Most Asian parents are against their teenagers getting into relationships and would prefer them focusing on their studies. Well, that is a very rational way of thinking but we\u2019ve all been young too and I\u2019m sure we all know what it\u2019s like to have crushes. The all too familiar emerging feelings of joy just by being in the presence of the person we like. It\u2019s good to keep in mind that your teenagers will also go through that in their life as they grow and here\u2019s what you can do as parents.\r\nDefining dating\r\nYou\u2019d probably be a little surprised to hear terms like \u201cgirlfriend\u201d, \u201cboyfriend\u201d or \u201ctogether\u201d coming from your 12-year-old. But it most probably isn\u2019t what you\u2019re thinking at all, your child may just be sitting with someone special during recess.\r\n\r\nAt this age, children are not exactly ready for a one-on-one interaction of a true relationship despite having crushes on one another. Word would most likely go around in groups about who likes whom and it may include lots of teasing from the other friends but that would be all.\r\n\r\nThe generation in this day and age is different from before, the emergence of technology has changed the way things work and that includes dating. Starting from age 14, dating would probably mean loads of texting, calling and sharing photos online. These are things that parents have completely no control over.\r\n\r\nOnce they\u2019ve reached 15 or 16 years old, most teenagers would have even progressed to hand-holding. Strong romantic attachments are easily formed in high school and things can get serious from there rather quickly.\r\n\r\n\r\nTalking to your teen \r\nIt may be uncomfortable and weird for you but if you\u2019ve managed to find out that your child is in a relationship, try not to discourage them immediately even if you\u2019re against it. Give them your advice and take on the subject then let them think for themselves.\r\n\r\nIn most cases, parents would make the young couple break up upon learning about their relationship. You should know that the more you try to stop someone from doing something, the more they feel the desire to do it. And this isn\u2019t good as your teen may result in hiding things from you and proceed to have a secret relationship behind your back.\r\n\r\nI\u2019m sure no parents would like that. If you want your child to be able to speak to you comfortably and honestly, you would have to be more open about it. We call it \u201cpuppy love\u201d but it\u2019s still a form\u00a0of love nevertheless. It\u2019s important that you respect their feelings and not ridicule their relationship, as long as the other person isn\u2019t leaving negative impacts on your child such as failing studies or drifting apart from friends.\r\nSetting the rules\r\nEncouraging your teen to date does not exactly mean giving them absolute freedom to do whatever they like. Make sure your child knows that you have expectations that they\u2019ll have to meet if they want to keep this relationship going.\r\n\r\nExplain that they\u2019ll have to check in with you regularly when they\u2019re out for you to make sure they\u2019re behaving appropriately. Set rules such as curfews to make sure they don\u2019t stay out too late. It\u2019s also good that your teen is aware that you will need to know who they\u2019ll be with and where they\u2019re going.\r\n\r\n\r\nHelp them cope with heartbreak\r\nFirst breakups can be very painful and this is where parents should come in to make sure that your teen is alright. Unlike adults who have had experience with heartbreaks, teenagers don\u2019t know how resilient the heart is. The first time they experience that sadness, it can seem endless to them.\r\n\r\nParents should treat their children\u2019s feelings seriously. Some children with no correct guidance, love or support may feel suicidal from the depression that they\u2019re going through at the moment. It\u2019s important to acknowledge their pain and assure them that they\u2019ll feel happy again in time.\r\n\r\nIt is actually good that your child has been through a relationship and heartbreak in high school. It can prepare them for future relationships and they will know what to expect or how to handle relationship problems better.\r\n\r\nFor more parenting advice and tips, please visit Motherhood.com.my.