Talk­ing about rela­tion­ships with chil­dren can prob­a­bly be called the most dif­fi­cult. Here you need to find an approach, and do not for­get about the edu­ca­tion­al part, and do with­out edi­fi­ca­tion, and pro­vide sup­port. How to do it right, so as not to slide into the typ­i­cal “Yes, you will have a mil­lion more Sashas like that”?

A few use­ful rules will help build a not always con­ve­nient, but very nec­es­sary con­ver­sa­tion.

Rule #1: Don’t discount

It hap­pens that a child comes up to mom or dad and joy­ful­ly reports that he has fall­en in love. Or sad­ly reports that he broke up with Katya. Some par­ents just chuck­le: “Well, what kind of love at that age?” or “I found why nurs­es dis­solve!”

Such deval­u­a­tion lit­er­al­ly forms a hole in rela­tion­ships with rel­a­tives, which often can­not be patched up either with apolo­gies or time. It is impor­tant to under­stand that roman­tic rela­tion­ships in ado­les­cence and even pre­teens are the norm. And you can fall in love even if you first went to kinder­garten. Ridicule, just like ignor­ing, is sim­ply unac­cept­able if you don’t want the child to shut up for­ev­er and stop shar­ing quiv­er­ing and impor­tant things.

Rule #2: Share your own experience

A great way to show your child your sup­port and under­stand­ing is to share your per­son­al expe­ri­ence of roman­tic love. These can be con­ver­sa­tions on any occa­sion: if the son or daugh­ter does not know where to go on a date, what to give their soul mate for Valen­tine’s Day, or if the child expe­ri­ences the first painful break.

Do you want your child to con­sult with you and not be shy about a del­i­cate top­ic? Get active first. This will not only strength­en trust­ing rela­tion­ships with a teenag­er, but also push him to new thoughts, ideas, plans. Watch a roman­tic movie togeth­er? Ask the teenag­er sit­ting next to her if she would slap this guy in the place of the main char­ac­ter or how he would get out of an unpleas­ant sit­u­a­tion in that episode. Dis­cussing the plot, expe­ri­ences and behav­ior of the char­ac­ters is a great plan to build mutu­al under­stand­ing!

Rule #3: Recommend Topical Books

Some­times adults don’t have answers to teen ques­tions about love. Per­haps they are at a loss with them, because they them­selves have not had a spe­cif­ic sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence. And it also hap­pens that a child can­not be com­plete­ly frank with mom or dad — because of shy­ness or inabil­i­ty to for­mu­late a request. In this case, the par­ent may well rec­om­mend books about teenage love and the res­o­lu­tion of var­i­ous roman­tic con­flicts.

Many mod­ern pub­li­ca­tions for teenagers are suit­able for this pur­pose. They will del­i­cate­ly show the teenag­er a vari­ety of man­i­fes­ta­tions of love, teach some behav­ioral tech­niques, or sim­ply help him real­ize that he is not alone. These books can be:

  • “Goal­keep­er and the Sea”, Maria Parr;
  • “Tales of Franz and Love”, Chris­tine Nöstlinger;
  • “Only eleven, or Shu­ra-mura in the fifth“ D ”, Vic­to­ria Led­er­man;
  • “Pollyan­na”, Eleanor Porter;
  • Dubrav­ka, Radiy Pogodin;
  • Tzatzi­ki and Love by Moni Niel­son.

In book­stores, there are many books for a teenage audi­ence — for every taste and bud­get. Give the choice of such lit­er­a­ture to the child him­self or togeth­er choose pub­li­ca­tions that are inter­est­ing for him about love and feel­ings.

Rule #4: Don’t criticize

“He doesn’t deserve you!”, “Some ugly…”, “Oh, her ears are stick­ing out.” Remem­ber that crit­i­ciz­ing your child’s roman­tic inter­est is not the best thing to do if you don’t want to lose pre­cious trust. Even if you real­ly don’t like the cho­sen one of a teenag­er, you don’t need to talk about it — you shouldn’t like this per­son at all.

On the con­trary, ask your son (daugh­ter) what attract­ed him (her) in anoth­er per­son and aroused roman­tic feel­ings. Believe me, this way you can learn a lot of inter­est­ing and amaz­ing things!

Rule #5: Talk about boundaries

In a con­ver­sa­tion about rela­tion­ships with a child, it is very impor­tant to dis­cuss the top­ic of per­son­al bound­aries and var­i­ous kinds of “for­bid­den”. And this is not at all about how to give the child con­doms and remind about pro­tec­tion (although this is some­times nec­es­sary).

Make sure your teen under­stands what “pri­va­cy” means. Remind that no one has the right to touch anoth­er per­son with­out per­mis­sion and that the rela­tion­ship should be con­sen­su­al and sym­pa­thet­ic. It is good to touch upon the top­ic of equal­i­ty, trust, secu­ri­ty in a con­ver­sa­tion. Healthy roman­tic rela­tion­ships are rela­tion­ships built on sup­port and mutu­al respect.

Here it is also use­ful to talk about the bound­aries of what is per­mit­ted in the every­day con­text. After all, a teenag­er is a per­son depen­dent on his par­ents, so he must under­stand that rela­tion­ships do not auto­mat­i­cal­ly make him an adult. He still has to have a set of rules that he must abide by. For­mu­late them togeth­er. For exam­ple, that it is still impor­tant to come home no lat­er than 22:00, not to stay overnight with your soul mate, not to go on dates to sus­pi­cious places. Invite the chil­dren home — so you can get to know a new friend or girl­friend bet­ter and diver­si­fy the leisure time of young peo­ple with deli­cious pies with tea.

Rule #6: Don’t give advice without asking

Parental advice about rela­tion­ships is not always “on top­ic”. This is because a teenag­er may per­ceive them not as rec­om­men­da­tions, but as crit­i­cism, edi­fi­ca­tion, con­dem­na­tion or ridicule. Or he just already knows what is impor­tant to him now.

Do you want to give real-life advice that once helped you in love? First, ask the child if this can be done, if he wants to ask you about this or that. And do not for­get to men­tion that this advice is not a direct guide to action, but just a solu­tion. But once he helped you a lot to get out of a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion.

Rule #7: Don’t Dramatize Your Breakups

First love, first breakup, first tears… How­ev­er, even if a teenager’s love is not the first, there is no need to dra­ma­tize about this either. No trag­ic lamen­ta­tions!

Some par­ents believe that in this way they share the chil­dren’s sad­ness, pro­vid­ing the child with a kind of sup­port. Like, I under­stand how you feel, I’m just as sad, emp­ty and bit­ter. First love — and such an expe­ri­ence!

You don’t need to do that. Describ­ing your own hor­ror and despair, you do not help the child to get out of this whirlpool, but only keep him com­pa­ny in expe­ri­enc­ing these feel­ings, as if dou­bling them. It would be wis­er to express sym­pa­thy and under­stand­ing and ask what would be sup­port for a sad child now.

Break­ing up is a real­ly painful stage for a teenag­er, often it makes you doubt your­self. The best option in this sit­u­a­tion is to help a per­son to speak their emo­tions or write them on paper. Offer var­i­ous leisure options, share your expe­ri­ence of part­ing, watch a sad movie togeth­er, give sim­ple instruc­tions that will load your head and hands. All this, of course, with­out undue pres­sure.

Rule #8: Warn about unhealthy relationships

Anoth­er impor­tant rule of talk­ing with your child about rela­tion­ships is to warn them that some­times they are unhealthy.

Respect for your soul mate, for its val­ues ​​and per­son­al bound­aries is the basis of love. But some­times you can notice alarm bells that warn: stay away from this per­son. The list of such calls includes: cru­el behav­ior (not only with the cho­sen one, but also with ani­mals, friends, rel­a­tives), insults, con­dem­na­tion, sug­ges­tion of guilt, inva­sion of per­son­al bound­aries (both phys­i­cal and moral — jeal­ousy, con­trol, sur­veil­lance and etc.).

It’s nev­er too ear­ly to talk to your child about rela­tion­ships. And the more con­fi­den­tial such con­ver­sa­tions, the bet­ter. They not only help devel­op empa­thy, emo­tion­al intel­li­gence, but also allow you to com­pre­hend dif­fer­ent forms of love (for exam­ple, mak­ing cocoa togeth­er, mutu­al sup­port, find­ing com­pro­mis­es, hugs, walk­ing in a beau­ti­ful park, or a note with nice words).