How to talk about love and infatuation with your teenage child
Expert session Question & Answers

Is it really necessary to talk about these topics with them or can we just leave them to discover on their own? (like it happened for most of our generation)

Not advisable.

What is the right age to start this conversation?

Any time after 11 years of age.

Is it better if the mother speaks about it to the daughter and father with the son?

No such specifications in today’s generations. I as a counselor have to speak to all genders regarding the same topic.

I have had a general talk with my son. I had taken him to see the play growing up at prithvi. We recently spoke about attraction especially to girls. I explained to him it's normal and he may want to spend more time with that particular girl whom he is attracted to. I have explained that all this happens but as of now the focus should be on studies. I explained how his dad and I have been in love. However we took a decision only after my husband had a stable job and I had completed my MBA. I have explained that it's best to have many friends of both the sex and he can decide to go exclusive after he has a job. Is this alright?

This is one of the good techniques to explain children. Nothing more to advise.

How do we make them understand it is normal to have infatuations but they shouldn't let it affect their studies and other activities?

There’s basically a set of rules in psychology for teenagers, for example, maintain a close bond (good rapport) with your child.

After repeatedly making them understand, if a child is not able to come out of the situation then how to deal with this?

Visit a Counselor. But still the query is how did you explain? Or maybe who explained?

What if the kids are even younger than 11, say 8 or 9, can we talk to them about such topics?

For today’s generation, yes we can.

Children understand everything whatever is being said to them but exposure to gadgets doesn't allow them to accept ground realities. These days they have vast exposure through social media. What should be done?

Explain the importance of Time / Space / Independence and correlation with Gadgets. Do you think anyone can stop it ? We always keep saying this. But then we must remember that our generation has been taught to fight with odds and still survive. We have to do the same. Use the same gadgets to tell them the Beauty of Companionship, difference of fact and fiction, importance of financial stability.

How to begin such conversations especially with young children?

Start with whatever the child is comfortable with, maybe talking about sports and friendship, or may be any specific subject in school and the teacher. See basically infatuations are mostly for teachers in a specific subject.

We usually tell children to share everything with us however when children share about love or infatuation, as parents may want to define it, somehow parents say "beta abhi yeh sab ka samay nahi hai. Padhai pe dhyan do." I am yet to understand a right time and place for love because I believe it can happen anywhere anytime. As a parent I would want to leave everything at that moment and sit to talk out the whole thought and feeling with my child. Please advise how parents should ideally go about it.

Perfectly true. Listen to your child. Understanding them without being judgemental is very important. Love can happen, but is it really Love or infatuation (first you try to understand the difference). As a parent, I advise all to be calm and Explanatory; Have Open discussions (without any hesitations). Don’t feel that only a father can talk to a son or a mother can talk to a daughter. We psychologists talk with equality. Primarily be a good listener and don’t be judgemental.

Let us be clear that I am talking about infatuations – when a child feels some fascination about some individual of the same age or generally of older / higher age, because of physical attractions. Kids get various exposure but in a wrong way, resulting in incorrect understanding. Parents can only and should talk to them.

I really wonder what limit to fix for children. Is it okay to go out with a guy for a coffee?

Fantastic idea, but why not in general everyday talk ? Is there any harm or you want to highlight that topic. Communication with your child doesn’t require a specific occasion. Speak anytime, anywhere.

My dad had always been very clear and open while talking to us, so that is why we never dealt with these problems as teenagers. Now it is different.

Yes, earlier generations in many situations were very open and clear. Hence perhaps we never required any Psychologist or Counselor. 

But today my kids at age 14 and 15, though I'm being open and clear to them whenever I take them out, I still feel some things are lacking.

Attend some parenting guidance workshops in the summers this year.

Should I expect that my daughter comes and tells me on her own if she has a crush on someone?

May or may not be. Kids /teenagers around me / my family come and tell me, they share everything with me. So I advise, you try to develop a close bonding and the child needs faith in you to tell you.

Can we have a hypothetical conversation here like it may happen between a parent and a child? It may help in more clarity.

Unfortunately not possible today as the session will be over. But for sure, we can do it sometime later.

Here I take help of my brother who is very close to my kids. They also understand him better. Is this alright?

But he’s not the parent. He can be a good guardian but then still some things may slip out.

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Abhra Pratip Ray –  How  to talk about love and infatuation with your teenage child

Abhra Pratip Ray – How  to talk about love and infatuation with your teenage child

Abhra Pratip Ray is a Professor, Teachers’ Trainer, Educator, Psychometric Trainer, Counselor. He is the owner and Director of Pinnacle EDUCARE(An organization into research of Behavior of senior secondary students and behavioral therapy) and Rays Academy and has been awarded as the ‘Best Teacher by Image Achievers Welfare Forum, Mumbai and the Best Education Mentor award from Brands Academy, Delhi’. He has written 39 research papers into Educational behavior of Adolescents. Abhra Pratip Ray has recently presented a research paper in a state level seminar. His expertise lie in Parenting & Mistakes, Empowering Girls, Early Adulthood, Parental Rights, etc.