It's a love affair: Tips to support your teenager's first love
Entering the teenage years does much more to a child than just physical changes. It unlocks a whole new spectrum of emotions your little one didn’t know before. Especially when you find them blushing and giggling while texting on their phones, you know something’s up.
Your child’s first love can be one of the most exciting and all-consuming experiences of their life, and for parents, it can be a bit tricky because we, of course, want them to feel the experience of love but what we want more is for them to stay out of the harm’s way at the same time. As parents, it’s crucial to have “The Talk” with your teen so you can help them handle their feelings, give them good advice and teach them a thing or two about how relationships work.
The first thing to do is be welcoming and understanding of your child’s first romantic experience. Parents are often the last ones to know that their child has a crush on someone, but if you feel something, ask your child about it, encourage them to openly discuss it, validate their feelings and be friendly with them.
But with that being said, you must tell them about the boundaries and what’s ok vs. what’s inappropriate for them and the relationships at their age. Ask them if their partner has similar feelings for them and determine whether it’s a crush or if there are mutual feelings involved. Knowing the difference can help you prepare your child to deal with heartbreak or if things go south in the future.
As a parent, think about the first time you were in love and how helpful it would have been if someone sat you down and discussed it all with you. Try to be that person with your children, and instead of making things weird with them, help them out on their journeys. Because behind every young child who believes in themselves, there’s a parent who believed in them first.