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Ask Rene:
His Girlfriend’s Mom HATES Him!

Hi Rene:

I have a problem that is literally breaking my heart. My son is a straight-A student, nice, witty, charming, etc. He’s 14 and in junior high. He stays out of trouble, is not into drugs or pre-marital sex. Sounds perfect, right? I think so too.

But William has a girlfriend whose mother HATES him!  And I don’t know why. What is there to hate about my sweet boy? Do you think I should try to find out why? Should I talk to his girlfriend about her mother? Should I talk to the mother herself? Agh! I’m confused.

Rene, what would you do if you were me?

Mother of a Nice Boy

 

Dear MoNB:

When our kids are young we want to do everything in our power to protect them. Then they go off to school and we worry because, they’re out of sight for six hours of the day. It is in those moments we have to hope that we trained them well and they’re up for whatever life brings their way. That is where you find yourself. Here’s what I would do if I were you.

DO NOT TALK TO THE MOTHER

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Let’s look at it this way. When you say to the girl’s mother, “My son tells me you don’t like him. I’d like to know why”, one of several things is going to happen. She will either be embarrassed beyond belief because it’s true or because your son thought it was. Or she’ll get pissed because it is true or because you have accused her of something that is not. Now, let’s say it is true; do you really think you asking her about it will bring about an attack of conscience and cause her to change? Of course not. So let’s go ahead and put a big red line through that idea. Don’t talk to her daughter either; all that will do is make everyone uncomfortable.

Read more: Our Story Begins: It’s Time to Take Care of You!

TALK TO YOUR SON

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If you are compelled to talk to anyone, it should be your son. First, I would ask him why he thinks his girlfriend’s mom doesn’t like him. It could be that he’s misreading the cues and it’s really nothing. However, it could really be something, because we know some adults can be as irrational as some teenagers. So when you do have your chat, lay one of GEM’s gems on him and that is, “Not everyone will like you. Let that be their problem.” He might as well learn now that some people aren’t going to like you for no reason other than they hate the color of your eyes, the way your lips curl around your words, your sandy brown hair, the fact that you are slightly pigeon-toed, that you look different, have a different faith, sexual orientation or any other myriad  reasons that don’t make sense when said aloud. Then tell him he has to decide how much time and effort he’s willing to put into trying to get someone to like him who is inclined not to. Explain that if he changes for one person, he may alienate all the people who like him the way he is. And shouldn’t the people you want in your life accept you the way you are? Yes. The answer is yes.

Read more: Who Are You? 5 Reasons You Need A Personal Brand

LET HIM WORK IT OUT

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Now here’s the hard part for you. Remember when you left your boy at the kindergarten door, holding a Power Rangers lunch box and struggling with a backpack that threatened to crush him under its weight? You had to trust that the teachers would care for him and that he had learned enough in his six years on the planet to deal with any situations that came up on the playground. It’s the same thing now, only the playground is bigger. In other words, your son needs to successfully deal with this because it will happen again. And again. And again in his life. Personally I think it takes years and a time or two around the block before you really develop the, “I-Don’t-Care” mentality but now’s as good a time as any to get started thinking that way.

Read more: Single Mom Slice of Life: If Only For A Moment In Time
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This may not have been the answer you wanted to hear but I hope it helps nonetheless.

Good luck mom!

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More from GEM:

Meet The Mom Who Doesn’t Like Her Own Child

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(Editor’s note: This piece first ran 3/23/2012)