Falling in love for the first time can be likened to going through an emotional rollercoaster ride. For the adolescent, the experience can be thrilling but confusing. Parents should prepare themselves for many questions along with highly dramatic behavior.
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Many mental health experts estimate that a majority of dating adolescents do not actually fall in love. Their relationships do not qualify under mature love which includes sexual attraction, emotional knowing, mutual enjoyment, friendship, romantic excitement, sensitive consideration, and social compatibility, among others. Usually only one or two of these are fulfilled – though feelings are amplified by the fact that adolescents have never experienced them before.
The experience of a first love can be consuming and almost addictive. The level of attachment most dating adolescents have is unlike any other. It must be emphasized that these relationships also are shaded by an incredible amount of fear of losing each other. This is why many first love experiences are often fraught with issues of freedom and possessiveness.
Parents should carefully counsel their children of these extremes, although with the knowledge that their advice might not be immediately absorbed. Teenagers could feel that their parents are impinging on their love and could be pushed to rebel.
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A balance must be reached; one where tension is alleviated and trust between parent and child is established. First love is a highly complex experience, so parents should exhibit patience while their child vacillates with emotion.