Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Teenage Romantic Love and Relationships

From Romeo and Juliet, to Pyramus and Thisbe and beyond, teens have been teeing off parents in their romantic choices for thousands of years.
If this has been going on that long, what chance do we have in getting today's teens to do any better?
Just the facts, Juliet:

  1. It is in a teen's DNA to want to experience romantic love. Remember, people didn't live long past their 30's for most of recorded history, so families were being made right after puberty.
  2. It is also deeply ingrained in teens to challenge authority. This would come in handy when caveman "B" didn't want cave-teen "C" to rub those sticks together and make that fire thing because that wasn't what grand-cave-pa "A" did.
  3. It is very much part of every teen to want to be part of a collective. Back to our cave - the more people together, the less likely that you are to be the saber-tooth's Happy Meal.
So how does this play out for today's teens, if it is in their DNA to want the above three things which puts them at odds with their families? Throughout history, we have had many elders that the upcoming generation could go to and learn from about different ways of being. It was through ritual, tribe, and faith (with a special nod to fear) that the clans survived.
Transposing that into today's world: We have supplanted romantic love with inhuman cosmetic ads and reality TV shows with medically altered contestants. We have replaced the authority of family with scientists (9 out of 10 doctors proscribe bland-ex) and our predilection for tribes shows up for the best and worst in flash-mobs and social media.
Can you blame a kid for feeling messed up about romance? How do we model romance in a world where companies spend billions of dollars a year convincing us to consume stuff to compensate for the inadequacies that they convinced us we had?
Five facts about romantic love:
  1. The best thing a father can do for his daughter is love his wife.
  2. The best thing a mother can do for her son is love her husband.
  3. Taking the time for each other as parents and showing one's affection for each other creates a great model for romantic love.
  4. Arguing with each other using healthy conflict-resolution skills will help your children in many future situations.
  5. Taking quality time with your children, from reading to them in bed to letting them teach you what they have learned, or sharing their hobbies with you, empowers them and allows them to seek out similar people who want to embrace the best in life.
To sum it all up: Romance, rising above your parents, and finding like-minded people can become the passing of the torch to your teens in the very best of ways if we commit to loving, healthy relationships and bring these qualities into our daily family lives.
And for those who can't - there's always bland-ex.
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