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32 Moms and Dads Discuss How They Feel When Their Kids Bring Home New Significant Others

Bringing someone new home to your parents is a nerve-wracking experience for everyone involved. The two people dating are worried about how the parents will see them, and the parents are worried about this new person is with their child.

Several parents have chimed in on a giant Reddit thread to share how they really feel when their kids bring home someone new.

If you’re expecting a lot of awful stories, you might be surprised. There are a lot of level parents out there!

1. They let the dog decide.

We have an unusual method – We let the dog decide. Seriously.

We have two small dogs, a boy, and a girl. Our kids are of the age where they have a lot of friends over including boyfriends/girlfriends.

A lot of these are new friends are ones we are meeting for the first as the kids are entering into different groups/teams/social circles. The girl pup insists on being the center of attention and greets every visitor with unabandoned glee – jumping, licking, tail wagging – you get it.

On rare occasions, we noticed her behavior with a new visitor would be drastically different: after a brief initial greeting, she will back up a few feet, appear hyper-alert, and bark continuously in a much higher tone like a high, panicky shrill.

She avoids all contact with this person. We used to shrug/laugh off these interactions off as a “one-off” but when she reacted the same way over and over with the same few visitors, we started to take notice.

Over time, every one of those friend visitors turned out to not be “friend worthy” by our kids in one way or another within a few months.

So now, we don’t worry about it. Maybe we’ve got a bad case of correlation bias but for now, we let the dog decide and she’s never been wrong.

2. They have to start with dinner.

We have an unusual method – We let the dog decide. Seriously.

We have two small dogs, a boy, and a girl. Our kids are of the age where they have a lot of friends over including boyfriends/girlfriends.

A lot of these are new friends are ones we are meeting for the first as the kids are entering into different groups/teams/social circles. The girl pup insists on being the center of attention and greets every visitor with unabandoned glee – jumping, licking, tail wagging – you get it.

On rare occasions, we noticed her behavior with a new visitor would be drastically different: after a brief initial greeting, she will back up a few feet, appear hyper-alert, and bark continuously in a much higher tone like a high, panicky shrill.

She avoids all contact with this person. We used to shrug/laugh off these interactions off as a “one-off” but when she reacted the same way over and over with the same few visitors, we started to take notice.

Over time, every one of those friend visitors turned out to not be “friend worthy” by our kids in one way or another within a few months.

So now, we don’t worry about it. Maybe we’ve got a bad case of correlation bias but for now, we let the dog decide and she’s never been wrong.

3. Here’s the deal.

If he’s respectful, treats her with dignity and respect, and says “yes ma’am” to my wife, that’s all I can ask for. He and I can shoot the breeze all we want.

Also, it helps if he likes football–just not the Patriots or Cowboys.

4. Only two things matter.

2 factors are most important to me: 1. How they treat my sons, are they encouraging and kind or do they criticize and demean?

2. Do they engage with the family? Participate in conversation, or stay on their phone in the corner?

We’ve had our boys bring home both kinds of girls, and these guidelines have proved their worth.

5. His happiness matters.

If she made my son happy and was polite to me and my husband, then I liked her.

It never mattered if I truly liked her or not, his happiness was always more important than our opinion.

Our son is married now. She makes him happy and after five years of marriage and one baby, he’s still totally in love, which makes me like her.

6. They can overlook a lot.

Are they respectful of me and my wife? Does he/she follow the rules I set in my house or curfew for my daughter?

Do they have a plan with what they want to do with their lives? Does he make my daughter happy/a better version of herself?

I can overlook a lot, but those are the big ones.

7. Limit snap judgments.

I try to keep my snap judgments to a minimum and trust my instincts. I know it probably sounds a bit sexist, but it’s more difficult with my 23 y/o daughter than my 20 y/o son.

She tends to make more impulsive decisions than he does. (Like her mother. Lol) All that matters is if they make my kids happy & don’t create unnecessary problems for them.

Their career choices, style, net-worth, and family history are less consequential if they’re making my son and daughter happy.

8. They’ll try their best.

My eldest daughter is 14 and we are about to go down this road… I don’t feel the need to show the boy my gun collection or hunting trophies or anything like that, rather I will talk to him like the fine, upstanding young gentleman that she has assured me he is and pass judgment based on his treatment of her.

She on the other hand will have permission to use any defense necessary if the situation should arise and know that I’ve got her back no matter what.

9. She gets to decide.

Single dad of a sixteen-year-old here. She’s had two boyfriends that she’s brought home so far.

The first was stressful because I didn’t care for him on a few different levels. Got the impression that she was with him because he paid attention to her during a period when she was struggling socially.

Beyond that his home life was awful, and it was reflected in his social interactions. Plus the horrible hygiene.

The second has been pleasant to be around, and it makes me happy to see them together.

Ultimately she’ll decide who she wants to be with, and I’ll reserve (vocal) judgment for if/when she asks.

10. It’s in the hello.

When my son brings girls home I usually judge whether I like them or not on how they greet me, most of them just glance at me and give a hurried hello before slipping away.

The ones who are actually considerate I take a liking to.

11. Trust yourselves.

We raised our children well and they turned out well.

We trust their judgment so we expect their girl/boyfriends to be good. We also appreciate that we are meeting someone who cares for our child.

We like people who care about our children!

12. It reflects your own relationship.

I’ve always thought that the way a parent treats their child’s significant other is a reflection of their relationship with their child. I had a girlfriend who I genuinely treated like gold but her dad absolutely despised me, and as a 16-year-old kid I couldn’t deal with it and had to get out.

The thing was, she and her dad had a really broken relationship and he sort of projected those feelings onto me. It took me a little to get some confidence back, but I’ve gotten along super well with my girlfriend’s parents ever since then.

Moral of my story, if you know you’re treating your partner well, don’t blame yourself if their parents treat you poorly. Oftentimes there’s some underlying thing that doesn’t even involve you that leads to it.

13. Next-level parenting

Mom of a 13-year-old. He told me got a girlfriend and I didn’t know how I felt about it. At first, I’m like, “cool, he feels comfortable he can tell me things.” And then I’m like, “why do I feel uncomfortable about this whole thing?”

It’s like the next level parenting and I’m not ready for it. I met her and she’s super nice, very shy, and very awkward…so a normal teenager? My kiddo just told me this past weekend she broke up with him and he took it in stride.

He said it was expected since she’s a year older and in high school now (and even when he goes to high school, won’t be the same high school she’s at). I told him it’s ok. That stuff happens.

And still don’t know how I feel about the breakup. Personally, I’m not ready for raising teenagers.

I feel like I got forced onto a roller coaster and they didn’t put on the safety straps and I’m just holding on for dear life.

14. She still hangs with one of them.

My son’s first girlfriend is one of my favorite people ever. She and I still spend time together sometimes (like I took her to the movies) even though they broke up.

I tried to give my daughter’s first boyfriend as much consideration, but he kept doing dumb ass stuff that put her in the traditional “caring for the bad boy” role.

I finally told her what I don’t like about him and asked her how she would feel about him if she were the mom in the situation.

To my daughter’s credit, she was able to look at the situation objectively and then broke up with him.

15. So far, so good.

My daughter is currently in a relationship with her first-ever boyfriend.

He reminds me a lot of myself when I was a kid so I’m taking that as a win. He’s a good kid.

16. She only disliked one.

I’ve been pretty lucky because my kids have picked some good ones over the years. The only girl I didn’t like is the one who appeared to have no personality. She rarely spoke up, hardly ate anything, and didn’t seem to have an opinion on anything.

My son was about 15-16 when he dated her briefly and now as a grown man, he admits she had no personality. She was always an “I don’t care, whatever you want to do is fine” kind of person.

My youngest son had a girlfriend where their dorky thing was squawking like pterodactyls. And they both insisted on wearing mismatched socks.

My oldest never dated much in high school, but now as a 25-year-old man, he is in love, engaged, and they are expecting a baby. He comes into the house and just hugs her, it’s like a whole-body hug.

He lays his head on her shoulder and she just holds him and runs her fingers through his hair as he smiles. It’s so sweet. She’s considerate of his feelings, adores him, and gets him in all his geekiness.

17. They’re all in.

I love it! I’ve never disliked any one of them. Why? Because they’re into my kid so much that they are willing to endure coming over for a home-cooked meal to meet me.

That takes balls these days.

Why? Because I ended up telling one girl that if she ever broke my son’s heart, I would break her legs. She broke his heart. Twice. She’s still walking. I’m all bark and no bite.

18. A disgustingly good parent.

It’s not up to me to like them, it’s up to her. If she does, then I do.

I care that my daughter is:

  1. Safe
  2. Happy
  3. Motivated
  4. Handling her own business.

Apart from that, I’m just enjoying watching her experience things, and hoping she includes me in some of that.

19. Well, if he’s nice…

Met my daughter’s boyfriend the other day. First boyfriend. She’s 17. He’s 18.

must admit I was a bit nervous and I remember very well being 18 and what I was thinking/wanting, but had a word with my self to be welcoming and warm and to treat him as an equal, my daughter’s friend and therefor my friend.

Anyway, he’s a nice young man so it’s all good. But I to answer your question I guess if he’s nice I’ll like him if he’s a dick I won’t.

Either way as far as my daughter is concerned I’ll like him.

20. Try and be cordial.

My daughter(13) wanted me to meet her first “real” boyfriend. I was nice and pleasant, but I knew it wouldn’t last cause he was all looks and no brains.

Of course, as or high relationships go, it was about a 2-month ordeal. I think all parents should try and be cordial unless the person feels like a serial killer or something.

21. Don’t make assumptions.

My mother-in-law assumed I was some sort of player when I first met her before my first date with my wife. Even told my wife that she assumed I went on lots of dates back at school.

Joke’s on her.

I spent the entirety of my freshman year (the year before I met my wife) enjoying the sweet, sweet internet speed of my dorm room and playing the shit out of Halo 3, Mass Effect 1 & 2, picking up drunk dorm-mates from house parties at 3 am, and going on exactly 0 dates.

After years of getting to know my MIL, she just didn’t want her daughter to get into a long-distance relationship, then end up moving out of state with me if we got married and I was still there (which ended up happening. Whoops).

22. When you know, you know.

I have always instinctively known within seconds of meeting them.

I’ve liked all but one of my son’s partners, and the one I didn’t feel right about was the one who screwed him up.

23. Sounds like they are friends now.

My stepdaughter’s boyfriend came into MY house and we were talking about computer games and he had the audacity to tell me why red dead 2 was better than god of war.

IN MY HOUSE!! But respect to the lad for that, he stuck to his principals and a year later still argues with me about gaming stuff.

24.  High school boys, ew.

My eldest is 15, and boys in high school can be….gross. The way they speak to girls (and girls to boys) is just so far out of line it makes me ill.

But her boyfriend is respectful to her and her family. Most importantly they’re the same brand of weird.

They facetime 19 hours a day I swear, but yesterday they had an entire conversation about penguins both using the same weird fake Russian type accent.

He’s her safe place and without very good cause, I’d never get in the way of that.

25. It’s a reflection of themselves.

I love to meet his girlfriends. In a very self-serving way, I think his ability to attract charming ladies reflects the quality of my parenting.

On one hand, I like whoever brings joy to his life. On the other hand, I prefer to be around polite and well-spoken people. A bit of nervousness on her part indicates that meeting me is important to her.

26. He’s a good one.

I said, “Whatever you do to my daughter, I will do to you.”

I’ve been stuck giving him emotional support and validation for three years. That fucking bastard.

27. Just be nice.

I am nice to my son’s girlfriend and my daughter’s boyfriend.

It’s not my job to have an opinion on who they choose.

If it all goes belly up I’m there to support them until the next one goes wrong. Rinse and repeat until they find their “one” or I’m dead.

I’ve been the hated boyfriend for no reason. It really sucks and affects the relationship.

My ex makes no secret of her opinions on the kid’s partners the only thing that does is stops them talking to her about issues they have in their relationships.

28. Just enjoy it.

I feel excited for them, it’s that wonderful time at the start of a new relationship and it’s exciting to see them happy and enjoying this new experience.

It’s still quite new for me (and them) so as a parent I’m still learning.

I’ve been fine with all the people I’ve been introduced to so far, maybe as I know that the likelihood is these relationships won’t last so for me it’s not an issue if I don’t take to them. Time will tell once their relationships become more serious.

29. You can “like” them all.

My husband and I always “like” the person unless there’s something terribly wrong with them. First of all, we want our kids to trust us and never to disregard our not liking a potential mate because “we never like anyone”.

Secondly, we would never want our kids to feel like they have to choose – it’s their mate, not ours.

Thirdly, most young people are fairly okay, so no point in acting like no one can be good enough for our precious babies.

30. Be there for advice.

I don’t have to like him. My daughter has to like him.

Just like hairstyles. Doesn’t matter if I like your hairstyle or not, you’re the one who has to wear it.

Now, if my daughter asks me advice, or asks my opinion, I’ll be honest with her, even if it may hurt, because I care about her and I only want to see her happy.

But if I’m not asked, I will welcome the guy, be friendly and kind to him, and keep my opinions to myself. Why? Because SHE chose him, and if that makes HER happy, then I’m happy.

31. It’s about respect.

It’s a respect thing.

Do they respect themselves? My son? My home?

If the answer to any of those is No, then I do not like them.

32. Keep the long term in mind.

My kids are 16 and 23. My goal as a parent now that they are old enough, is that they like me and respect me as a person, not just because I AM MOM. I think a huge part of that, is keeping an eye out for red-flag behavior in either my kid or their partner, and letting the rest of it alone.

If it turns out that I do like them that is great, I still try to keep a bit of distance.

They are too young for me to consider everyone who comes through the door a potential in-law. I follow my children’s lead with how much they want me to bond with their SO.

If it turns out that I do not like them, but no red flags, I make sure to keep it to myself.

I have no intention of destroying a great relationship with my kids because their partner is not someone I want to hang out with on my own.

I can put up with anyone who makes my kid happy for the length of a sit-down dinner.

What do you think about what these parents said? Which is your favorite?

Let us know in the comments!