Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love in the Teen Years

First--Happy Valentine's Day!

Now--A quick debate. Are those first stirrings we all generally feel as teens just crushes, lust or might they actually be real love? Having been an educator, I often heard parents and teachers try to explain to wayward kids with their eyes full of stars that what they were feeling for their girlfriend or boyfriend wasn't love. They were too young to feel love.

This theory kind of freaks me out a little. Maybe it's because I always tried to be "ahead of the curve" and being told that being too young for something just makes me mad. I guess soon they'll be telling me I'm too old for things, too. Pah! :p

Do some parents and teachers have it wrong? Are they accidentally (maybe even subconsciously) equating "love" with sexual maturity (maybe even the *ahem* act)? If so, I officially declare that my son won't be old enough to feel love until he's 35! That should keep the heart palpitations (for me, at least) at bay. ;-)

In Romeo and Juliet we understand quite clearly that for Romeo the situation with Juliet equates (at least initially) to lust. Rosaline's not interested and Juliet (the forbidden fruit from the Capulet tree) is a bit naive. Really. Just a bit. ;-) Let's face it--she's easy pickings. Does Juliet feel love? She's willing to do anything to have her Romeo--shouldn't that be part of love's definition (okay, granted, it's part of obsession and addiction's definitions, too...)? Is it that we, as adults, have become just callous enough in our own searches for love that to admit to a tween or teen actually feeling those emotions is--I don't know--a sign of our failure or maybe our own loss of innocence?

In Twilight, the lust thing is obviously present (initially Edward's having blood lust and Bella's continually raving about his beauty). And, since I've only recently gotten through the second book (and buying hardcover is a financial commitment I can't just do at the moment) I can't judge the series overall (or its character arcs) but it seems to me that they are moving towards a love relationship. They make sacrifices for each other, they do stupid stuff when they can't be with each other (which my husband still accuses me of doing--although it's generally checkbook related and not motorcycle linked--like in New Moon ;-). Isn't that love? It's at least a twisted sense of loyalty...

I guess my point is, if a tween or teen believes they're in love then aren't they? If you believe something, it becomes your reality--at least for a while. This isn't to say a teen won't look back in their twenties and proclaim what they thought was love wasn't--that's their prerogative. But is it our prerogative as adults to tell teens what they're feeling (or capable of feeling) now?

Just curious,
~Saoirse

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