One characteristic of being a teenager is the ability to fall in love romantically for the first time. Although first love can be exciting, it can be confusing as well. Parents can help their teens get through this mysterious time in their lives by letting their teens talk to them about their feelings and by giving their teens some advice.
Tell your teen that love has three main qualities–attraction, closeness and commitment, suggests the Teens Health website. Attraction is the chemistry, the physical and sexual attraction, which your teen may feel for someone. Attraction is what gives your teen the butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling when he is near that special person. Closeness is the bond your teen will develop with that person and comes from sharing thoughts and feelings. Trust and acceptance are big elements of feeling close to someone. Commitment is the third component and is the promise to be faithful and loyal to the other person.
Commitment is usually different for teenagers than it is for adults. Teens tend to have shorter relationships, not because they are not capable of being in love, but because of their age. The teenage years are times to seek out a variety of experiences. Teenagers, for the most part, are not even sure who they are yet; let alone what type of person they should spend the rest of their life with. Teens should make the relationship about having fun rather than thinking about settling down, according to the Teens Health website.
Love Needs to Grow
At first, teens will feel passion and excitement about a new love interest. To progress from attraction to love, your teen will need to be able to give to and receive from the other person. Your teen should be able to reveal her feelings and hear about her boyfriend’s dreams, disappointments and fears. To have a healthy relationship, teenagers need to support each other, not insult or hurt each other.
When It Ends
It can be overwhelming, painful and devastating for your teen to experience a break-up. It will help if he has a good support group, which includes his parents, to lean on. Be there for your teen. Remind him that he is strong and will be able to recover, recommends Kim Kirberger, co-author of “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.”
The Wrong Idea
It’s difficult for many parents to think of their children having sex. In fact, a study from North Carolina State University, and reported on the Science Daily website, shows that many parents think that their children are not interested in sex, but that all the other teens are. Many parents tend to view their children’s friends as sexual predators. For example, parents of girls think that sexually aggressive boys are out to take advantage of their daughters. Parents of boys think that girls are out to entrap their sons by luring them into having sex. These stereotypes are not helpful. Parents who think this way are making it seem as if teenagers are adversaries and make heterosexual relationships sound unappealing.