Teenage love: Should we encourage or discourage it?

My son is in love — big time!

He has proclaimed his love for his new girlfriend in words I never knew were in his vocabulary. I know this because I’ve become a top secret spy, trying to decipher teen code.

On Valentine’s Day, my son wrote her a handwritten card, declaring his eternal love and telling her he has never met anyone like her. His text messages are equally as sentimental. While I know she likes him back, at least her text messages say so, I worry about the intensity of his love.

I’ve forgotten how emotional teens can be when they think they are in love. It’s such naive infatuation that adults just can’t relate because we’re so many years past feeling the same way.

But as a mom, I’m worried.

I know this girl makes my son happy, and I want to encourage him. But I’m asking myself: Can he put this relationship in perspective? How will he handle it if and when this relationship ends? Even if I discouraged the relationship, would it make a difference?

I keep reminding him that he’s a great kid, with or without a girlfriend. Of course, that only gets me the eye roll (I’m sure most of you parents know what I’m talking about!)

So, I went to the kidshealth blog for some guidance: “For people falling in love for the first time, it can be hard to tell the difference between the intense, new feelings of physical attraction and the deeper closeness that goes with being in love.”   TRUE!

The site, aimed at kids, also says: “If it’s your first real love and the relationship ends before you want it to, feelings of loss can seem overwhelming. Like the feelings of passion early in the relationship, the newness and rawness of grief and loss can be intense — and devastating. There’s a reason why they call it a broken heart. Losing a first love isn’t something we’ve been emotionally prepared to cope with.

From all the advice for kids, I gleamed this piece of 411 for parents: When a relationship ends, teens need support. Apparentely, adults often  expect younger people to bounce back and “just get over it.”

Experts suggest helping your teen find someone he can talk to who really understands the pain he’s going through. If its not you, then maybe it could be a friend or a therapist or a teacher or coach.

A came across an article that offers teens pretty good advice for Getting Over a Break-Up. I’m going to keep it handy — just in case I need to give it to my son.

Parents, have you tried to discourage your teens from getting romantically involved in high school? Do you think it makes a difference if a parent encourages or discourages a teen relationship? How have you supported your teen through a break up?



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