High School

Parents Canada - - Relating -

WHAT IS LOVE: While we may as­sume re­la­tion­ships at this age are still “puppy love”, Dr. Bax stresses that there’s no magic age where you can defini­tively fall in love. “There are some adults who have not learned what love re­ally is! It’s more about be­ing ca­pa­ble than it is about age, and hav­ing the im­por­tant com­po­nents: the in­ti­macy, mu­tual sup­port, com­pan­ion­ship and want­ing to be to­gether. When it’s more about care and com­mit­ment and less about sta­tus achieve­ment, I think that’s when love oc­curs.” For teens, their ca­pac­ity for this de­pends on their ma­tu­rity, pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in re­la­tion­ships and their re­la­tion­ship role mod­els.

THE COM­MON CON­CERN: Many par­ents worry about the mis­con­cep­tions about love that their chil­dren see in the me­dia. Han­nah Long, mom of three teens, says, “I think my big­gest fear for my kids is that the In­ter­net is the first place they go for ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion, and what is por­trayed as love on­line and in the me­dia is of­ten mis­lead­ing and un­re­al­is­tic.” Adds the very in­sight­ful 16-year-old Yolanda: “Fall­ing in love is not the same as in the movies.”

THE LOVE LES­SON: While Dr. Bax rec­om­mends lim­it­ing me­dia use and mak­ing sure what your child watches is de­vel­op­men­tally ap­pro­pri­ate, she stresses that it’s also im­por­tant to have dis­cus­sions about what your child is see­ing, even ask­ing them if they think the mag­i­cal and trans­for­ma­tive mes­sages about ro­man­tic love are re­al­is­tic. She also points out that “while me­dia is a strong force, our chil­dren can also be in­flu­enced greatly by the adults in their lives, and it’s im­por­tant to re­al­ize that what they see in re­la­tion­ships, whether in their own par­ents’, their friends’ par­ents’, or even how a teacher or other adult talks about their part­ner in pass­ing, also has a very strong in­flu­ence.”

WE ASKED KIDS… HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE? “Yep. With Jackie. I want to marry her, but she wants to marry some­one else.”

HARRY, 4

“Yes, I love my mommy. I was born and she fed me, and I turned 1, then 2, then

3, then 4, then 5.”

DE­CLAN, 5

“No, but Brooke and Sally are in love with me.

They chase me.”

JAMIE, 6

“I’ll say no, even though that may or may not be

the truth.”

PHILIP, 10

“If I tell you,

I’ll have to end you.”

KYLE, 11

“I have had the priv­i­lege of be­ing in love. It is see­ing the best in each other and work­ing through hard

times to­gether.”

FARRAH, 16

“Maybe in­fat­u­a­tion,

but not love.”

ANNA, 16

“Yes, and I wish I could know how he would an­swer this ques­tion. I want to tell

him I love him!”

KYLA, 16

*names changed

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