When your teenager falls in love it can be hard to feel happy about it. Hormones have turned them into a raging bull, you hardly see them and their partner is a constant distraction from schoolwork.
Here’s how to ensure you get the right balance between setting ground rules and keeping the peace.
Knowing when to intervene
Most relationships will face their ups and downs, and when that time comes, it can be easy to point the blame at their partner. Rather than getting involved and trying to solve the problem for them, think about how you can offer advice without interfering and causing more of a rift.
If you can find a peaceful time to talk to your teenager about any worries you may have it will give them the chance to open up about things you may not know about their partner – and give you the reassurance you need.
You just don’t like them
The thought of your teenager being with someone who seems like bad news, or doesn’t fit in your ideals, can be hard. The first thing to do is try and see what it is they see in them. Ask them to tell you about this person and see if there is more to them than meets the eye: “What do they do that makes you smile?” “What is their best personality trait?” are just two examples.
Setting hard boundaries is more likely to drive a wedge between you and your teenager. “It’s important to retain as much connection and relationship with them both as you can manage, even if you can see from the outside that they aren’t going to be the person they marry,” says counsellor and psychotherapist Chrissie Bramwell.
Making them feel welcome
Ultimately, most parents prefer their teenager to not sneak around, so making them feel welcome at your house is a good way to help you get to know their partner – and retain some control over the sleeping arrangements.
Whether it’s letting them snuggle up to watch a film together or be in the bedroom with the door open. “Teenage relationships are going to be intense whether you like it or not. It’s all very new, especially around the 15/16 mark where the hormones are going a bit mad and all they are thinking about is sex,” adds Chrissie.
Remember what it was like to be a teenager
Think back. We’ve all been there. Our children need to experience it too in order to make the right decisions and learn what they want from a partner, but they can only do this if you give them the space to experience falling in love.
You need to be welcoming and approachable to both parties, ensure you spend quality time together, tackle the subject of sex and encourage self-respect on both sides. When you’ve mastered all of that (which is by no means an easy feat) you should find yourself forming a far more meaningful relationship with their partner.