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.”


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

3, then 4, then 5.”


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

They chase me.”


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

the truth.”


“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.”


“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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