Talking to Your Children About Myths Regarding Love

April 16, 2019
Myths regarding love and romance can end up being extremely dangerous. Help your children establish healthy relationships by encouraging self-love and critical thought.

It’s important to discuss common myths regarding love and romance with your children. For example, there’s a popular belief out there that finding love is the most important thing in life.

Without us even noticing, movies, books and music have become highly influential. The messages they transmit have a major impact on our thoughts and perspectives on life.

But the next generation must understand that fictional stories are just that – fictional. Unfortunately, from the time children are very young, the film industry teaches them a clear but misleading message: Love conquers all.

This affirmation can be highly dangerous for our younger population. If children and youth don’t have a well-established critical mind, they may develop a mistaken perception of reality. In other words, they may come to believe concepts about love that aren’t real.

What are some of the myths regarding love?

Anthropologically, a myth refers to a conjunction of beliefs that society accepts as true, but that are actually false. Anthropologist Levi-Strauss considered myths to be a historical object whose content changes and whose structure adapts to the life of society.

Along that line of thinking, myths aren’t static. Rather, they’re a dynamic and versatile process that adapts to different circumstances and environments. For Levi-Strauss, because myths are considered to be true, they establish models of behavior for society to follow.

Talking to Your Children About Myths Regarding Love

In this sense, myths justify behaviors and attitudes that fit with the message they transmit and that society accepts as true. This occurs with the existing myths regarding love and romance.

Society ends up justifying harmful and violent behaviors in the name of true love. 

Myths regarding love and romance

The “Andalusia Detect Project” (Proyecto Detecta Andalucia in Spanish) compiled a series of fallacies and false beliefs regarding the ideals of love and romance. These myths contribute to the risk of establishing relationships that involve unequal power between men and women in romantic relationships.

The project established a classification of 19 myths, organized into 4 groups:

  • “Love conquers all.” This first group includes myths that transmit the belief that “true love” forgives all. They lead to the normalization of conflict and the compatibility of love and mistreatment.
  • “Predestined true love.” This second group of false beliefs has to do with the belief in finding someone’s “other half.” In other words, the quest for finding someone that completes us. Again, these myths justify having to put up with harmful relationships.
  • “Love is above all else and requires total surrender.” In this group of fallacies, the myths consider romantic love to be the center of everything, the meaning for existence. They lead to depersonalization and the giving up of one’s intimacy.
  • “Love is possession and exclusivity.” This last group refers to myths that have to do with jealousy, giving way to the justification of possessive relationships. “Without jealousy, there is no love.”

Why is it important to teach children about these myths?

Critical thought is the best weapon in the face of these myths. It’s crucial that parents instill in their children a solid critical mind. Otherwise, youth won’t know how to distance themselves from these myths, which lead to the acceptance, normalization and justification of abusive and offensive behaviors.

Teach your children about self-love. Love of self is key when it comes to establishing healthy relationships and avoiding toxicity.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

–Oscar Wilde–

We must teach our children that a healthy relationship is based on trust. Jealousy can lead to the justification of control within a couple – something that should never be allowed.

The myth regarding finding someone’s “other half” sends the message that we can only truly be happy if we have a partner. It’s important to teach children from a young age not to be dependent on others. Teach your children that they’re already complete, and don’t need anyone else in order to be that way.

It’s true that movies that defend the idea of perfect love help us to escape from our problems, but it’s important to maintain a certain distance and objectivity.

Helping children learn to establish healthy relationships doesn’t necessarily mean isolating them from this type of content. Rather, we must help them adopt the right perspective.

A critical mind will help them when it comes to spotting and breaking free from the myths regarding love and romance.

  • Frenández, J.J. (1996). Los sentidos del mito. Análisis comparativo de las visiones de R. Barthes, C. Lévi-Strauss y K. Burridge. Revista Murciana de Antropología, 3, p. 9-20.