Today’s session on #ListenUpNG is a sequel and titled WHEN YOU DON’T APPROVE OF YOUR CHILD’S CHOICE OF A LIFE PARTNER. Hmmm. Such deep topic. I receive DM and mails from young adults in relation to this real life issue

#ListenUpNG Our target audience today will be parents and guardians of men and women of marriageable age. If your child/ward is a young adult who is ready for relationship, then this session is for you!

#ListenUpNG As a parent or guardian, your son or daughter/ward will probably fall in love with someone sooner or later, so get ready! But what if you completely disapprove of their choice? What next? What do you do?

#ListenUpNG As with all matters of the the heart, this is a very sensitive issue you can’t afford to handle with levity or high handedness. The resultant effect may be catastrophic even with the use of emotional blackmail

#ListenUpNG Imagine your grown daughter or ward has brought home her idea of Mr. Right. But your instincts tell you he’s nothing but trouble. Something just didn’t seem right about him!

#ListenUpNG Or imagine your son in a relationship with a lady that for the life of you, you can’t understand nor see what he sees in her? Especially when you are privy to some unsavoury info about the girl in question

#ListenUpNG Hmmm. Love. Romance. How we wish it were sensible, neat and tidy. Sometimes it is. Often times, it’s not. When young people claim to be crazy in love, it can seem really crazy to the adults around them. Totally incomprehensible…the way of a man with a lady

#ListenUpNG At times, it can seem like the biggest mistake your child could make. Your worst nightmare. At times, it can threaten the very fabric of your family life and that of your extended family. Estrangement & Elopement are possibilities that could ensue

#ListenUpNG Feeling no one is good enough for your child/ward is entirely understandable. But this is one of those moments in parenting where you have to start letting go. Where you have to trust the values you’ve taught them to be their guide

#ListenUpNG Forcing an adult child to make the choice between the parents who raised him and the person he loves always ends badly. Cutting off the child will only cut you off from the wheel of life.

#ListenUpNG Yes! You want your adult child to be happy and safe but don’t see how the object of his/her affection can possibly provide that. You are hoping that your disapproval will bring your child to his/her senses. Please tread with caution.

#ListenUpNG You may think that your anger, disappointment and obvious dislike will change your child’s mind. It probably won’t. And even if it did, you may end up with a resentful child or ward that may never forget or forgive no matter your ‘valid reasons’.

#ListenUpNG The following are what may help. However, I recommend you see a counsellor or a family therapist to explore all possible options. No one size fits all and this situation is just too important to be left to chance

1. #ListenUpNG In cases like this, avoid giving ultimatums. It can be counterproductive. Click this link to read more. I did a #ListenUpNG session on Ultimatums; why and when they may prove useful or otherwise. Do give it a read http://www.kemiodutayo.com/blog/listenupng-wk12-ultimatum/

#ListenUpNG In this instance, Ultimatums may not work. Romantic love is more powerful than loyalty to parents, at least in the first flush of new romance when their oxytocin levels are at an all time high. Lol!

#ListenUpNG The love drug, Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain. It’s sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially.

#ListenUpNG Objecting will only make your child even more committed to his choice. If sex is involved, it’s even less likely that forcing the issue will help resolve it. Sex is a powerful reinforcer. You (as parent or guardian) have nothing as rewarding to offer.

#ListenUpNG Ironically, sex before marriage can be deceptive as it lures the participants to sometimes ascribe a permanent feeling to someone who’s supposed to be a temporary fixture in their life. It also encourages turning a blind eye to red flags in relationships

2. #ListenUpNG Avoid being confrontational. State your concerns seriously and thoughtfully — once. If you are a believer, this is a time to pray and ask God to help your child see what you are seeing. It’s a time to ask God to lead and take charge and be ready to accept His will too.

#ListenUpNG Ask to have a private meeting with your child. Outline your concerns calmly and logically. Express your wish for your child’s future happiness and the reasons you think she or he is making a mistake.

#ListenUpNG Reaffirm your love for him. Then listen to your child’s opinions with respect. Do not allow yourself to get defensive or angry or threatening. People can’t hear people who are yelling. It’s not a paughimg

3. #ListenUpNG Trust in the values you’ve taught your child. Believe that you didn’t raise an idiot. As parents, our most important job lies in the teachings and values with which we’ve raised our kids. There may well be positive attributes in this person that you don’t yet see. Listen carefully to your child’s perspective.

#ListenUpNG Find something to admire. Get to know your child’s choice without prejudice or bias. Explore his or her background, beliefs, goals and areas of interest. You might discover an enjoyable and perfectly acceptable individual.

#ListenUpNG You may not be able, at least yet, to love the person your kid loves — but if you work at it, you can probably find something to admire. If nothing else, the fact that she is able to withstand your disapproval deserves some grudging respect. The fact that she loves the child you love puts you on the same side.

#ListenUpNG Know when to drop the argument. In as much as they are consenting adults of legal age, there is little or nothing you can do. Yes, experience though very expensive is the best teacher. Your child will always be your child. But an adult child is exactly that — an adult. He has the right to make his own decisions and his own mistakes.

#ListenUpNG Though children; especially young adults loathe the ‘When-I-Was-Your-Age” lectures, now might be the right time to share a similar story. Recall a time when you were attracted to a less-than-perfect beau.

#ListenUpNG Share with him or her how you felt at the time, and what you’ve learned as a result of the incident. Tell similar stories and share your reservations in a non judgemental manner.

#ListenUpNG Let him know you wish he saw it your way but that you will do your best to embrace the person he cares so much about. Get to a point you can say this in all sincerity. Then work on it. No matter what, don’t jeopardise your rapport with your child over this issue.

#ListenUpNG As much as we like to think we know better, we don’t always. Sometimes it just takes time for everyone to warm up to each other. Sometimes the person who seemed so wrong turns out to have been exactly right. Things may work out just fine.

#ListenUpNG But if it all does fall apart, your love and reasonableness through the whole thing will make it far easier for your child to come to you for comfort and to learn from the mistake.

#ListenUpNG Note of warning however, if as a parent or guardian, you are absolutely certain the safety of your child or ward is at stake, and it’s a matter of life and death, do take the necessary action.

#ListenUpNG Till I come your way next week, keep being deliberate about your relationships. At @me4counselling we are willing and ready to talk and walk you through your #RealLifeIssues

Kemi Odutayo
Me4 Counselling Team
Twitter: @KemiOdutayo @me4counselling
Instagram: @KemiOdutayo @me4counselling
Whatsapp: 08070990856

About Kemi Odutayo

‘Kemi Odutayo, a graduate of University of Lagos, Nigeria is a Practitioner of NLP, a blogger, an author, a counselor and a media consultant. She is the Head of Operations, Me4 Communications, a publishing, marketing and communications outfit specializing in publishing books/eBooks, managing and offering training for social media accounts for individuals and organizations. Kemi and her husband of many years, Kayode Odutayo have a beautiful family blessed with three lovely children.