Archive for April, 2014

Young Love

I spent a number of years reading all studies that I could find about teenagers. This was my attempt to understand children as quickly as I could. Against my desires, I was coaching and teaching children. Funny how what I least wanted to do ended up being something I was involved in. Every mention of research on the brain of teenagers I would gobble it up. I still don’t understand them even though I was a teen and am actively involved with my own teens. As someone stated to me, understanding a teenager is like throwing a dark while blindfolded at a moving dartboard.

Youth 2 is experiencing the social experience of interacting with the opposite sex every day. We have instructed Youth 2 on how to treat everyone as a human. What we didn’t teach was dating. Youth 2 developed a crush and the opposite person has a crush on Youth 2. Our open relationship with Youth 2 has kept us informed. Youth 2 has asked many questions about dating such as when the Educator first dated or when I did. We immediately recognized this as an important growth moment for Youth 2.

At the ages of 12 to 14, it is normal for crushes such as my youngest is experiencing. This is a needed developmental moment for all children. This is the period where the opposite sexes are hitting puberty and noticing each other. The question for us is should be quash it like many other homeschoolers or allow this development to take place and be parents by closely observing.

Before I continue, I would like to state I do not mean all homeschoolers quash relationships or their decision is poor. It is my belief that each family and child is different. I have seen both sides of this. There are the instances of parents that are so oppressive that their children grow up social different and it’s noticeable with anyone outside the family. I have also seen the children as being fine. I can not judge and therefore am not judging others.

We took the course of allowing this development to take place. Our youngest has limited interaction with the opposite sex since we homeschool. After school activities and online communication are about the only avenues. This provides for us a better control of the situation not that at these ages it is really necessary to be so close.

It is very fascinating as we observe our youngest experience this crush and learn what to do. Another friend ask our youngest if Youth 2 was going to ask the person to date? Youth 2 answered that he did not understand what was meant. As adults, we think of dating as doing romantic outings with one person along with a little affection such as holding hands or the kiss. To these burgeoning teens it means entirely something else (thankfully!) She responded it meant they spent more time together talking. I believe this was more confusing to Youth 2 for he couldn’t understand how they could talk more.

Our definition of dating is out of the question for Youth 2. Youth 2 is too young and really is unable to date if you look at the circumstances. Their definition is more like friends which I am very happy allow to be maintained.

Over the several weeks this has been occurring, I have noticed a difference in the relationship between the two. Youth 2 is more active in communicating and hanging out with other teens he considers friends. This crush is just what it is, and our youngest is learning a very important social experience. Next will be the eventual break up. The Educator and I know what is going to happen, but Youth 2 will have to experience it.

By the time the season is over, the relationship may burn out. If not, the summer will likely kill it. This is normal and a very important process for developing youths. Relationships whether they are only friendships, crushes or early romantic experiences help to develop the growing brain of children. It is up to us to keep these experiences from expanding beyond the teenager’s capacity of understanding. No matter how much we want to think they’re adults, they are not. Their brains are still developing as ours deteriorates. For us, it is allowing this crush to develop but no further or not until Youth 2 is much older and more mature.