What do you do when you find out that your teenager, the apple of your eye who was only supposed to be studying, doing sports and having harmless fun, is ‘in love’?
When your child has information to offer you about a classmate or a neighbor he fancies, don’t ignore him or encourage him. Just listen to him and get to the core of what is driving him into this emotional/physical roller-coaster at this point in his life.
A close friend’s son declared, "Mom I like Radhika very much and she’s asked me if I will be her boyfriend. I think she’s very cute and I’m sending her a Valentine’s card."
The mom was cool and said, “I think that is a very beautiful gesture, and I would like you to show me the card you are sending her.” To this, her son agreed.
When her son showed her the Valentine's card, my friend was surprised and touched by his sensitive side -- he had written a lovely poem. She told him that he composed very good poetry and that he must keep up his writing skills.
A few months later, her son had begun writing for the school magazine and was taking part in inter-school writing contests. His ‘girlfriend’ Radhika was now only a pal who sometimes came over. My friend's son had found more intense pastimes to occupy him.
It is best for parents to assume the role of a sounding board for adolescent children and be supportive even when they think the children are wrong to be in a 'relationship'. The typically wrong responses to teenagers are:
‘Why do you need a girlfriend now?’
“You’ll get over it soon!”
“It’s not such a big deal. You’ll get this feeling many times in future.’
“This happens to everybody. It’s just a stage.”
Remember, teen love may just be puppy love, or it may be a part of something bigger that your teenager is evolving into. It can be real, just-for-fun, or an experiment that your child is fiddling with. But whatever it is, it’s a newly- emergent, very adult and mature part of your teenager, who doesn't need to be chided or derided.