Despite knowing that almost every teenager will fall in love at some stage, parents often struggle to cope with the developmental changes.
What can parents do when teenagers fall in love? Relationship coach Stephanie Dawson-Cosser shares some advice.
Dawson-Cosser explains that teen relationships are a natural process of development from dependence on parents.
She advises that a teen's first relationship or love interest is the point at which parents realise that their child is growing up.
According to Dawson-Cosser, teens make their first step towards independence and seem less reliant on parents for guidance, rather looking to their peers.
Instinctively, parents want to control the development, although it is out of their hands.
We suddenly realise that there's something going on inside our child that we can't control. The folly of parenthood is that we think we can control everything.— Stephanie Dawson-Cosser, relationship coach
She advises that parents need to recognise and respect their child's autonomy and privacy, but also provide them with support.
Dawson-Cosser says there should be existing open communication, so that when your child does develop romantic feelings, it does not become uncomfortable to discuss.
While parents cannot protect their teen from the complexities of romantic relationship, they help prepare them early on in life.
Just as we don't want our little children to fall and scrape their knee, we don't want their hearts to go through heartbreak.— Stephanie Dawson-Cosser, relationship coach
Here are some pointers for parents:
- parents should talk to their kids about sex and intimacy long before their child begins any potential sexual relationship
- no subject between child and parent should be taboo
- keep your home a space where your child's friends are welcome
- don't delay your child's development, instead make efforts to be more understanding
- allow your child to experience all the emotions (including hurt or rejection), but let them know you are always there
Dawson-Cosser talks teen love and how to help your child navigate (and survive) romantic relationships.
Take a listen to her expert advice:
This parent sounds like my mom. I'm 23, no boyfriend and she's also "worried". It annoys me... @Eusebius— Lebo (@kgoshigadi_lebo) February 6, 2017
@Eusebius interesting story there... I was an engineering student and I had my 1st girlfriend at age 23 after my 1st job. Nothing wrong!— Taetjo Mathabatha (@TlouMakutu) February 6, 2017