How I’m Navigating My Daughter’s First Crush and The Inevitable Hormonal Teenage Years

Jul 11, 2022

Sometimes I think about how far the world has come.

I think of our miraculous work in the fields of human rights, politics and technology.

And I find what the human race has done to be an incredible and wonderful progression.

Albeit, with some setbacks.

But as much as change is ever-present, and new feats of discovery and technology are unlocked, I can’t help but notice that some things just don’t change at all.

I’ve always felt it is for this reason that people still read Shakespeare after all of these years. Because what he wrote about just hasn’t changed all that much, like rage, hate, jealousy, joy, passion, love and lust.

Janice Quirt reflects on what she sees as inevitable: the period of time when teens grow distant.

Speaking of Love

When I see my daughter trying to maintain her imperfect relationships, it’s no wonder I have these emerging thoughts about how little has truly changed.

Some things seem all too familiar.

Heck, I even remember my first crush.

It was Grade 4 and “the new girl” had stolen my heart.

She was brave and strong, beautiful and kind.

At recess, she would take the boys and the girls and she would pair us up.

"Some things seem all too familiar."

“OK, now you two are going out. And you two ... oh, you two will be perfect together ...”

We had no motivation to pursue our relationships, it was more like we were imitating what we saw our parents do, yet we would refuse to call it a game.

Back then, it was all very what happens on the playground stays on the playground.

Nowadays, my daughter's computer is set up right beside mine. It offers me a wonderful opportunity to observe her with her friends.

And much like I did at almost the exact same age, my daughter has a crush on someone from her class.

I think their relationship is priceless.

Quentin Janes believes it is possible to be a responsible dad and his daughter's best friend.

Young 'Love'

They are just children, so they don't have any sexual attraction to each other.

In that respect, their relationship is a lot more like some marriages rather than the fleeting and confusing love of hormonal teenagers.

They do hilarious things, like bicker like an old married couple or get offended at a misplaced word here or there. She will blow off like a steam whistle in rage and then two hours later, she’ll wonder: “Why isn't he back online yet?”

When things get touchy between them I am always torn. For example, my daughter and her “definitely not my boyfriend” were both considered for the gifted program. He just barely missed out, and my daughter just barely made it.

Once a conversation went as follows:

“Yeah, you are dumber than me but it's not by much.”

“Hey! I'm smart.”

“Well you are, but you are probably just like one IQ dumber ...”

“You are one IQ dumb!”

He's a proud young man and I am glad he stands up to her.

Even still, I'm thinking: stop this, I know how this is going to end. It's going to end the same way the game ends when you guys play Arsenal 1v1.

It ends with both sides convinced somehow that the other is playing unfairly until someone rage-quits.

But most of the time I don't step in. When I do, I'll say: “Hey, don't call him 'idiot boy.'”  Her response is almost always: “He called me that first.” Or something to that effect.

Le sigh.

Jenn Cox's approach to talking about sex is to answer all of her son's thoughtful question as honestly as possible.

Let It Happen If It’s Harmless

I have always felt that love cannot be taught, it can only be learned.

In my early days, I'm not sure it would have mattered what my parents told me. However breaking the heart of my first real girlfriend by cheating on her, or taking one for granted so badly she walked out on me — these things stick with me to this very day.

We all know they are never going to last. Maybe until puberty, maybe until university, but who knows?

I don't really think that matters.

"I have always felt that love cannot be taught, it can only be learned."

What I do think matters is that my daughter is given the freedom to explore her emotional and, eventually, her sexual desires on her own time in a place that is safe.

I also want to make sure that she knows that we will always support her when things get tough.

I think offering her the freedom to pursue her relationships on her own will encourage her to come to us when she has a problem.

Jeni Marinucci's approach to raising teens is simple: calm down a little bit.

Am I Getting It Right?

As parents we don’t always have the right answers.

Sometimes we’re just guessing our way through it.

I am not always convinced that my ideas are the best ideas. I often think that I should restrict her and I should instruct her but it's not a one-size-fits-all answer.

Should I allow her to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune on her own? Or should I lock her in a box?

In the end, I think I choose the path I do because my daughter has demonstrated herself to be remarkably responsible. If she were reckless by nature or confused on the subject I might be inclined to offer more assistance.

"I certainly hope it ends more like Rosalind and Orlando than Romeo and Juliet."

But she is not. She is brave, bold, beautiful, kind and compassionate.

So I listen to the two of them with joy and pride. I watch them and think about the wonderful things people do that never change.

I think: “What is love? 'Tis not hereafter: present mirth hath present laughter.” 

Sure it won't last forever, but the act is beautiful in its own right. It will end and it will be painful but she will learn a lesson and move on. Likely the lesson will be taught better than I could ever present it.

Although I certainly hope it ends more like Rosalind and Orlando than Romeo and Juliet.

Article Author Quentin Janes
Quentin Janes

Quentin Janes is a writer whose influences include Raymond Kurtzweil, Steven Pinker, Noam Chomsky, Niall Ferguson, Jeremy Rifkin and Martin Luther King Jr — among countless others. He is a putterer, a tinkerer and a fixer of broken things. From bad grades to bad dogs to toilets, kids or drywall, he says he can fix it all.



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