5 Love Lessons to Teach Your Teen | Parenting
I am fascinated that so many parents want to forget their own teenage years. When I've asked them why they list a number of issues but what comes up repeatedly is the pain of a bad breakup.
And this includes not only being broken up with but also having to break a boyfriend or a girlfriend's heart.
Breaking up is painful all throughout life but during the teen years it is a brand new experience and is especially hard. Perhaps this is an area where you can help your tender hearted teens with their vulnerable young hearts.
I've thought endlessly about the love lessons that you can begin to teach your kids during their teen years and here is what I came up with for you. Please feel free to add more.
1. Parents should always validate their kids' feelings by taking them seriously but reassure them that what was will be again. This is true. Most teens do go on to have relationships after high school. They may not get much comfort in the moment but they will store your message in the back of their minds.
2. Remind them to break up with a boyfriend or a girlfriend in a kind and compassionate way. It is way more respectful even though it is harder to do this in person rather than via text. The golden rule applies here-"do unto others as you would like them to do unto you." And, who knows they may become great friends or even fall in love again at some later date. Burning bridges is not healthy for anyone.
3. Tell them that time is a great healer. Yes, they will feel sad and possibly rejected but these feelings will pass. In the meantime, they should fill their schedules with lots of activities so they are not constantly thinking about the break-up.
4. You may want to explain that even though they may have gotten hurt- every relationship where you have taken a risk and made yourself vulnerable teaches you something about yourself and relationships. Perhaps they can start identifying characteristics that they like and dislike in a future partner.
5. Remind them that all of the great poetry, movies, and books are written about love and failed love because that is what makes people the happiest and the most unhappy. They are in the good and plentiful company of all kinds of people around them of various ages who have also experienced heartbreak.
Of course, you will want to take your teens' feelings very seriously. Don't even think about dismissing their tender feelings. That will neither serve you nor them well.
Barbara Greenberg and Jennifer Powell-Lunder are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual." They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.