The inevitable 'summer love'

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
It's been sung about by many singers, as in John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's Summer Nights: "I met a girl crazy for me, met a boy cute as can be," writes parenting columnist Ian Munro. 

Ian Munro
Ian Munro
"Summer love" - when you discover that your little darling is now someone else's darling, or at least was for a week or so in January.

It can certainly catch you by surprise when you happen on Sonny Jim or Sarah Jane in close embrace behind the camp kitchen with the offspring of the family you've been camping alongside for a number of years. The offspring in whom they'd never shown the slightest interest until now.

It's guaranteed to stop you in your tracks, uncertain as to what to do next - roar, cough politely or beat a silent retreat.

Many things can next race through your mind, but, principally, have you provided all the right advice? It probably wouldn't have seemed the right time to look for a quiet spot in a busy campground for that talk about the birds and the bees that you'd never quite got to yet.

However, you might have felt that a discreet conversation needed to happen if the holiday still had some time to go and certainly once back home as Sonny Jim or Sarah Jane readied to head back to school with the prospect of a distinctly different social life in the offing.

Deep down you know that this was always going to happen, not necessarily just because of a summer embrace, but just because it's normal. It's not a time to panic but to recognise the growing independence of your teenager and their need to move towards forging their own emotional and physical relationships.

However, there's nothing wrong with a little wise advice at opportune moments.

 • Beware of stereotypes.

 • Advertisements are just trying to get you to buy products, not help make good decisions.

 • Sexual activity and femininity or masculinity are not one and the same thing. You can be popular without having sex.

 • Guys who brag about sex are usually hiding their own fears or doubts. Chances are there's not much happening.

 • You should expect, and accept, that no means no.

 • If you're going to make a good spouse and parent one day, then you need to see the other person as someone whose company you enjoy. The quality of a relationship and all that goes with it will, in the end, determine the quality of sexual activity, not the other way around.

And if the summer romance ended in heartbreak, you might have to work that through with them. Sharing a special time together doesn't always end in a long-term relationship but it can be one of those life moments that becomes a treasured memory.


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