If you’re a teenager in love, chances are you’re going through a turbulent period in life. But it is all right because love is a rite of passage in childhood! The rush and blush of having butterflies in your stomach may be confusing, but nothing can compare to the thrill of falling in love or going out on a first date. So, who do you go to for advice when you are young, or rather, simply share how you feel? Well, your parents can be your best bet to deal with matters of the heart. Happiest Health tells you how to tell your parents that you are in love.
What do teens expect from parents?
Parents play an important role in creating a safe space for teenagers to express their emotions, says Ms Maullika Sharma, a counselling child and adolescent psychologist in Bengaluru.
Like most teenagers, Ravina Thakur, 22, an analyst from Durgapur, was sixteen when she developed serious feelings for a guy for the first time. “It was so confusing and exciting at the same time. However, I never planned to tell my parents about this,” says Ravina.
But when she felt confused and lost about her feelings, she turned to her mother. “There has been mutual trust and understanding between us since my childhood, so I went to her for help,” says Ravina. Not only did Ravina’s mother help her navigate her feelings, but she also made her understand the perspective and actions of the person she had feelings for.
“Teens just want someone who listens, without any judgement. There’s a time and place to provide guidance to your child, but parents should first listen to what teens have to say,” adds Sharma.
Teens expect parents to open up about their own experiences of first love, get to know what it meant for them; if their parents were as confused as they are. “This makes it easier for them to express how they feel,” says Sharma.
How to tell your parents you are in love?
Mahalakshmi Rajagopal, a holistic wellness practitioner, counsellor and trainer from Hyderabad, tells why friends are not the right people to provide you with sound advice on how to deal with your first love. “Your friends are also teens having the same emotional maturity and exposure as you but your parents might have gone through the same situation as you. They will listen to you and guide you. All you need to do is tell them,” she explains.
She mentions the following ways in which teens can approach parents to talk about love:
- Take help from a sibling
You can seek the help of an older sibling in the family and try confiding in them. “Older siblings can even help you with approaching your parents,” Mahalakshmi says.
- Tell a story
Mahalakshmi says that if you are apprehensive of approaching your parents, then sharing your feelings by referring to yourself in third person can help teens confront their parents about their feelings.
“At the end of your story, if you are comfortable, you can reveal that it is you who is in love,” she says.
- Write a letter
Verbal approach is not always necessary. If needed, other forms of approach like sending an email, which is very common now, can be taken, according to Mahalakshmi.
“You might not be comfortable confronting your parents face-to-face. So just write to them, because ultimately, you need to communicate,” she advises.
- Have patience with your parents
Mahalakshmi mentions that teens should understand how parents also need time to process what they have to say and respond. “Parents might not take the news of your romantic feelings the way you expect them to, which is okay. Teens also need to understand where they are coming from,” she explains.
“Remember that your parents love you unconditionally,” she adds. So, just tread with a little patience and empathy when you share the story of how you are in love.
- What should you expect from parents
After sharing your story, Mahalakshmi says that parents might ask questions about who the other person is, and whether you are sexually active with that person to ensure your safety.
“Teens might feel like they are being interrogated, but one needs to understand that these questions stem from a place of care and concern,” she explains.
Being in love is a rite of passage in childhood. If you are a teen who is confused about your feelings, you can approach your parents in various ways. They will listen to you and help you navigate your way through teenage love.