Why We Need To Stop Telling Teenagers They're "Too Young" To Be In Love
Is there anything more infuriating to a teenager than being told they’re “too young?” Too young to drive, too young to drink, too young to really be in love. While those first two are legal issues, we say the third one to teens almost as often as we say the first two — and I think that needs to stop. There really is a too young to drink and a too young to drive but there certainly isn’t a too young to be in love.
In fact, most of us fall in the love the first time when we’re teenagers. My first love was when I was 15, when I realized that the boy I’d known since my first birthday party had turned into a hot punk rocker with Kurt Cobain hair. I was smitten and we spent the next two and a half years wrapped up in each other’s arms, sharing clothing, and having sex as often as I could pry him away from band practice. We were disgustingly cute in that way that, I do think, only teen love really can be.
And we were hardly unique. Teenage couples make adults pull faces because they are over the top in ways we’ve learned not to be: You never give your heart away the same way again once you’ve had it broken. Yet we still tell teenagers that they’re “too young” to “really” be in love, over and over again. Here are five reasons I think we should be validating their love instead.
1. You Want Them To Be Open About What They’re Doing
This is the number one reason why it’s important to validate teenage love instead of writing it off. If you make it clear to teens that you think what they’re doing is unimportant or fake or not “real,” then why the hell would they come to you when they need help? And, teenagers need a lot of help when it comes to love and sex. They have a million and a half questions and the best way for them to get those questions answered is without a doubt by a responsible adult who knows and loves them.
Because we all know what the alternative is, don’t we? The Internet. And you know what they say about believing things you read on the Internet…
2. Teenage Love Is Probably The Purest
Many of us don't love like we loved our first love. Teenagers not only have the benefit of never having known a broken heart but they also can’t control their emotions the way (most) adults can. That means they give their all when they’re in love, making it especially ridiculous that we tell them they’re too young to get it.
3. Teenagers Feel Things Most Intensely
As frustrating as it can be for adults who know teenagers, teens feel all of the feelings all of the time. It can seem ridiculous when you’re years from those intense feels yourself but it doesn’t mean those feelings aren’t valid. Don’t write off teenage love because it’s super intense.
4. It’s Alienating
Obviously there is and always will be a huge gap between the teen world and the adult world; that’s just part and parcel of being a teen. However, there’s no reason to make that gap wider. Dismissing teen love is alienating for their teens, which means your interactions are going to be worse, no matter what. Why give yourself more hassle than you have already?
5. It’s Worth Celebrating
Basically, if you’re telling a teenager they’re “too young” to “really” be in love, you’re looking down on them for experiencing one of the most incredible feelings there is. Let's celebrate it instead.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (5)