Help! My Kid Falling in Love. What Should I Do?September 16, 2021
Falling in Love is not a crime but everything has an age!
My 9-year old son has a crush on a girl. He is one year older than her and she attends a Catholic school. Although he hasn’t seen her in months, his affection for her has only grown. He called her mum to arrange a Zoom date but ended up with a voicemail. Also claims he dreams about her. He speaks endlessly about their common interests (a love for dragons). There
This kid is a bad boy: He loves big, fluffy, and has a lot of heart. It’s the best and whoever he would be falling in love with would be lucky in the future.
The way we feel love has changed drastically since the heart-pulsing, sometimes crushing experiences of prepubescence and adolescence. We have a better understanding of what it means for someone to love us. It is not the same thing as an attraction. We all know that love is not about being selfish and that it’s more valuable to give it away than receive it from others. While mutual appreciation for dragons is a great start, it doesn’t make you a better person or help you build your life.
Parents face a problem when trying to explain this to their children. Real love is not the same as the romantic fantasies of Disney movies and Valentine’s Day cards. Although Ralph might let Lisa Simpson know that he “Choochoo-choos” him. His heart would remain broken.
Parents have to shoulder this burden. How can you teach your children to love, but not crate their wild puppy hearts? How can you help them prepare for a life full of crushes and flings, promise romances, heartbreaks and hopefully true loves?
There are several strategies. There are a few options, but it all depends on you and your child.
Love and Neuroendocrinology for Curious Kids and Realist Parents
This delightfully dry definition is the highlight of one of the most fascinating scientific papers on the topic of love.
“Love is an emergent property an ancient cocktail of neuropeptides & neurotransmitters.”
This is to say that love does not come from emotion. Love is the result of complex hormone interactions which keep people bonded. Krishna G. Seshadri, a study author, argues that love is an adaptive mammalian trait that makes it easier to raise children. Seshadri claims that human brains and bodies have developed chemical pathways to help us bond and keep our species together.
Falling in Love and It’s Science
Love is a biological process isn’t always easy. It’s a journey we may take many times in our lives.
Strangely, love can start with stress. Men and women are both flooded with norepinephrine and cortisol in the early stages of romantic relationships. This seems to have a good reason. Cortisol, a stress hormone that makes people more alert, might help to overcome fears about a new relationship. Norepinephrine, which is a stress hormone, also increases alertness and leads to increased energy. It can also cause symptoms such as lovesickness like loss of appetite and racing heartbeats.
However, as unpleasant as some of these hormonal reactions can be, they can all be controlled by the next big player in the game: oxytocin.
The feeling of closeness and bonding is associated with oxytocin. It raises body temperature, reduces anxiety and depression, and promotes protective emotions. It is more common after stress in the early stages of a relationship and may reinforce the idea that bonding is good because it can ease some of the pain associated with falling in love.
Our first love experience is a result of oxytocin. Parents flood their newborns with oxytocin after they have given birth. For oxytocin release, skin to skin contact is especially important. Breastfeeding causes the hormone to be released in mothers. Moms receive the greatest oxytocin boost and dads also get the benefits, especially when caring for their children.
Although touch is essential for the release of oxytocin in the body, it can also be released after eating chocolate. This may explain the Valentine’s Day association of the former with love and its popularity as Valentine’s Day treat.
What is it worth for children to learn? A child who is in pain from a crush will likely be content to know that they are not wrong. Their body is doing what it does. This can be a source of comfort. It’s comforting to know that we are made for love. It’s a biological necessity, but we also have the luxury to think rationally. You can still choose your path.
Neuroendocrinology is also a love story about mindfulness. We can pay attention when we are aware of what is happening in our bodies and when we have started falling in love. Without fear, we can feel and name big emotions. It is possible to lose love, but know that we will always love again.
Love and Social Learning Theory for Cautious Kids and Quiet Parents
Albert Bandura, a psychologist, is the one who instilled the idea that humans learn to be human through observation of human behavior. This idea makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it. We would still be living in trees if we could learn every social norm by trial and error. It is crucial to be able to observe and learn from others how they behave. It is far easier to observe and learn from others than through instruction.
Bandura discovered this through his famous Bobo Doll experiment. Children were subjected to an adult model who would verbally or ignore a clown-faced Bobo doll. Bandura discovered that children who had been exposed to adults’ violent interactions with the Bobo doll were more likely than those who were left alone to play with the doll. They were also more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior when compared to other toys.
Social Learning Theory of Falling in Love
Social learning theory doesn’t only address negative behavior. You can also promote positive behavior. Researchers from McGill University in Quebec and the University of Michigan published a study last year that found children who were close to their parents had better outcomes.
The study originates from Nepal. It consisted of respondents to the Chitwan Valley Family Survey since 1995. The study separately began asking spouses the questions. But simultaneously, about their feelings of love and devotion to their partner. Decades later the next generation went through the same study.
Researchers discovered that those who love their partner “very deeply” are more likely to have children who stay in school and marry later in life. These qualities indicate social health in Nepal. Higher education means better prospects for many. The delay in nuptials shows that adolescents aren’t leaving home to find young marriages.
Research shows that children are happier and more healthy when they are surrounded by love. This is not because their homes are safer, but because they are more likely to be exposed to warmth, good feelings, and kindness. The children benefit when their parents love one another, and not just to them.
Perhaps teaching children to love and what it means is as simple as loving your partner right in front of them. It may be signs of affection that cause some children to squirm, but it also refers to the work of love. It’s all about demonstrating communication and compromise in times of conflict. It is about showing empathy, understanding, and selflessness for another person’s well-being.
Just fills homes full of love when parents and children are inseparable. Children grow up with this love. They learn to love beyond the first glances and heart palpitations.
Parents who are not good at speaking or prefer to show rather than tell. Loving your partner can be just as effective, if not more, than a lecture about love.
No matter how we teach our children about love, we must celebrate the love that they are finding in their own way. It is amazing to see children love. We’d be lucky to remember to love so easily.
We can help our children to love more by helping them understand the origins of love and how it works in our family. It would be very beneficial for the world if more people loved better.