WHAT IS LOVE: As kids begin to go through puberty, sexual feelings may start to emerge, leading to the beginning of an exploration of sexual attraction and their own sexuality. As well, kids at this age develop a better understanding of what love means in our western culture. “While relationships may still be about status at this age, they may start to have feelings for someone who is supportive, or whom they share a hobby, interest or emotional connection,” says Dr. Bax.
THE COMMON CONCERN: Unrequited love, and how to support your heartbroken child after a breakup, or when their affections are not returned.
THE LOVE LESSON: According to Dr. Bax, breakups are a huge challenge at this age, and parents need to be nonjudgmental and acknowledge that this is a loss for them. Listen and respect their feelings, while at the same time helping them to look forward. “For adolescents, the moment is everything and their emotions are so strong. It’s important to help put the relationship into context for them.” Encourage them to go out, to spend time with other friends (it’s important to make sure they are not isolated), and maintain schoolwork and hobbies.