Dealing with children and ‘young love’

Young love sounds appalling and is detested by many. In fact, without proper guidance some parents could find themselves dealing with premature grandparenthood! This sensitive topic should not be taken lightly – both parents and teachers should address this effectivly as they can.
While still young, these Kigali Harvest School pupils will grow up and begin exploring relationships. Photo David Winston Hansen.
While still young, these Kigali Harvest School pupils will grow up and begin exploring relationships. Photo David Winston Hansen.

Young love sounds appalling and is detested by many. In fact, without proper guidance some parents could find themselves dealing with premature grandparenthood! This sensitive topic should not be taken lightly – both parents and teachers should address this effectivly as they can.

In an article by Zora Neale Hurston, ‘What to Do When Kids Fall in Love’, the opening line stated ‘Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.’

The author added that when kids fall in love, parents are baffled and don’t know how to respond to the situation or help kids make sense of their feelings. However, the same happens when their kids don’t seem interested in dating at all.

The article emphasized that the greatest fear a parent faces when their child is in love, is questions about their sexual activity. The author advised parents to always create safe ways to talk about attraction without attaching a bias to sexual orientation, which children pick up right away.

In an interview with Women Today, Maureen Mirembe, a teacher at Sparrows Parents School in Kabuga and mother of two said that dating is not bad as long as the relationship is streamlined for them.

“I have a daughter currently in senior one. as a teacher and a parent we always educate children about the importance of having friends. When they grow up and come to talk to us about boyfriends/girlfriends, it is not wise to tell them that what they are doing is not right. We have to support them,” Mirembe said.

The 31-year-old teacher emphasised the importance of talking to children about dating.

“Dating doesn’t mean that children are going to have sex. In fact, when teaching the reproductive system in Primary Six, we make it clear to them that you can start having sex and produce babies only when you are married like daddy and mummy did,” she explained.

If you want your child to freely talk to you about their feelings, as a parent it’s important to be calm and avoid overreacting. Openly ask them what they like about the person and how the relationship makes them feel.

Take a moment to have a friendly or informed discussion about the dangers of an early intimate relationship. This will help you and your teenager handle the matter without necessary causing friction. Gone are the days when children seemed naive and clueless. These days, they are well aware of love, sex and everything a parent does NOT want them to know.

Forbidding their ‘love’ might cause more harm (than good)! They will become secretive - and that is where the problems really start!

 

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