No matter how strongly you'd resist your own parents care and control, your children grow up and you ignore everything that happened to you, as well as between you and your parents, when you were dating, choosing, picking and making that big decision: "To marry, or not to marry... this one."
Parents simply can't see their offspring suffer, be that health-wise, career-wise or relationship-wise. As with health it is out of parental control and often than not so are career related issues, leaving relationships of their dearest one up for their dissection.
And, without even considering the disagreements you used to have with your parents (or still have), you are straight into the shoes of your own parents. Because when stresses get to you, you switch to the automatic behaviour, which in this case is borrowed from the closest to you. Your parents.
No one said that dating is easy, and especially the contemporary dating, where rules are regularly broken and challenged, marriages don't happen and many couples opt out for a relationship without children. It can be very uncomfortable for those of you who belong to the generation, where marriage is... pretty much a goal of your life.
And while you may know what's best for your children, when it comes to relationships, frankly you are not the one who goes to bed with your dear offspring. And unless your dearest child fell in love with a criminal master mind or a psychopath with cannibalistic tendencies, here are a few examples of why your well-wishing may in fact jeopardise their chances of finding the one, and your relationship with your own children.
Case 1. He was dating the same girl for eight months. Your reaction: "When are you going to get married already"
What in fact you are doing, you are putting pressure on your son without considering his reasons for taking it slow. Perhaps, his girlfriend is still deciding on her career choice, which will affect the final outcome. Perhaps, your son isn't sure she is the one. Perhaps, both of them are really happy together yet have major disagreements on having children. Perhaps your son actually fancies the other girl but she is currently in a relationship with someone else. Perhaps the girl he dates is still officially married and is yet to apply for a divorce.
Whatever the issue is, it is between them to sort it out.
Be nice and attentive whenever he brings her home, but don't behave towards her as she is already your daughter-in-law. Should the relationship go sour, it'll be easier for your son to let you know straight away. And if he does decide to marry her, he'll even turn to you for advice. Win-win for every party involved.
Case 2. She has been dating a guy for a few months. You reaction: "When are we going to see him already? Does he even exist?"
What many parents don't realise, often girls date guys, just to date. Because they feel bad to be single. So the guy may not be the one, yet she doesn't mind having a date there and here just to receive the attention, compliments and feel like a woman. Besides, that prevents some of her friends reminding her that she is still single. Social pressure? Yes. Alas it works.
When you ask your daughter questions, that normally are asked by her friends, you only put extra pressure on your daughter, and you support her ever-growing lack of confidence and..., you sort of keep pushing her away.
Next time you are not sure about her dating situation, just don't ask. Keep it to yourself and just speak about whatever your daughter finds exciting to talk about. Know that your daughter needs you as her parents, not a relationship councillor. And if in doubt, media provides more than enough pressure on girls to meet, to get and to keep the one.
Case 3. Your daughter never seems to have a date, while your friends' daughters are all married and with children. Your reaction: "Why are you not like everyone else? We already lost any hope of becoming grandparents" ... or another variant would be "What's wrong with you? Can't you find a guy to marry? If not for your brother, we'd never have any grandchildren."
Here, no matter what the situation is, you clearly show to your daughter (even if you don't mean it!) that you do not care about her. You want her to be a good daughter and gift you with grandchildren.
Of course, you may only do it out of your best interests to encourage your daughter to have a family of her own, but that's not how your daughter sees it! And that I see in so many female clients of mine who come to me with their dating issues. What they, your daughters, actually hear from you is: "You, our daughter, have failed us."
It may come to you as shock, yet it's a sad reality. And of course, even if your daughter never had any confidence issues before, the guilt will start eating her from within, slowly and surely leading to developing confidence issues. Because she cares about you and she doesn't want to be the cause of your unhappiness.
What can be done? Just be happy to see her whenever she is around and talk about things that make all of you happy. If she really has any issues when it comes to dating, at least she knows she is safe and not judged when surrounded by family. And believe it, she will find the one, once she feels ready.