Teen and Young Adult Relationships
Teens and Love
Teens who are beginning to date, quite often will fall into "puppy love" with their boyfriends and girlfriends, thinking that they have fallen into love. It is very common when this happens the teens will feel like they will do anything to stay with their partners, feeling as though they will never feel like this about anybody else again. Quite often this is the person that they will even lose their virginity to and with. Nothing a parent can say is going to change the way the teen feels about this other person, for they always feel like nobody understands how they feel, and no matter what is said to them, they will go and do the exact opposite of any wishes or warnings from a parent.
The reason their feelings of love are so strong, is that not only is this often the first time they have ever been in love, but their emotions are made even stronger by the hormones they are feeling, also for the first time.
Love Them Through it
When the teens grades begin to drop, they skip school, or they do not come home when they are supposed to, the parent get not just worried, but angry. This rebellion goes hand in hand with the boyfriend/girlfriend, for there isn't anything as important to them than this relationship. They are not only feeling deep emotions for the person, but they are willing to prove it by doing whatever they have to to be able to spend as much time as possible with that person.
Quite often this relationship brings out thoughts and fantasies of being married to this person, living with them as an adult relationship, and comparing themselves to the adults they know in their lives. They may dream about having children, having their own house, quitting school and getting jobs so that they can pay for all of this, and even running away to do these things.
The question is this, should we worry? What should we do about this situation? Should the parents step in and force them apart? To do any of these things means that they will fight for all they are worth to stay with each other. Most of the time a parent stepping in will actually make them do the things that they had previously just been thinking about doing. Making them break up and not allowing them to see one another, will almost always cause the teens to do something dramatic and make them feel like Romeo and Juliet. They both will feel like you just do not understand the things they are going through and the emotions they are feeling.
Another mistake that parents quite often make in this situation is to try to force a break up by either cutting them off all of the things that you currently have given them and pay for, like possibly a car, or a cell phone. Grounding them from these items only makes them think that you are being unreasonable. Bribery is often implemented, and although this sometimes does work depending on what you are bribing them with, the results are not long lasting.
So what is the answer then? There has to be a solution. This is what I found works out the best. Hoping that you and your child has good communication skills, sitting down, not just your child, but both of them, talking to them as a couple. This does two things. First, it makes them feel as though you do not hate their partner, and that you are not being so harsh and unreasonable that you cannot even stand to talk to them. Secondly,. it gives them the feeling that you are accepting the fact that they are growing up and are almost young adults. You are treating them as you would an adult couple with a problem, and let them know this sometime during your conversation.
As you sit and talk, do not start off with why they have to break up and why this relationship is not good for them, but begin it by telling them that you would like to get to know their boyfriend/girlfriend better. Keep the talk light, and see if you can actually get them to open up and talk to you comfortably. Then sometime later on, after you feel as though you may have their trust a little, maybe bring up some questions for them to answer. Maybe some questions about school, and what they do on dates. Even questions about how they feel about each other and how they treat one another.
If you can question them carefully, guiding the talk along the lines of logic, sometimes you can actually get them to come up with the answers as to why it is not logical or would not be in their best interest to continue in this serious of a relationship.
If this line of communication does not work for whatever reason, step back, and let nature take it's course. Most of the time when teens get too serious to quickly, they will have tendencies to be controlling of each other. This will not last long, for teens like to be with their friends, and they like to continue doing the same things all their friends are doing. They will get tired of only having one friend, and eventually most of the time the relationship will end when they realize how much this boyfriend/girlfriend relationship changes their lives and actually takes away the things that they really love to do. Puppy love may seem like a very dangerous thing, but it is very normal. Most teens realize in not too much time that love is great, but that it takes up too much of their free time, and takes away a lot of things that they look forward to doing.
All a parent can do about it, is to make sure that their teen is knowledgeable about being smart when it comes to sex, and that they are aware of birth control and have been told about the birds and the bees. Also, make sure that they know that if they have problems regarding this relationship that you are available and will not be angry if they need to come to you to talk about anything at all. They should be told that you do not think they are old enough for this relationship but that they are the ones who must make the decisions regarding it, and that you still insist on them following the rules of the house, like their curfew times, getting their homework done, etc.
Be calm, be patient, and know that this is just as normal a phase as the one when they grew their first teeth. Know that just as the teething, this too will soon be learned about and it will pass. Good luck and love one another.