For parents, watching your teenager fall in love can be terrifying. Especially when you need them to focus on their studies.
However, this is a normal development phase of the teen years, and as parents, we should be here to provide them with advice and guidance. By lending them the help they need, you will be able to guide them into making the right decisions for themselves.
First and foremost, you should never ridicule your child – no matter how unrealistic the crush or inappropriate the relationship. Your child’s feelings are real and should be respected. If you have taught them about a proper relationship, then you should trust them to make their own decisions. Only intervene if you think the relationship is dangerous for your child. Encourage open communication with your child. If you make fun of his or her feelings, your child may become closed off and secretive about their relationships.
There are times where you might be concerned on whether they are neglecting everything else that matters (school, family, sleep) for their boy/girlfriend. To prevent this, you should:
1. Set goals with your teen so they have something else to focus on besides the relationship. If the goals start to falter, it can provide a handy reality check for discussion about the relationship.
2. Give leeway where you can. Remember what things were like when you were in love as a teen.
3. Give regular reminders about limits and expectations.
This is also why it is important for your child to attend tuition classes – they provide an avenue for learning with minimal distractions, since everyone that is in the tuition class is there to learn. If the tutor is able to effectively engage your child in learning, he or she is less likely to neglect their studies.
Remember that your role in this teen romance is not to be their friends. You have a much more honourable job. You must be their mentors, guides and support system. As much as you are delighted that their relationship is over, do not say things like: “That person was no good. In a few weeks you’ll be glad it’s over”, or “Get over yourself. You’re blowing it out of proportion. Man up”, or “Oh come on, it’s not that bad. You don’t really know what real love is yet”. These words do not help, and it only re-emphasises to them that you do not understand what life is like for them. How you handle the challenges of dating and relationships will secure your position as the individual your son/daughter will confide in with his/her worries, challenges and love.
It may be hard to see your child growing up and finding new people to get close to, but if you take the right steps and teach them how relationships are supposed to be, they are much more likely to make the right choices.