How to Talk to Your Child About Romantic Relationships

Blame it on the movies or television or Internet, but your child will approach you one day and ask about romantic relationships. It’s an unavoidable topic especially if the child is having his/her first crush and doesn’t know what to make of the feelings.

Here are some tips on how to discuss caring and healthy relationships and why they need your consent.

Romantic Love versus Platonic Love

You might have heard some kids express how they want to marry one of their parents or their siblings when they grow up, but don’t worry, because most child psychologists will tell you that there is nothing romantic or sexual about the child’s feelings. Children cannot yet distinguish between romantic love and platonic love, that is why try to respond as neutral as possible. It’s just how the child expresses his/her love for family members the best way he/she knows how.

Don’t Use Guilt and Anger

If you feel uncomfortable about how a child is behaving towards others, do not put him/her on the defensive by focusing only on the behavior, because that is not the cause of the problem.

If conflicts arise in school because your child is trying to chase another child he/she likes, talk to the child about how bullying should never be used to express feelings for another person. Some kids might resort to hurting, teasing, and name-calling other kids that they like, but calmly explain that these will only frighten or possibly start fights with other kids.

Find Time to Talk About Your Experiences

How children will handle their romantic relationships in the future is reflective of how you and your partner interact. The parents are their models for communication, human interaction, and respect, even if their friends, classmates, and media can also affect how they think about romance in general. However, you can use media for example to discuss things you’re not comfortable starting a conversation about. Encourage friendship and love for people, because this is the best way to practice empathy, kindness, and respect—all important factors in any relationship.

Offer Advice but Let the Child Deal with It

When your child is going through puberty, it’s also usually the time he/she experiences his/her first love and heartbreak. Most child psychologists will advise you to refrain from giving the child ideas on what to do based on your own experiences, and do not belittle or embarrass them for their feelings.

Do not assume that the other person is bad for your child, because it would be better to let him/her figure out what to do with the feelings. Make him/her understand that there will be ups and downs when it comes to love, and that chemistry alone between two people sometimes is not enough to create lasting and fulfilling relationships.

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