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5 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Rid of Your Daughter’s Dreadful Boyfriend

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Please note: this is a tongue in cheek post looking at all the things the Tylers did wrong when dealing with their daughter’s ‘unsuitable’ boyfriend and how it backfired…

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Rid of Your Daughter’s Dreadful Boyfriend

Todd Corbett & Leah TylerIn Leah’s Wake tells the story of a family in collapse. Sixteen-year-old Leah, a star soccer player, has led a perfect life. When she meets a sexy older guy, attracted to his independence, she begins to spread her wings. Drinking, ignoring curfew, dabbling in drugs-all this feels like freedom to her. Her terrified parents, afraid they’re losing their daughter, pull the reins tighter, pushing when they ought to be pulling, and communication breaks down. Soon there’s no turning back. Twelve-year-old Justine, caught between the parents she loves and the big sister she adores, finds herself in the fight of her life, trying desperately to pull her family together.

Your daughter is nothing like Leah, of course. A lovely young woman, she respects you – and herself – far too much to ever date a bad guy, never mind a boy you detest. Here, on the off chance that she does, are five things, inspired by Zoe and Will, that you can do to ensure that your beloved daughter does not follow in Leah’s wake.

1) The first time you lay eyes on the awful boyfriend, be rude and dismissive. He’s a jerk. You can tell by the way he dresses; you see it in his eyes; you’ve heard rumors. You have great instincts. So go with your gut. Let him – and your daughter – know that nothing he does or says will ever change the way you feel. You can’t stand him. Period. If your daughter argues or cries, even though it breaks your heart, try to ignore her. She’s a teenager, a slave to her hormones, incapable of making a decent decision. Once they realize you’re serious, they’ll end the relationship. And she’ll find a guy who deserves her.

2) If, God forbid, he sticks around, criticize him at every possible turn. Make pointed remarks about his family, his friends, his clothes, the way he walks or talks or combs his hair. Be relentless. The goal is to get under his skin. If he resents you enough, sooner or later he’ll resent your daughter too. Sure, it will hurt when he dumps her, but you’ll be there to pick her up, comfort her. It’s in those dark times, when we’re down, that we appreciate the people who love us, the importance of family. When it’s over and she’s dating again, she’ll see the light, realize what a horrible boyfriend he was, and she’ll thank you.

3) Make her feel guilty. If you’re Italian or hail from some other guilt-inducing culture, you can stop reading. You’re a master at guilt-tripping already. The rest of you: let your daughter know how hurt and disappointed you are. Cry, whine, pray aloud, lie in bed with your shades drawn. It’s not only you she’s disappointed, either. Your entire clan, dead or alive, is disappointed in her. Dear God. A grandparent or favorite aunt or uncle must be rolling over in his or her grave. In fact, the entire town is talking about her. Everyone thought she was better, smarter, kinder, or more mature than she’s proven to be. If, in a guilt-induced depression, she hurts herself – well, you meant well anyway.

4) You’ve tried. You’ve truly tried. Now drag out the big guns: with a look of pure disgust, let your daughter know, in no uncertain terms, she’s chosen a loser. Translation: she’s a loser. Compare her to the ‘good daughter,’ a sister or cousin, the child of a friend, any girl who dates (in your humble opinion) a half-decent guy. Make these comparisons often – daily if necessary – until they sink in. Stop at nothing. Resort to cruelty, if you must, insults or name-calling. However tempted you are to loosen up, hang tough. She’s your daughter. You love her. You’re doing this for her good. It hurts you more than it could ever hurt her. Under your disapproving eye, her resolve will evaporate. She’ll do anything to return to your good graces – even if it means cutting loose the detestable boyfriend. If she falls into a depression, see number 3. You tried.

5) Sorry, friend, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands. Grit your teeth: time for drastic measures. Give your daughter an ultimatum. This is your house. As long as she’s living under your roof, she will obey your rules. Cut the kid loose or get out. Those are her choices. If she cries or makes excuses or threatens to leave, ignore her. Do not, under any circumstances, deviate from the plan. You must go through with this. It’s your last hope. If threats don’t work, nothing will. Dig deep. Make a list of boyfriend’s character flaws and refer to it often. Remind yourself: you are the parent. You are in charge. Repeat if you have to. Make it a mantra. I am the parent. I am in charge.

Be warned: while these strategies work with some teens, they backfire with others. You may find that, rather than pushing boyfriend out of your life, you push your daughter away. For an idea of how that can play out, please read In Leah’s Wake.


Please note, the views of the post author - and indeed anyone who guest posts on The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively - are not necessarily indicative of the views of Terri Giuliano Long and comments are moderated to filter spam/profanity only.

"Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion."

Terri Giuliano Long

Terri Giuliano Long, a frequent guest blogger, with appearances on hundreds of blogs, is a contributing writer for IndieReader and also wrote for Her Circle eZine. She lives with her family on the East Coast. Her debut novel, In Leah’s Wake, winner of the Global eBook Award, Popular Fiction, and Indie Discovery Award, Literary Fiction, has sold over 120,000 copies worldwide.

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  1. Isn't it sad that so many people think this is actually the way they should react when a child makes choices they disapprove of? Criticism and harsh judgement never work the way we hope they will. Love is always the answer!

    • Hi Veronica – that's so true! In the book, Leah's parents make so much mistakes – it's their gut reaction to her 'bad boy' boyfriend. In the end, if they'd take the time to listen and connect with Leah, so many of these mistakes could have been avoided!

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

    • Love is NOT the answer.
      Teenagers are sneaky, deceitful and self righteous.
      My own daughter is stuck on a guy who is obsessive and possessive and there is nothing I can say or do to convince her that he’s no good for her.
      I’ve had to put my foot down and tell her that if she wants to throw her life away she can wait until she’s 18 and legally old enough to make her own decisions.
      Her father and I tried the love and understanding bit when he walked out but she went running when he called.
      Perhaps the solution is to teach your daughters early on that dating before you’re 18 is a stupid idea.

  2. Julia

    This is terrible advice, sure to backfire.

    • Hi Julia – isn't it just?! I know it's a little mean to 'poke fun' at my characters, but even as I wrote the mistakes they made I cringed. I wanted to write this piece to show how one wrong step can escalate into five wrong steps! As Veronica commented: 'Love is always the answer!'

      Thank you so much for visiting!

  3. Hi really enjoyed reading your blog

    It has had me smiling for at least the last half an hour. So for that I am very greatful. One of the best things I have read for ages.

    Thanks again lee

  4. I'd suggest letting the scenario play out rather than forcing the hand. I don't need to judge for my kids. Give them time to judge for themselves.

  5. Quote- “So go with your gut. Let him – and your daughter – know that nothing he does or says will ever change the way you feel. You can\’t stand him. Period. If your daughter argues or cries, even though it breaks your heart, try to ignore her. She\’s a teenager, a slave to her hormones, incapable of making a decent decision.”

    Sorry Terri, but reading these lines it seems that teenagers are slave to their harmones and so are elders. We also have decided that we hate someone and we are not willing to give anymore chances to others.

    Although I agree that sometimes it becomes difficult to accept something our kids have decided (however unsure they are) and we want them to do what we have decided for them. Its a natural human tendency and parents possesiveness and ego towards their kids that they are elder and more smarter.

    In the end its a never ending fight between teenage harmones vs parents harmones.
    Anyways interesting post.. enjoyed reading!!

  6. motherwithteens

    As a mother of four, I enjoyed reading this book. There needs to be more resources out there that compassionately examine the perspective of parents that are struggling to provide a good home and foundation for their adolescent children.We struggle with so many different factors facing our teens approaching adulthood and have fewer examples that demonstrate maturity, love, and responsibility ,due to the pervasive me first attitude found within our culture. Providing an open dialogue with love and attempts to understand and compromise where compromise is needed does not adequately address teens with misunderstood interpretations of independence equating selfish disregard for others, when they are constantly bombarded with the self centered idealism found within today’s society. At what point does an individual become responsible for the choices they make that affect those around them so negatively, and how do we teach teens to balance independence with compassion for others? If bad decisions are meet with thwarted attempts to understand our children, what are we suppose to do other than search, wait…. and hope? The idea that handling such a situation differently,through the tolerance, understanding and patience as suggested,does not always prevent devastating outcomes that leave parents carrying huge burdens of regret and guilt. Parents need to support one another; the blame game only further alienates parents and the resultant emotional isolation further jeopardizes the chances of finding healthy resolutions.

    • Rosemary

      Thank you for you comments. Although I did find humor in the blog post, I too worry about what is the right way to handle things with my 15 year old daughter.
      We are going through a rough time and I have done some of the things mentioned and now I’m worried that I have lost my daughter’s love. But we did what we thought was right to protect our daughter. Is there any way now to remedy the situation when ot backfires.

  7. sunlet4u

    Thus is bad advice. This will make them even closer. You are given them something to bond their relationship, the hatred for you.

  8. lilly93

    Please make it clearer that this is a joke, don't you know there are parents out there that might follow this advice?

  9. Adelaine

    Interesting blog. There is no right or wrong solutions when a parent is faced with this problem. I personally chose to be supportive and loving, but got slammed in the face.
    Now my daughter is stuck with a manipulative cheating bastard and has 22 children by him. And guess who had to pay the birthing bills? Anyway, I do not have the pleasure of seeing my daughter or grandchildren because he has twisted her mind terribly.
    I finally realized I was being abused and chose not to drink their ‘Kool-aide’ anymore. I told my daughter and him they do not have my blessings for marriage and I refuse to be an opponent in a game of ‘Emotional Chess’. I further explained this is for the benefit of my grandchildren and myself.

    Sure it is painful. I miss her everyday, but she must see for herself what kind of jerk she is with and it is happening very quickly. I can only hope in time she will understand. I told him to use care in the tears that he creates on my daughter’s face as he may be wiping tears from his own daughter’s faces one day. I am a heavy believer in karma.

    • Adelaine

      * Correction My daughter has 2 children.

  10. yvonne jimenez

    My heart is so broken , My oldest daughter has met a 22 year old loser, she seems to be blind with this guy .My daughter has her own apartment in a high end building ,works and doing very well for her self , she had very small credit card bills until she met this guy now she is over her head, she tells me they want to get married I JUST FELL TO MY KNEES IN TEARS, We know nothing about this person , comes from down south to live with an aunt.that is all I KNOW ,HE HAS NOTHING TO BRING INTO THIS RELATIONSHIP MY DAUGHTER PAYS FOR EVERYTHING he is the biggest leach I HAVE EVER SEEN ,my daughter does not hear a word that I AM SAYING ,DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM GOING TO DO I AM VERY BROKEN AND SCARED FOR HER .CAN SOME ONE GIVE ME SOME ADVISE ON HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    • Jeff

      I know exactly how you feel. Our 17 yr old daughter has become infatuated with a 20yroldmloser leech. She nearly didnt graduate high school and now refuses to go to the college she was accepted at and which is only 40 miles away because she cant stand to be away from him. The guy has no job, no car or license, no money and lives with his grandma. But the more we try to point out the issues, the more she goes to him. My wife and i are coming to the realization that we probably need to do the exact opposite of all five of those suggestions above. We are so afraid though.

  11. I know exactly how Yvonne & Jeff above feel. My 18-yr-old daughter got engaged to her first boyfriend 1 week after graduating from high school. He is 21, works at a sandwich shop, and knew I didn’t want him to propose but he did it anyway. He’s a narcissist. I tell my friends that my daughter thinks he’s wonderful and he thinks he is too LOL! I’m so worried for her. He controls her so much already. Treats her like she’s so dumb about life, then puts her right back up on a pedestal. She’s absolutely beautiful and so talented vocally & theatrically. Because of him. she isn’t going to the private Christian university that she was so excited about being accepted to a year ago…where she and her best friend were going together. I am so angry that he’s inserted himself into her life and that I’m powerless to really do anything about it to save her from him.

    • Cheryl, Your story sounds so much like mine. My husband Jeff & I have an 18 year old daughter who is so talented in art, singing, playing the guitar & so on. She met her “finacee'” at church. We thought he was a great Christian guy. They dated for a year & he ask us for permission to marry her when she turned 18. We said yes, but that it was her senior year in HS & we knew she would be starting college in the fall. She received a full tuition scholarship to a college 40 minutes from home & is loving it, majoring in graphic design. She’s 18 & a freshman in college, He is 21 & just graduated college in April of this year with a psychology degree. Was working at chik fil a but quit his job in june & has still not gotten a job yet. We told him when he ask us for permission that we wanted her to be at least 2 years into college before they married & would love it if she were finished before they married but will settle for 2 years. But he has disrespected us in so many ways since then., He wants them to marry in May after she finishes her freshman year. He thinks that since she is 18 she should be able to do whatever she wants & when she wants even though she still lives at home. He says we are too controlling. but anyone that knows us knows we are not. He wants to be in total control of her life. He sent her an email July 26, 2013 telling her she has 3 choices: 1) she make a complete 100% turn around, 2) she leave her parents/family & hometown to be with him & never have contact again with any of us OR 3) they break up & she give the ring back. She left her email up accidentally & when I got on the laptop, there was the email for me to read. I felt like a knife had stabbed me. Shocked!!!! When we confronted him with it, he wanted to talk to my husband only. He insenuated to him that I had caused some problems in their relationship, & also told my husband/her father things that she had confided & trusted in him alone with–one being that she had lost her virginity at the age of 15. My daughter cannot see that he is trying to drive a wedge between us. We can tell by his actions that he does NOT like us at all. I am so torn!!!

      • Amanda Sheridan

        Sounds like he’s a nut. I hope for her sake you can make her realize she deserves someone better.

      • Cheryl

        Pam, I wish we could talk since we have this situation with our daughters in common. Mine has gone from bad to worse. If you’re on Facebook, please send me a friend request with a note referencing this blog. My FB is Cheryl Elaine Branch. Thanks. I hope things are going better for you.

  12. Do you dislike the person your child is dating? Would you like to prove once and for all that parents know best? VPEtalent is seeking concerned and dynamic parents who think their teen or 20something is dating the wrong person for a new docu-reality show for MTV’s international channels. Contact amy.frank@vpetalent.com with your story to apply.

  13. I have also been told that he confided in a friend of his that he was giving our daughter a few weeks to change things or he was breaking it off with her & was going to be with the girl he really loves. But I can’t tell her this without proof & without him making me look like I am just causing trouble. She has NEVER disrespected her Dad & I NOR does she ever get mad at us for any decisions we make. He is not in our eyes acting very Christian like to do her like this & give her these type choices.

  14. Julie

    It’s amazing how totally stupid young teenager daughters can be. No matter how I try to word something so it seems as though I am not attacking her boyfriend, she takes it that way anyway. Apparently, his anger issues don’t bother her and well, I guess it will take her having to get beat up or embarrassed enough to do something about it. I always thought she had the courage to stand up for herself, but I guess not. I know when she turns 18 she will be dumb enough to want to live with him and I will be strong enough to say “go right ahead”. You won’t be getting any money from us. So, have fun on welfare or working at Burger King to support your immature rage filled boyfriend, because quite frankly I’m tired of you acting like everything I say is to harm you somehow. Get over yourself and the fact that you think you know everything. I love you with all my heart but I’m tired of living with someone that doesn’t seem to care about herself and just wants to consume as much pot as possible. Have fun with a drug record too while your at it. It will hurt my heart to know you might wind up in jail or have a criminal record but it’s your choice(s) that will lead you there. AND if you get knocked up don’t ask me for help, monetarily or otherwise.

    I have detached myself from her period and emotionally for my own sake am counting the days until she’s out of my house. Hoping that maybe by the time she’s 40 or so she will at least have a trailer to live in and maybe a jerry springer episode.. God help her..

  15. Amanda Sheridan

    I’m shocked so many people disagree with the author. This is the problem with children today…. Parents try to be their friend instead of being their parent. By letting the child know that mom and dad are not comfortable with his or her choice is a good thing. It’s called communication. It’s like holding their hand when crossing the street or teaching them to look both ways. Parents have to know where and with whom their children are at all times.
    Just my humble opinion. :)

  16. Michael Castro

    I have to say that before reading this I actually did some of the things recommended and a little extra and it WORKED… The last thing I said to my daughter was that either she ditched the guy or she could leave the house and I meant it. The guy is gone.

  17. Dawn

    I totally disagree with the author. It’s easy to become angry and behave in that way… To my cost I have found this out. When my daughter was 15 she met an 19 year old skateboarder. We could not get her away from him then, his family just sucked her in because they were losers too living off benefits and stealing our beautiful little intelligent and shiny star. She ran away from home and was given a flat by the state for free…. And his family chucked him out and she took him in! Then the ultimate thing happened…she became pregnant. So now she is 19, he has not worked a day in 4 years and still uses a skateboard as transport at 24. He is now going to affect my grand daughters life too! So she finally chucked him out, only he didn’t quite go, did he. So I though I would take him to one side and tell him what a loser he is and what a freeloader he was and I was standing for any of it any more. Any decent guy would see that he was no good and take a hike, but he didn’t, he just told my daughter how mean I was and of course….. It pushed them back together! The above advice therefore from the author is not good. I think it is enough to silently dislike him and keep your distance. And hope that one day your daughter will work him out.

  18. Gabrielle

    This will an idiotic, petty, emotional, and irrational way to react to your daughter’s choice. A teenager defines themselves through their choices and if you ridicule and so blatantly loathe this choice which she has made it will feel as if you are ridiculing and loathing her. This type of guilt tripping could either cause your teen to hate herself if she still has a desire to impress you or to have self respect and dismiss you from her life and choices completely. A parent is a guiding voice and you cannot be that if she chooses to mute you permanently

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