Did you ever have a crush in your teenage years? I don’t believe you if you are shaking your head ‘NO’
For those of you who are smiling at this question and have an instant flashback of those memories and feelings, here is another question for you: What did you do when you felt that tingling in your tummy when you used to catch their glimpse or interact with them?
Of all the things that you might have done, how many of you confronted your feelings to your parents?
I think enough of this quiz and talk about what generally happens in a South Asian household when a 15-16 years old kid shares that they like someone (I know most of us didn’t even share and were caught red handed while texting our crush)
The reason that I wrote that most of us didn’t even share with our parents is because such topics are a taboo in most desi households and since, our parents have never openly discussed such topics, we automatically assumed that they were no-go areas; and rightly so, because once these revelations come to light, girls were told that they will be married right away and aren’t allowed to go to school anymore and well, as for boys, they are either beaten or given warnings (yep, the reaction is not as harsh or severe for boys).
Just like we are making a breakthrough progress in a lot of areas, I realized that there is an immense requirement to focus on this aspect of parenting and to provide a solution for this.
Here are a few dos and don’ts on what to do when you find out that your teenage kid likes someone:
Don’t gasp or have a dramatic reaction
Teenage crushes are not something out of the world; it’s completely normal considering all the hormonal developments that a child goes during their teenage years. Your child will most likely be feeling all sorts of emotions and it’s not the right time to burden them with your dramatic reaction.
Don’t blame yourself or the school or their friends
Nope, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your upbringing or the school you send them to or their friends. These feelings are natural and they were bound to happen. And please understand that this doesn’t mean that your child has become impure and the reputation is ruined.
Confiscation of their gadgets or grounding them is not the solution
There are three reasons to not take extreme actions to such situations: one, grounding them would make them rebellious and would push them to do things that would not only further push you over the edge but also might harm them in the process; two, it would distance your child and would make them hide things from you; three, we ground children in order to punish them or teach them a lesson when they do something wrong, understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with liking somebody and hence, it shouldn’t be punished.
Have a conversation about their feelings but don’t push it
If your child has shared their feelings with you, make sure to make them feel heard and don’t degrade or make fun of their emotions. Make sure to be a good listener and don’t shower them with a lot of advice; take it slow and give them (and yourself) some time to come around this new set of feelings.
Let your child know of their boundaries
It’s always better to have this conversation about love and emotions in the earliest stages of puberty but if you didn’t have it before, do it now (yep, it’s never too late). And while you address these facts and feelings, make sure to teach your kid of their age appropriate boundaries and address topics like dealing with rejection or saying ‘No’ when you are uncomfortable.
Remember, these conversations will be a stepping stone in the way they would deal with their feelings and relationship in future.
Don’t share their personal feelings with everyone else
Whenever dealing with your child and their situations, always put yourself in their shoes and think how would I feel if I was in their place; hence if you want your child to confide in you and to trust you, make sure you value their feelings and confidence in you by keeping their emotions and conversations private.
Trust your child but be there when they fall
This is the age when you start trusting your child with their life choices and let your kids make their own mistakes without telling them ‘I told you so!’
I understand that we love our children very much and watching them crumble is the least pleasurable thing to do, but we also need to understand that our kids need to learn important life lessons and without experiences, they wouldn’t grow.
Dear parents and readers who aspire to become parents one day, I want to let you know that there is no such thing as perfect parenting and all of us can only strive to become better; in order to become better than our previous generations, we need to unlearn and relearn. And the one thing that all of us need to unlearn is confusing morality with having romantic feelings for someone. There is absolutely nothing wrong in being attracted to someone and loving someone doesn’t make our children (or anyone for that matter) immoral.