself? Abusive boyfriends have a way of making their girlfriends feel as though they 'deserve' or 'brought on' what they're getting.

Hopefully you'll never see them, but these are only a few of the 'warning signs' of a bad boyfriend. In a future post, I will give you some tips about how to help your daughter if she is indeed in a bad relationship.


  1. Lol, all those warning signs have got my ex-husband narrowed down to the t. Because I know all the tell-tale signs of a controlling man, I'm already on the look out, even though my daughter has still got two more years before she is allowed to date.

  2. I'd just like to point out that girls can be overly controlling and verbally abusive too. And wendy, I have the same experience with an ex...I'm glad he's out of my life because I don't want my kids to see that and think that sort of thing is normal. They're smart kids, but I'd rather them not have to deal with what I did!

  3. I wish my mother had given me some good advice in this respect. Looking back now, I know I was in these sort of relationships as an adolescent. I just wish someone had even tried to tell me. Not to say I would've listened, but it would've been nice to at least be told, but no one ever did.