“Do you have a crush?” “Who is your favorite guy or girl in the class?”
These questions are common among teenagers who become curious about love. They enter into relationships and experience what love is like.
Often, teenage love has been viewed as immature and petty. Some parents are greatly concerned about their children’s “puppy love” because young teens can develop inappropriate relationships that have negative effects. Even William Shakespeare, in “Romeo and Juliet,” characterized adolescent love as total abandon that can end in devastating destruction.
This apprehension from adults is understandable. Since love is one of the strongest feelings that can defy rational control, love may affect teens in negative ways with grade fluctuation and emotional hardships.
For example, high school student Jisu Choi reflected on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and told JSR that, “we often went on dates at a local library and tried to study together, but it distracted me more so that I could not concentrate on my work.”
Choi said that, after she broke up with her boyfriend, “I was so sad and [it was] hard to bear those feelings. I often talked with my friends to forget about it and did what I loved to overcome my sadness.”
On the other hand, there are many students who can deal with both their daily lives and relationships.
Jaemyoung Shin, a senior at Suwon High School in Korea in a long distance relationship with a girl in the US, told JSR, “I can’t explain how my relationship affects me in a good way because it is hard to put together in words and talk about love. But the real truth is that I can rely on her, learn from her, be motivated by her, and [we can] share thoughts together.”
He added that love makes him strong and allows him to focus on his own task, which is his preparation for the college entrance exam known as Suneung.
There are ups and downs in all love, and many factors that lead to either positive or negative effects on individuals. What makes a difference is how someone handles relationships, understands responsibilities and priorities in their lives as students, and balances these factors.
Teenagers grow mature by experiencing both sides of love. Before criticizing their petty love, we have to be aware that they learn from it and are able to prepare for their future true love. Love can’t be justified and evaluated by others whether or not the subject is a teenager or an adult.