Teenager’s calf love
“Look at these schoolboys and girls talking of love affairs,” is what a middle-aged lady fired at a party. A host of women joined her. Said one, “Boy friend! Girl friend! That is what they have been talking about at this young age. Funny!” Added another, “Heavens, today’s teenagers are going to the dogs. They care for nothing and boss over the parents.”
Imagine the youngsters’ embarrassment. One of them a 14-year old boy, fired “My foot. Shits!” and walked off along with some of his friends.
The incidence highlights how teenagers and the adults drift apart over something which comes quite natural and which needs appreciation rather than criticism from the elders. Freud has called such adult reactions “downright cruel and unimaginative”.
Why do adolescents resent parental disapproval of their “love”? They are puzzled why they are reprimanded for something which the mother and the father have in plenty ever since they can recall. They wonder what could be wrong in their “love”. Is it some such thing that should neither be had nor talked about? Is “love” a shameful thing?
The parents must bear in mind that love between an adolescent boy and girl is not “just for kicks”. Do not treat it too lightly. If still you do that, it is going to cost you quite a lot. It will cause a big communication gap between you and the teenager. Worst of all – remember, this gap is going to stay and trouble you all through the years to come. You surely would not relish it.
If you are a tactful parent, do not give him the chance to say, “I care two hoots for you. I know how to sort out the things on my own.” For, the fact remains that, though he refuses to acknowledge it, he does need you. Make a wise and sensible reaction to his “love affairs”.
And dissecting the “love affair” is the last thing you should do. Instead, encourage him to develop his relationship at home rather than keeping it a secret from you and demonstrating it to the world on the road or behind the bushes. Do not suspect that the young lovers will indulge in the “ultimate”. They won’t unless your attitude pushes them into precocious experiments.
Most adolescent “love affairs”, don’t you forget, are more of emotional and idealistic attachments. Let these not be spoilt by your overreaction. Right?
A sizeable proportion of boys and girls become “mad” over a “fantasy individual” – say an actor, a singer or someone equally unattainable. The adored object – the “idol” – is used by the teenager as a “model” which becomes the basis of his future dreams.
Why does the teenager choose to fall in love with a particular person? His personality? No. His talent? No. His handsomeness?Again, no. It is his “unavailability”. This cardboard figure would never be able to say him “no” or “yes”. So, he runs no risk of disappointment.
Researchers say that crushes are far more stronger and intense in girls. Girls are known to particularise the object of their devotion with greater intensity.
A boy may fill his room walls with sexy pictures. He would not be dying to know each and every detail about his “model” as girls do.
It would be silly if the parents fuss about crushes. They need to remember that the “idol” is a substitute for the mother or the father whom the teenager is now leaving behind in his attempt to untie the apron strings. More often than not, he is bound to overcome this “turmoil” as and when the time comes.
A psychiatrist friend confides that only in rare instances where crushes continue into adult life and a point of no return seems to have reached that psychiatric intervention may be required. “That”, as he puts it, “happens once in a blue moon in my experience.”