Maybe love is too strong a word. Maybe it is infatuation or plain attraction. Whatever the label may be, the current age to get into a relationship has dropped to as early as 13! This statistic may be a tad bit shocking to the third world countries but the rest of the world is frequented with teenage suicides due to love affairs not ending well or teenage pregnancies!
Being a parent what must you do when you say to your daughter or son swaying away with the flow of being in a relationship sometimes only because it is ‘cool’ to have a partner! Let’s not forget even years back their used to be high school romances some of them even got married and lived happily there on, then why not give this generation a fair chance to feel ‘love’ as we know it?
Keep calm about the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing. As a teenager, your child is probably just attracted with this person and is likely to move on soon. The more you accept this person that your child is seeing, the easier it will be for you two to talk things through in a more reasonable manner. And if things end badly you will need to talk about it so will you if they decide to actually take a deeper plunge. Don’t judge on appearance! Just because she has glasses, braces, and frizzy red hair doesn’t mean she’ll be studious. Or just cause he has a couple of piercings and highlights doesn’t make him a junkie. Acceptance of this person will instil trust in the parent.
Make them part of family occasionally, call them over for a casual dinner sometimes just to gauge how they treat your child, or just to know how they are with family. You can set rules for not being in the room alone or deadlines to get back home to avoid your child indulging in sexual activity at least till you think they might be ready. If their date arrives appropriately dressed, does not keep texting on his/her cell phone and does treat your child and the rest of the family right he/she might be a keeper. And your growing up kid has probably not made a bad choice.
Curb all your urges to be a control freak, you have accepted the new person, gave him an entry into the family and have spent a little time with them. You have set deadlines and have had a heart to heart chat with your teen. Now maybe a good time to sit back and watch a bit, just like you made your share of mistakes your child will make them too. Do not stalk them on facebook or keep monitoring them at every step.
Be supportive! If your child does come to you for advice or in tears avoid telling them the “I told you so” line. Even if your teen does get hurt through this relationship, it is likely to be the first of many. They just need to learn the same lessons you did.
Yes you can be there for them, yes you can correct them sometimes but the rest of the times they’ve just got to have a share of their own lessons.
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