Happily Ever After Can Wait

A parent’s arsenal is loaded with heavy ammunition when teaching teens to abstain from sex.  Disease, pregnancy, religious commandment – these are pretty loaded bullet points in the “Wait until you’re married” talk.

But what convincing arguments do we have against falling in love?

Maybe you don’t think there should be an argument against teens falling in love.  My experience is teaching me otherwise.

Love, at an early age, brings a certain kind of responsibility, obligation, limitation that emotionally immature teens aren’t always ready to handle.  It adds stress and worry to what could be the most carefree days in a young person’s life.  Feeling the need to carry someone else’s happiness and well-being on your slender shoulders tends to age you before your time.

I read back through my diaries, and it seems like I was always “in love.”  Except that when I look at the dates, each new “love” tended to be spaced a mere handful of weeks apart.  No one name (until I was an older teen), stayed on the books for more than a solid year.

Because of my own experiences over the last year (plus) in a situation with my young teenage daughter, I see things a little differently, and I’ve become suddenly aware of how often teens are sold on The Great Love Story.  Her favorite books?  Twilight.  Her favorite song?  Love Story (by Taylor Swift).  Her favorite movie?  A Walk to Remember.  All three involve teenagers involved in The Greatest Love of All, A Love to End All Loves.

I never thought I’d say it, but sometimes I am more threatened by these than by ads that show young girls in immodest clothes.  My girls respect themselves too much to know that their body is up for grabs.  But their hearts?  Oh, their hearts are for the taking!

I feel totally alone in my concerns.  Teenage love is widely accepted as innocent and as just part of “growing up.”  I think I agree with that, to an extenet.  I just don’t think that part of “growing up” needs to come so early, or so intensely.  I am a mother shouting against the giddy opposition who roots for Happily Ever After.  And I am determined not to lose my voice.