'How To Deal With Your Teenager in Love' with Kimberly Kirberger
WebMD Live Events Transcript
Kim Kirberger, co-author of the best-selling 'Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul' series, shares her wisdom and offers advice on understanding a teenager's love relationships.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Event_Moderator Welcome to WebMD Live. Today we will be discussing how to deal with your teenager in love with author Kim Kirberger.
Event_Moderator Kim is the creator of the best selling "Teen Love" series, and co-author of the New York Times number one best seller, "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul." She is the president and founder of Inspiration and Motivation for Teens, Inc., and involved in several non-profit organizations, including St. Anne's and Yellow Ribbon Project. Kim is also the co-founder of the Teen Letter Project, an organization responsible for answering thousands of heartfelt letters from teens around the country to support and encourage them. Kim is committed to working for the empowerment and enrichment of teens, and has appeared as a teen consultant on several nationally broadcasted radio and television shows. By facilitating understanding and communication, Kim strives to provide teens with more recognition and better treatment within our society.
Event_Moderator Kim, welcome to the show.
Kimberly_Kirberger Thank you. Glad to be here.
Event_Moderator What do you recommend to a teenager who is considering sexual activity?
Kimberly_Kirberger Let's just jump in. I actually don't usually talk too much about that but... it's a very serious thing. I think it's an adult activity and what I usually talk about is, and what I like to encourage is teenagers going slow, enjoying and getting to know what it feels like to be in love, enjoy holding hands, maybe kissing and don't be in such a hurry to partake in what I consider to be adult behavior. Emotionally there's just no way that you can prepared for what a sexual relationship entails.
Event_Moderator What concerns do adolescents have today that they did not have twenty years ago?
Kimberly_Kirberger There's obvious ones like we did not have to worry about getting shot when we went to school, about possibly getting a life threatening disease when we had sex. We did not have an environment that was in such a serious condition. I also feel that teenagers today have many advantages that we didn't have. I think teenagers are being raised with more equality. I think their feelings and emotions are being taken more seriously and that they're part of a generation where we're trying to have more understanding and compassion for what it is to be an adolescent.
Event_Moderator How can a parent make a teenager feel comfortable sharing their feelings about and experiences with love with them?
Kimberly_Kirberger They can't necessarily make that happen and there's nothing wrong if that isn't the case. One thing parents can do is make sure to help their teenager have another adult friend that isn't their parent that they can talk to. It would be great if it was someone the parent trusted. A lot of times teenagers don't feel comfortable talking to their parents about those feelings. They can listen, not jump in and give advice and do their best to show understanding and compassion. That will keep lines of communication open as they can be.
Event_Moderator How would a parent intervene if they thought that a person their teen is dating could be a harmful influence in some way?
Kimberly_Kirberger One thing that I tell parents in this situation is not to focus on the person that they're worried about. For instance, if it's a boyfriend, don't talk to your child about him but talk to your child about them and their feelings. For instance, make sure you teenager knows that love should feel good. If you're in a relationship, the person you're with should make you feel good about yourself and you should be happy. If you're not happy in a relationship, you should consider ending it. A teenager is always going to defend the other party if that's who the parents are attacking. When you make it personal about them, you want to make them think about their own happiness. When you do that, they're much more open to what you have to say.
the_ref_WebMD Who would be an appropriate adult friend, other than a parent, to talk to about relationships?
Kimberly_Kirberger I am that for a lot of teenagers. Anybody that you trust to be wise and someone with integrity, someone with same values that you have; teachers, counselors. For me it was my aunt.