Adolescence and Falling in Love

By Bhavleen Kaur Sethi

A period of transition between childhood and adulthood is puberty. An adolescent is a stage between childhood and adulthood. Although they are physically and emotionally distinct from children, they have not yet fully developed the traits of adults. Teenagers prepare for adulthood during puberty by developing physically, emotionally, and socially. It is comparable to an adult life rehearsal. Puberty ends, when a person begins to take on responsibility and acquire progressively more duties.

Teenagers' relationships with their family and friends undergo significant changes as they go through changes in their physical and mental development. Family dynamics frequently change as a child reaches puberty. Teenagers desire greater independence and a greater emotional separation from their parents. The focus of a teen frequently switches to friendships and social interactions. This applies to friends of the same gender, friends in the same gender groups, and friends in cross-gender groups. Interest in dating and intimate relationships is sparked by sexual maturity.

During puberty, adolescents first encounter love, just like adults do. Most of this first experience is beyond their control. They lack knowledge of the eternal love that they believe exists. They could make blunders. Even though, there are certain exceptions, relationships during puberty are short-lived. Teenagers go through grief and love pangs when a relationship ends. They experience strong emotions and frustration, which make them miserable and hopeless. It's crucial to understand that teenagers could experience these feelings as being overwhelming. Such emotions can lead to depression throughout puberty, just like they can in adulthood. In comparison to a teenager, an adult can withstand such hardships with more tenacity. To an adolescent, saying "This is nothing compared to what awaits you in the future" is worthless. The best course of action would be compassion.

At any age, falling in love is an emotional roller coaster, but for adolescents, the emotions are perhaps much trickier to control. Teenagers' bodies and brains are developing at a rate that has not been seen since infancy. Young people experience a growth spurt, gain secondary sex traits and transition from a kid to an adult appearance. Physical awkwardness is frequently the result of growth delays; young people may feel ashamed and self-conscious about the sexualization of their bodies or their perceived deficiencies concerning the sometimes unattainable body ideals. Additionally, the adolescent brain has been referred to as "a work in progress," with certain areas developing more quickly than others, which could result in inconsistencies between physical, emotional, and cognitive development. For instance, there may be discrepancies between an adult's physical appearance, increased sex drive, and the mental development necessary for making mature decisions and controlling one's behaviour and emotions.

Reasons Teenagers involve in Relationships:

  • · Lack of Emotional Support: Children seek out other options, such as engaging in relationships with people of the opposite sex, using drugs, and committing juvenile crimes, when they do not receive these emotional ties from their parents. Children with these issues include those whose parents were divorced, adopted children, and children of neglectful parenting.

  • ·  Feels lonely: Children are significantly impacted by the transition in family structure from joint to extended families, which is caused by factors such as westernisation, digitalisation, mass migration, shifting employment patterns, and diminishing socialisation practise.

  • ·  Overuse of Social Media: Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp chat are first used by kids. Compared to their parents, they feel more at ease talking about their feelings and emotions with people of the opposing gender. Children argue with their parents when they are not under their parent's supervision.

  • ·  Conflict between the Parents: Numerous studies have also shown that children who live in single-parent families with adoptive parents (the father or the stepmother) experience more socio-emotional issues. Low socio-emotional difficulties, engaging in interactions with people of the other gender, using drugs, and committing juvenile crimes were all associated with positive parent-child connections.
Being "in love" throughout adolescence is a life-altering experience because it is unlike anything teens have ever experienced before. The event consumes both of them, so they are constantly thinking about one another. Time spent with close friends is frequently neglected since they desire to spend all of their time with this person. Because their connection is integrated, when they are apart, each feels like a smaller, incomplete version of the whole. They are extremely sensitive to one another, which makes them both perceptive to subtle interpersonal cues and often hurt by little slights from one another. Greater intimacy exists than with anyone else. Other connections look shallower in comparison when one feels so thoroughly understood and known deeply.

The joy of having each other might be accompanied by the fear of losing each other if there is a sense of a desperate attachment. As they struggle with concerns of freedom and possessiveness, honesty and deceit, trust and jealousy, unity and separateness, fulfilment and sacrifice, there are also unpleasant conflicts.

To understand the complexity with which their son or daughter is coping, parents must be aware of these conflicts. When harmony is momentarily broken or difficulties are encountered, being in love comes with the price of occasionally feeling extremely unhappy.

When a teenager falls in love while still in high school, parents typically worry. Maybe parents don't want their adolescents to become so mature at such a young age. They might not have confidence in, be at ease with, or be in favour of their son's or daughter's choice of a significant other. They may worry about possible abuse. Maybe they are worried about how likely it is that they will engage in sexual activity. They can certainly try to forbid the union, but by doing so, they risk escalating the desire they are attempting to curb.
Dr Catherine Pearlman

When parents are present, they can befriend the couple, invite them to hang out at their house, offer an understanding response and a listening ear, and express their preferences for how the sexual activity should be safely managed. This is because, in most adolescent in-love relationships, sexual intimacy is sought to validate the emotional intimacy that the couple feels. In general, I think parents should count themselves as supporters than to count themselves as opponents. When children are trying to sort out the complexities and perplexities of love, parents can be helpful sounding boards.

There are several advantages to these in-love relationships that parents might not see. For instance, the couple frequently excuses themselves from much of the wilder partying and troublemaking that goes with high school socialisation by focusing on each other and their time together. The pair socially grows in a way that many of their less-involved peers do not because they share a level of caring with each other that is significantly deeper than that of casual dating situations. They can develop loving traits for future relationships by making an effort to respect the love they feel for one another through attentive and kind treatment.

The majority of high school infatuation relationships end in divorce. When distinct paths split, new directions are adopted, and new possibilities and difficulties arise, they either fall out of love or are unable to overcome the gap that graduation brings. Most of the time, ending a romantic relationship does not come without grief. When the other is prepared to move on, at least one person will feel hurt.

High school breakups of infatuated relationships are very difficult for the one who is severed from the relationship and feels hurt, helpless, deceived, abandoned, or rejected. There are times when the reaction to being dumped in a romantic relationship appears to be sexual.

Young women frequently experience loss-related pain and may react more depressively. They are frequently able to seek out social assistance to help them go through a difficult transition by allowing themselves to feel deeply distressed.

In contrast, young men who are more accustomed to toughening up, stifling anger, and going it alone may react angrily. They could be more likely to channel their anger into managing their grief over a loss.

Therefore, the advice to parents is to treat their teens' relationships and breakups seriously. Don't dismiss them as simply "puppy love" teasing. You should keep an eye out for any indicators of a depressive or angry reaction in your teenager if they are dumped in a romantic relationship.

Family therapist Dr Catherine Pearlman counsels parents to speak less and listen more. He also advised parents to ask their teens questions to learn about their emotions and ideal relationship and talk about their expectations for the relationship and how they want to be treated. Avoid lecturing or minimising. Instead, act as a mentor and source of encouragement when difficulties emerge.

To prevent destructive acting out and to ensure that they are healthily processing the loss as they think about some mature lessons that are painfully learnt when broken love occurs, you should encourage talking about the painful experience.

Love is risky because the person we love the most has the potential to hurt us the most. Love does not always last as long as it feels. Furthermore, we are not always able to judge another person's affection for us on our own.