“First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity.”- George Bernard Shaw (Famous Irish playwright and critic)
As a parent we want to always be there and guide our kids and sometimes even teach them a thing or two. But let’s be realistic about things here, I mean our times were different and our kids are living in the fast and completely automated and overexposed to social media times. So let’s not fool ourselves about the kids dating scenes and not be shocked to see kids as young as 12 and 13 years of age dating.
As a parent you can call it an infatuation or puppy love, a big time crush or plain lust. But honey its still love and for them it’s all twinkling and sparkling adrenaline running rush of attraction. Haven’t we all been there and done that. Maybe the age bar that time was higher but now this thing called love or lust or whatever you may call it catches them young. With all the dating and other sites and the kind of television content being produced our kids are bound to follow the crowd. So we have to go with the flow.
“The young habitually mistake lust for love, they’re infested with idealism of all kinds.”- Margaret Atwood (Canadian novelist and poet)
Set guidelines like no unsupervised late nights and day outings to be in known places.
The kids obviously cannot drive and pocket money has to be accounted for so as you cannot beat them you might as well join them. Be very frank and open. They might not always have a friend who you agree to or like, but they will eventually learn.
Physical stuff like kissing and holding hands and close hugs and all is bound to happen behind your back obviously but do have a talk about going physical beyond kissing and hugs and about the repercussions and set an expectation. Whatever said and done the kids know that their parents know and can recognise all the signs so if you openly discuss they would also behave more responsibly.
When there is love there are bound to be heartbreaks you cannot shield them from these things you need to be their shoulder to cry on and assure them that’s not the end of the world and they will be happy and move on to better things. In this you need to be careful of not bashing or telling your doubts about how unsuitable the boyfriend or girlfriend was as this would drive a wedge between you and your kid. Don’t be a I-told-you-so kind of parent. Be there and ask if they are okay, take them out, make them feel better and get over it rather than remind them of all things that went wrong.
Knowing your kid’s friends and their parents is a great way to build rapport. Also knowing the parents socially helps us in gauging the kind of background the boys or girls come from and helps in keeping a tab on whereabouts and contact numbers in case of any emergency. It never harmed anyone to be a little cautious irrespective of the relation is long term or not depending on your kid’s duration of love interest in the other person.
Let your child learn from their experiences as they are setting the blueprint for their future relationships.
You can give your own stories. Like when I was in college I bought flowers for my date or I made these cards on Valentine’s. I had a broken heart but then met my future husband. All bad things happen to put you onto the path to good things. Share positive examples. Yes being a buddy to your teen helps. It helps them understand your insecurities better and makes them more inclined to not cross boundaries.
So let them learn young. You cannot be there forever. But be there to listen, to guide and to hold. Your advice can help them date and maybe find their forever kind of love that you wish for them.
“Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.”- Henry Ward Beecher (An American Social reformer and clergyman around the 1800’s).
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- Pooja Guha-Bansode
- August 17, 2017
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