Whether your teenage daughter spends her days penning love notes to a crush or your son dreams of how to celebrate his girlfriend's birthday, love can have a variety of impacts on teenagers. Though you may consider it infatuation, understanding the science of love may help you appreciate your teen's new feelings.
Why Do Teens Fall in Love?
It could be his voice or it could be her looks that cause attraction during the early stages of love. According to KidsHealth, during the early teen years, love may be more about having fun, getting to know others or learning how to give and take. Dating and love may also be status symbols. And as your child nears the end of her teen years, love may be more about commitment than status. During every stage of love, your teen's body is being flooded with hormonal changes designed to keep her going back for more.
Hormonal Effects of Falling in Love
During the initial stages of falling in love, your son's heart may race and his cheeks may grow rosy, according to the BBC. Increases in hormones like dopamine and serotonin keep your teen thinking about his new girlfriend. This stage of love can also cause teens to idealize his new girlfriend, blinding him to any of her flaws. During the last stages of falling in love, increases in oxytoxin and vasopressin promote bonding for a long-term coupling.
Healthy Love and Relationships
We all hope to see our teens experience respect, bonding and mutual interest in a relationship. Your teen should have a life outside of her boyfriend, and her boyfriend should make an effort to encourage her goals and ambitions in life, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Physical fights, verbal insults, and coercion have no place in a healthy relationship. If your teen's boyfriend is so jealous that he must frequently call your daughter or monitor her whereabouts, contacting the police may be necessary. If your teen struggles with abusive tendencies or codependencies, she may need to see a mental health professional.
Ending a Relationship
Relationships can end for a variety of reasons, ranging from abuse and infidelity to simply growing apart, according to KidsHealth. Teens should, unless safety is a concern, make an effort to break up in person and avoid saying anything unnecessarily hurtful. You may also want to talk to your teens beforehand, asking them to think about what they want and why they want it before they go through with a break-up.