Ask Joey C- Concerned Mother Has Daughter Who Dates Losers – I Need Help On This One Folks

Concerned Mother writes-

My daughter really goes for the underdog (ie. losers). How can I gently encourage her to set her sights higher without seeming like the overbearing mother?

My advice?   Normally I can bang out relationship advice all day long but my two little girls aren’t to that dating stage yet and I really don’t know what to say.

Like I know you want to keep the lines of communication open between you and your daughter.  I know you could potentially say things to her, calling the guys she’s dating a loser when they have a fight and then they make up, she tells the guy what you said and then the guy spends the rest of his living days trying to convince your daughter what a terrible parent you’ve been.

I get all that but I just don’t know that I have what it takes to sit back and watch some douchebag take advantage of one of my girls.

So I’m throwing this one out there to our informed and brilliant readership.  What would you do?


  • relationships are as healthy as the people in them,

    Intimacy-Into me I see.


  • Having raised 3 daughters on my own, I feel, somewhat, qualified to comment.
    First thing, do not put him down in front of your daughter, this will only serve to solidify the relationship. Ask questions like, “How is he going to help you in achieving your goals?” or “What do your friends think of him?” and “Are you satisfied with the amount of caring he gives you?” Any question that will get her thinking about the relationship and it’s, possible, outcome will help. But, the final decision must be hers, any attempt to break it up by you, could have the opposite effect. Please, do not prejudge the boy either. Observe the relationship, if they are happy with each other, he may not be the loser you perceive him to be. Most important, give your daughter some credit for making the best choice for herself, she is, probably, going to make the same wise decision you made when selecting her father, which, I’ll wager, didn’t thrill your parents either.


  • I have no point of reference for this, other than being a daughter myself, but I have an unsolicited nugget. *Buoy up your daughters confidence in everything she does, tell her you believe in her and know she will make the right decisions (and mean it), and generally try to improve her self worth and esteem.* If she has the self-worth, she will demand more.


  • i’ve raised one daughter, and have had the privilege of helping to raise several other strong women; am mentor to many. the best advice: listen, listen, listen, bite tongue if necessary: BUT, always speak truth, never hide from confrontation; be willing to listen, listen, listen, listen. try to see through their eyes. always remind them that until they are fledged: you are the adult.

    how old is your daughter?

    and a secret: the best place to have difficult, intimate conversations, is in the car. as long as you are driving and can keep your cool. long enforced time with one another in a confined space, conversation flows.

    never degrade him, treat him/her with the same respect that you expect to receive. the tide may turn.


  • WOW such great advice—listen, listen, listen, bite tongue, the tide may turn–I agree and would like to add that there are typically warning signs that she shouldn’t ignore. I think at the appropriate time you and your daughter can discuss some of the very clear signals (such as Deb’s suggestion of driving in the car, and not when she is experiencing the problem).

    For example –does he become edgy, or is he at all threatened, by your dreams and ambitions. If he is secure in himself and in his goals, he won’t be threatened by your drive and success. He will cheer you on!! Another very clear sign is if a man (and I believe this standard applies equally to women as well) is ever even the teeniest, tiniest bit disrespectful to you or to your friend or to a member of your family, the relationship should be terminated immediately.

    We have probably all seen our daughters (and sons) experience a bad relationship or difficult break up, and it hurts to see them hurting, but on the other hand, we can’t live their lives for them.

    Just this morning my daughter told me a funny story that one of her co-workers, Tangelique, related—this young woman is a feisty, outspoken bartender at Bowlmor in NYC. When Tangelique is on a date and if the guy does or says something off, she says to herself “Ping, Ping, Ping–Red Flag Alert.” She was on one of those bad dates and accidentally said it out loud. She realized what she had done, told him she wasn’t interested, and got up and left!


  • as a daughter, sister and woman who has dated a couple duds in the past myself I agree with all the suggestions above. Always listen, love and nurture, keep an open mind and whenever possible remind her babies and divorce are very expensive.


  • I can only try to imagine the challenges you face in trying to parent and support your daughter. I share this cautionary tale of a daughter here in Tucson.
    Her parents loudly disapproved of her boyfriend. And by all accounts their disapproval was justified.
    Last Saturday the 19 year old daughter and boyfriend were out in his car. For whatever reason he was pulled over by the local police. He bolted from the scene and the daughter was left to be taken to the police station. The parents came to collect her. Heated discussion all the way home. Daughter goes to bedroom – parents continue watching tv. Time passes – heads cool – father goes to speak to daughter and finds she has committed suicide.
    I can’t imagine the horror. I don’t know what the parents could have done differently. The daughter was also an only child. In other aspects of her life she was an engaged late teen – Just chose this ‘loser’ and who knows what else was going on.
    The family is friends of a good friend of mine. Someone who works with late teens daily. We are all at a loss as to what could have been done. Caution is all I can offer


  • I gently say, where’s dad and did he show her through his actions with you how a woman should be treated and respected? It’s not so much the words you now use but what did she see and how did she feel growing up? That’s what she will believe about herself and determines who she chooses to date. IMHO.


  • Your daughter may have low self esteem. Build her confidence in herself. Take her to events and expose her to the world. A part time job is great also if it is in the write place, ice cream stores are great, she will be exposed to young families which will help her fulfill her long term goals and build responsibility. She is so lucky to have a family who is recognizing her issue. My husband always said, “bring her to a couple of out of town dances”. You cannot set goals if you haven’t seen how the other half lives. From a former teacher and mother of three.


  • In my experience I’ve learned that someone who always picks losers has an inherent need to fix or help people. She doesn’t yet understand that they just want her to take responsibility for their lives instead of being responsible themselves. The need is within her so I would explore that with her so that she can understand herself and avoid these “leeches” in the future whether they are male or female.


  • Honestly, this is a very hard question to answer without more information. I have no idea what the questioners definition of “loser” is, and that word can trigger such a different image in all of us. The advice I would give to a girl who consistently finds herself trying to rescue lost souls would be very different from that I’d give to a girl who ends up repeatedly in abusive relationships. I agree with blackswanbeth, tho — in all things, help your daughter to see the beauty and worth in herself, let her know you are always there for her (should she ask for help, but don’t push it on her) and the rest should follow.


  • I dated a loser in high school….I had him over and we were sitting on the front porch one day. My dad sits down next to the guy and tells him a story about some neighbors he used to know. The story goes:

    My neighbor had an only child, a daughter. She was dating a guy that her father did not like at all. The father asked his daughter to not bring the guy over anymore. The daughter rebelled and kept bringing the guy back. One day the father had enough and shot the guy in his living room, proceeded to drag his body out to the street and leave him on the sidewalk.

    My dad then inched closer to my boyfriend, pointed at the sidewalk and said “You’re lucky the sidewalk is on the other side of the road.” He smiled, got up and walked away. Ahhh sometimes fathers need to scare the shit out of boys sometimes. I ended up (after many more encouraging stories from my father and growing up a little more) meeting a really great guy that treats me like a queen. We just celebrated our 5yr anniversary 🙂 **FYI – The man in the story was arrested and my dad moved out of the neighborhood the next week**

    Take time. Listen. Know that sometimes a girl exploring the “losers” may be a phase. Yes, unfortunately bite your tongue at times. I agree with most of the posts above!


  • I have the same problem. My daughter is 25 and always finds felons. I have fought and fought, screamed and screamed, cried and cried. Please someone tell me what to do?


  • My 24 year old daughter is also dating a loser. She brought him home. He’s 35, has 2 kids that he never sees. Works under the table. Was in jail. He told me this. I did a background check. Since 2003 he has been in jail, writes bad checks, has physical contact, harassment, burglary. I hired a private investigator, he has a warrant for his arrest. My daughter won’t listen.


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