Many teens feel like their love is the first of its kind and no one–particularly their parents–could possibly understand what they are going through. It’s important to remember how you felt as a teen in love–the excitement, the rush and even the heartache. Keep your line of communication open with your kid and give her loving, realistic advice, based on your own experiences and knowledge. Most importantly, let her make her own choices, as long as they aren’t harmful to her or anyone else.
The most important thing you can advise your child is to always know his self-worth. He should know that he is worthy of being happy, loved and being treated in a respectful manner always. If he’s having a difficult time with this, constantly remind him of his accomplishments and good points before his relationship. Those values don’t just go away because of a relationship. If he loves and values himself, he’ll be a better partner. Tell him that he has nothing to offer anyone else if he isn’t full of love and happiness himself.
Trust issues and jealousy can be major issues for teens in love. This is mostly due to personal insecurities. For example, if your teen sees a pretty girl flirting with her boyfriend, she may get jealous and go off on her boyfriend, accusing him of cheating. Advise your daughter to trust her boyfriend and remind her that he chose to be with her. Trust issues can tear apart the soundest relationship and drive lovers apart. However, if she catches him cheating and has proof–beyond simple hearsay–then it’s time to let him go.
Remind your teen of how important his friends are. They were there before his relationship, and they will be there after. It’s important for teens to keep spending time with their friends and living their lives separately, as well as together. It’s also important to remind your teen not to treat his partner differently in front of his friends just to look “cool.” If you notice that he isn’t talking to his friends or starts to slack off on his schoolwork or extracurricular activities, it’s time to be reiterate how a healthy relationship includes time together and apart.
Sex can be one of the most embarrassing and difficult things to discuss with your teen. It’s important to express your wishes of abstinence, while also arming your child with information to help protect her. Openly discuss birth control and answer any sex-related questions she may have. If you brush them off, she’ll seek the answers elsewhere and may be given unsafe or completely wrong advice. Explain that sex can be fulfilling and wonderful, but it will never keep a relationship together. Sex will not fix a bad relationship. Rushing into having sex can tear a relationship apart before it’s had a chance to begin. Give her resources, such as a counselor or other trusted third party, to talk to if she isn’t comfortable talking to you about sex.
Beginnings and Breakups
Beginnings and breakups can be the most difficult time for a kid in love. They are open to rejection, which most likely makes them feel like they can’t go on. Let your teen talk, cry, complain and express himself openly with you if he wants, as long as he is respectful. Share some of your heartache or rejection stories with him if he’s open to listening. Remind him that in time, his heart will heal and he will learn to love again. Advise him to give himself a break and take the time to heal before rushing into another relationship. Each relationship a person has can be a wonderful learning and growing experience, if he’s open to it. Rushing into a new relationship too quickly will likely result in the same outcome.
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