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What parent has not ever asked their son or daughter if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend? The question is not strange, it is normal to have a boyfriend, however, many times we tend to ask it to children who are still not clear about what dating or what falling in love means.
We find it funny to hear children tell that they have a boyfriend at school and that on occasion, they have even kissed. My five-year-old son told me that there are two children in his class who have been married. I explained to him that it was just a game, but he, in his innocence, insistently defended the fact that they were really married because they had already been dating and loved each other. This led me to wonder if children can fall in love.
I asked our experts and they all agreed on a single answer. Children do not fall in love the way adults do. Children are excited, feel affection, empathy or admiration for people around them. In many cases, this person is your teacher.
Teachers are the child's first references outside the family environment. In many cases, they are a role model, they know many things, they treat them with affection and, the children, have great admiration for them. However, the child's feelings towards the teacher cannot be considered infatuation. It is an innocent love before someone they admire.
Another case is love between peers, between children of the same class, friends from the park or from the neighborhood. Children are often attracted to or find common ground with their peers. Experts tell us that falling in love doesn't happen until puberty, as that's when the boys and girls are biologically prepared to release chemicals that regulate physical attraction.
Until then, children call boyfriend or girlfriend those similar with whom they feel an affinity, a love or a more special feeling, however, still are not prepared to unfold their full affective potential nor are they emotionally mature enough to be able to feel love for a fellow man as an adult does.
Sometimes children say that they are in love with their parents' mother or girls, and we all understand that it is a filial love and not like that experienced by an adult couple.
Thus, finally, we can say that children fall in love understanding it as a joke or a game, but we cannot speak of formal infatuation, like that of a teenager or an adult.
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