Fairy tales paint a rose-tinted version of what love is, which is why it is up to us to teach our kids about the complexities of life. For one, children should know that love does not always involve knights in shining armor and happily ever afters. Similarly, people who tease them should not be told that they have a crush on them.
Abuse is not loved.
If your kids come home complaining that other kids are bullying them, don’t tell them that’s because those mean kids have a crush on them. Letting them think this way is going to teach them that cheating is a sign of love and that it is not safe.
There is give and take in love.
Wanting to dot on your kids is easy and allowing them to receive all your love and attention. But they should also know they can’t be on the receiving end alone. We should also be able to compromise and give love to others as much as we deserve love from others.
Loving others does not mean you need to love yourself less.
Your kids need to know that they should not sacrifice themselves and bend backward for their loved ones when they love someone. Certainly, in any relationship, compromise is important, but they shouldn’t love themselves less to love someone else. Children learn from looking at the relationship of their parents.
Respect is crucial in love.
Children should know that they should go hand in hand with respect and love. We are supposed to earn respect from others and support others. Like any other person, they should also be taught that they deserve respect. It can be toxic to love without respect.
Loving yourself is the most important kind of love.
Kids need to know the difference between selfishness and self-love. Although they should be taught not to trample on others for their own benefit, they also need to know how to accept who they are for. They shouldn’t just change to fit in a mold and be loved by somebody.
Sometimes love does not last forever.
Romantic comedies can lead your growing kids to believe a lifetime of love. But the truth is that love is fleeting, and it’s better to end a relationship and move on sometimes. They need to understand that there was no waste in all the moments they spent while in love. These have been lessons in the future for a better experience.
Long-lasting love requires effort.
Young people need to learn that they need to put effort into it to last for something as fragile as love. If someone they love is worth it and willing to make as much effort as they are, it is not difficult to have long-lasting love.
Sometimes someone you love does not love you back.
Of course, as parents, you’re trying your best to give your kids all they want and need. Yet circumstances are still beyond the control of anyone, and your kids need to come to grips with not getting what they want. One-sided love will bring a lot of heartbreak, but to let go, they must know. If they already know what to expect and know that you will be there to support them, the experience will be less devastating.
Love should make you a better person.
There are many kinds of love and your children need to realize that they deserve the kind of love that makes them a better person. Let them know they should be encouraged by love to have a brighter future and to be a good person.
Love is not just rainbows and butterflies.
Romance is not all about the beautiful things, contrary to what fairy tales would have us believe. For example, children need to be prepared for the less beautiful part of love, challenging their trust and challenging their loved ones. Often sex, in real life, in fairy tales, is nothing like love.
Would you believe that kids need to know these? What else do you think you need to know about love for children?
Illustrated by Leisan Gabidullina