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Ask Rene: His Girlfriend’s Mom HATES Him!


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.

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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!



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


The real world signpost with blue sky and clouds

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

This may not have been the answer you wanted to hear but I hope it helps nonetheless.

Good luck mom!

Do you have a question for Rene? She has an answer. Click here and fire away. And don’t forget to follow the conversation on Facebook and Rene on Twitter.

More from GEM:

Meet The Mom Who Doesn’t Like Her Own Child

Bridesmaids: The 5 Things I Learned From The Summer’s Top Comedy

Death Of The Home-cooked Meal

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

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  1. Angel T. Torres

    March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I understand where you were taking this lesson, however I am not in agreement that ‘like it or lump it’ is the best course of action in most social situations.
    This young man (and maybe the Mom) might be better served by a lesson in ‘how to win friends and influence people’. Sometimes good manners and social graces can be influential.
    For instance, an invitation to dinner or joint family activity might be a way for her parents to see this good young man and the family he comes from, together. It also allows the parents to communicate what is acceptable activities for their children and put aside misunderstandings and misperceptions.
    I agree that lessons about the cruelties of this world are necessary, but sometimes we win these battles with kindness, consideration, and pizza.

  2. Rene Syler

    March 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

    @Angel: Yes, understand please I am not advocating being rude. I just think it’s not the mom’s place to talk to the other mom and risk putting her on the spot. Eventually his girlfriend’s mother may comes around. She may not. They may break up. But he shouldn’t go changing just to get people to like him. He doesn’t need to be rude but he does need to be himself.

  3. Erica B.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

    As the mother of a 14 year old girl, who is a freshman in high school — I would HATE any young man that is calling himself her “boyfriend”. She doesn’t need nor have time for a “boyfriend”. She needs to be going out with those books and nurturing a relationship with those A/P classes. I would find the young man (as sweet as his mother thinks he is) to be a MAJOR distraction.

  4. Shelly

    March 23, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Totally off topic I just want to say great article on Rene in this month’s MORE magazine! Beautiful photo too!

  5. Lisa

    March 23, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Hi Rene! At 14 I’m still going to want to know where my child is spending time so while I wouldn’t necessarily confront and ask “Why dont you like my son?” I see no problem with inviting them over and/or picking up the phone and getting to know her and suggesting a quick coffee or something. The goal being that *I* need to know what family he is spending time with. Hopefully that will soften the freeze or at least give a better idea of what is going on. It could be very simply that the Mom wouldn’t like any boyfriend(or something deeper that would be more clear after meeting) and then you can parent your own child through that.

  6. m.e. johnson

    March 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    My mother didn’t like any of my ‘nice’ friends but loved the scamps. With their charming smiles they would fawn over her and she would fall for it. She was a bad judge of character with her peers also. Nice smile = good person, no smile = up to no good. To my friends and their parents it was “just the way she was”. They just avoided her as much as possible.

  7. Dawn B

    March 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Truth is this mom doesn’t know how her son acts when around this girl’s family. Is he too into PDA? Are they in her room with the door closed? Has he introduced himself properly and made an effort to let her parents get to know him? We all think our kids are wonderful but, you never know how they are out in the real world. You may THINK you know but you don’t. My daughter’s boyfriend’s father HATED my daughter because when ever she was over, they were in the boyfriend’s room with the door closed. Not doing anything, just hanging out. But still nothing I would allow in my home and they have now been together over 2 years and are almost 21. Point is, I don’t know why she would behave like that over at their house when she knows I’d flip out if they did that here. After speaking to my daughter and realizing she never sat down with the parents and engaged them in any kind of conversation I could see why the father didn’t like her. My daughter changed her ways and things are fine now. You may think your child is perfectly wonderful, but what he does when you’re not around could be something totally different. Ask your son and see what conversations he’s had with the mom and how come he thinks she hates him.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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