Helping Teens Think and Talk About Love


Two young people enjoying on the grassHow do teens think about love? Are there different kinds of love?

This is a subject that is on teenagers minds and it’s something they discuss with their friends. But how about discussing it with their parents who have more experience and some wisdom on the subject.

How do you approach the topic? Where will it lead? There’s only one way to find out. Bring the subject up!

How Parents Bring Up the Subject of Love

Some parents tell their children frequently that they love them from the time they are tiny tots. Other parents are more reserved when it comes to using that word not only with their children but with their romantic partners.

So different children are exposed to the word, love, often, rarely, in different contexts, casually, deeply, randomly and purposefully.

Taking that into consideration as the background of your choice to bring up the subject for discussion with teens is a first step. For teens who discuss philosophical questions easily and enjoy it, bringing up a discussion  about love may feel fascinating and relatively comfortable.

But teens who don’t ever have discussions about values and emotions may find the subject startling. However, if you’re so inclined, don’t let that stop you. Teens want to learn about love. They want to feel loved, give love, and understand how you know what it is.

On a quiet day when you are alone with your teen you can simply say, “Do you ever think about love?” It’s an open ended question. You won’t know where it will go but you will probably learn a lot about your teen and they’ll learn about you. This builds strong connections and the groundwork for thinking about abstract concepts that mean a great deal to them.

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Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author who does psychotherapy with infants and parents, children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Hollman’s new book: Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and She writes about infant, child and adolescent development, mental health, Parental Intelligence, and a broad range of parenting topics.


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