How to Face Your Child's First Teenage Love

Someone's first teenage love can make them feel on top of the world, or in the gutter. But whatever the case, it certainly makes it mark on all of us. Our role as parents will be so important in helping our adolescent through this experience.
How to Face Your Child's First Teenage Love
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Adolescence is a time of great change, and it’s hard on the parents as well. Seeing our little one starting to get so independent can set off all the alarms, the protective instinct, and the fear that he or she will suffer. These fears can spiral out of control when our child’s first teenage love comes on the scene.

Our child’s first teenage love

With the arrival of adolescence, young people experience changes on both a physical and psychological level. It’s a vital stage. They’ll come face to face, for the first time, with complex feelings and sensations they haven’t ever had to deal with before.

In adolescence, emotions are magnified and experienced with great intensity. Every small event in a young person’s life has a strong impact on their inner state and their perception of life. This is precisely why their first teenage love is so important.

Despite the fact that they’re generally short-term romances, this experience will become their point of reference for future relationships. In many cases, it will also be our child’s first sexual experience. For this reason, it will have an impact on their understanding of intimacy.

How to Face Your Child's First Teenage Love

Furthermore, the type and quality of relationship they establish will influence their self-esteem, their state of mind, and even their tastes. A good relationship can empower our child. It can help them to grow up, and bring them great benefits.

On the other hand, a disrespectful and even abusive relationship can damage their self-image and bring them a lot of suffering.

Teach them to fly and trust in their wings

As parents, we’ll surely all remember the name of our first teenage love. We also remember the mark that the relationship left on our lives. And that’s exactly why fear and doubt can flood us when we realize that our child has arrived at this important moment in their life.

We know that, from that moment on, our little one will have to face such intense emotions as jealousy, disappointment, and insecurity. We’ll also be afraid of them experimenting with sex too early on or of abuse in the relationship. Simply put, we’ll be afraid that this other person will, in some way, harm the most precious being in our lives.

However, it’s vitally important that, when the time comes, parents are able to take a step back and let their child go through the experience. You simply have to trust that you have instilled in them a good education, morals, values, and tools that will help them in their first teenage love.

It’s not a good idea for parents to get too involved in the relationship. However, they do need to be there to provide guidance and support when needed. Strong self-esteem is the best tool for life, but support and a sense of family belonging can go a long way in helping a young person deal with difficult situations.

How to deal with your child’s first teenage love

  • Stay in control. You may not like the person your child has chosen. You may be upset when you discover some of the decisions they’ve made. However, try not to lose control of your emotions – don’t judge, yell, or bully your child. You want them to feel they can count on you, and that they feel able to come to you for help. To do that, you need to show them understanding and support.
  • Talk to your child about what love and sex mean. Remind your child that a relationship should always be respectful, balanced, and satisfying. Emphasize that in a healthy relationship, there’s no room for violence of any kind, and that you shouldn’t stand by anyone who hurts you.
    Lead by example. If a child sees a dysfunctional relationship between their two main attachment figures, then it’s easier for that to repeat in their own life. Try to be a model of self-love, respect, and tolerance.
  • Set consistent rules. Despite them now having a boyfriend or girlfriend, we mustn’t allow them to neglect their obligations and responsibilities. For this reason, we have to ensure that, in order to see their boy/girlfriend, they’ll need to have completed all their school work and home duties.
  • Teach them to manage their time. It’s best to keep to the same schedules and permissions they had before starting to go out with their boy/girlfriend. It’s important that your teen divides up their time between friends, hobbies, and their partner. Emphasize to them the importance of not giving up their essence or giving up other areas of their life for anyone.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Krauskopof, D. (1999). El desarrollo psicológico en la adolescencia: las transformaciones en una época de cambios. Adolescencia y salud1(2), 23-31.
  • Rivera-Rivera, L., Allen, B., Rodríguez-Ortega, G., Chávez-Ayala, R., & Lazcano-Ponce, E. (2006). Violencia durante el noviazgo, depresión y conductas de riesgo en estudiantes femeninas (12-24 años). Salud pública de México48, s288-s296.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.