Teenage love. It’s everywhere.
Glorified in pop music, young adult literature, and heavily played on in movies and TV series.
But is it all really necessary?
We all know that by the time we hit high school our bodies start to change. We start to mature and become young adults. Our young bodies change and hormones flood our bloodstream, which can create irrational and, sometimes, alien mood swings. And from the confusion of mood swings blossoms the tender flower of – yes it’s that word – love.
Romance: a delicate flower, a soft whispering wind of emotions, something sweet and naïve. We dream of a perfect girl/boyfriend that will hold our hands, shower us with shy little kisses and do the sweetest things to show their affection and remind us of the fact that we are loved and can love. But from the charming and bubbly bliss of young love come the mature side of sexual thoughts and actions; the hard mash of lips on lips, lewd, inappropriate conduct in public, and the act of telling kids to “get a room”.
But that’s the thing, we’re just kids!
After teens do get with their crush or lover, they can begin to wonder what comes after. How far can we go? What else is there? It goes from tender, cute thoughts to sometimes sexual and mature ideas that we really shouldn’t be thinking about yet.
So if you have a child that is younger than 16 that is currently dating, think to yourself, “Do they really need this?”
Be open with your children.
Let them feel comfortable talking about their relationships with you. And it would be even better to know their boyfriend/girlfriend well enough to converse openly with no awkward silences.
Talk to them about their relationship, and keep tabs on it.
You don’t need to know every single second of what’s going on, but you should be pretty open enough to know where they are in their dating. Be fine with certain things, don’t intimidate them to the point in which they start to become secretive. But at the same time don’t just assume your child will always know what’s best for them.
Explain the differences between a really great friendship and a real love.
Many times, relationships that happen are really just great friendships rushed into something for the sake of being something. Explain to your children that if that is the case, they don’t need to label their friendship as being “together”. The name might put them into a box of how to behave and it may ruin their precious friendship.
Discuss with your children what they feel about having a relationship.
More often than you may expect, some teens tire from maintaining a relationship. But even in that scenario, they still try to keep it going in fear of hurting the other person. You should be there to help them sort out all of their emotions. Help them realize what is right and what is wrong and in some cases to go on or to break it up.
Relationships and dating are a part of life. But sometimes you just have to think to yourself, “Do my children really need this now?” Be open with your teen and let them know that whatever they do, that you’ll be there for them.
Photo cred: rgallant_photography