So your 15-year-old only son arrives home from school and happily confides that he thinks he’s in love with the prettiest girl in his classroom. What’s even more shocking is that the girl also told your son that she likes him too – and your son is going gaga over it! Can you feel the nerves creeping into you? The anxiety and fear of having to deal with your son perhaps telling you one day that his girlfriend is pregnant are dreadful.
Now, he’s blabbing about his new girlfriend’s coming birthday and what he’s going to buy her. “What do you think, Ma? Should I buy Bonnie a dress or perfume? She loves music so I could buy her a CD or something.” Great. From the doting son who comes home and hugs his mom just to get a delicious home-cooked meal, to being crazy over a girl and feeling like she’s everything that matters.
It’s not a very new thing, teen romance. Most of our grandparents married early and started their families in their late teens. However, these days even the little kids have infatuations on friends and celebrities and teens are more engaged in looking for a partner. Being single at 15 is not common anymore, particularly for teens that are constantly hanging out with their friends in the fast lane, those who want to grow up quick because they think they already know better.
Yes, teen romance is normal, but it does have some ups and downs. Below is a list of a few.
- Some teens, like your son, really do fall head over heels in love and their first relationship may survive throughout middle and onto high school.
- Your son is at risk of his first heartbreak.
- He may tend to lose interest in the sports that he used to play or his usual friends, as he’ll be going out with friends of his girlfriend. Also, he might make a lot of excuses about not making it to the yearly family trip.
- The cellphone is the most popular thing you’ll see your son in most of the day, so you’ll have to reprimand him, remind him about the other important things he needs to do, like study.
What To Do
What can a mother like you do about this? Well, for starters, you better keep your cool. Don’t nag or nudge him about something so small just because you want to warn him about being in a relationship. That will most likely prevent you from openly communicating with your son, and that’s not good at all. While you’re on it, maybe explain to him the pros of balancing his early romance with school and his usual friends. Tell him not to avoid his old friends because if he’s going to get hurt or have an argument that he can’t fix, there’s nothing like old friends who can cheer him up and help him get through anything.
To force him to think about school and homework, set limitations as to the time that he can use his phone or the Internet. You can also gently tell him not to buy too expensive gifts, only those that are appropriate for teens like him. Flowers will have to do for now, or his attention and flattery! If the relationship is quite new, please do tell your son not to buy jewelry, as buying a ring or a necklace is too personal and intimate for a teen even to understand. Advise him to buy books or CDs of his girlfriend’s favorite artist. During Christmas, a box of chocolates or candies would be great.
Whatever you do as a mother, do not criticize your son, even if sometimes he might say something that’s too unrealistic. His feelings, as far as he’s concerned, is as real as that of a 30-year-old’s. Communicating with him is the most vital way to know more about the relationship and your son as well. When he’s more comfortable (or if both of you are), talk about more serious matters, like dating and sex, so that your son realizes the significance of the two and that he knows that going into sex takes a lot of responsibility. It’s like being responsible enough not to take drugs or go against the law.
Use your son’s relationship as a stepping stone for communication. Get to know him better – his interests, his friends, his favorite sports, and how he views his relationship with his girlfriend. Listen when he wants to talk about his girlfriend. Have fun together. If you like the girl, then go ahead and let your son know. Take them out to dinner or the movies. This is also one way of knowing what it is the girlfriend wants. If they treat each other well, praise them for it. Finally, give them both enough privacy that you think is appropriate for them.
For your son’s sake, be hopeful that his teen romance will be successful and fun, or at least while it lasts, although many teen relationships aren’t that fun and most end within a month or two. If your son gets dumped and will go through the blues, be there for him. Give him chocolates from mom and dad, or take him to the movies. Keep him distracted so that he won’t think about the heartache, which will feel more painful than we think it is. After a few weeks, he’ll get over it, and he’ll realize that his ex-girlfriend was a jerk or just wasn’t worth it after all.