My youngest child is only 15 but she has been going out seriously with her boyfriend Francis for almost two years. In that time, our families had grown close and together, we supported the young couple.  What made it easier all round is that both our families share the same values, the same faith, the same beliefs.  Here they are, the young couple, in church, with our priest Father Peter:

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Now, G is not Miss Goody Two Shoes. She’s full of life, mischievous, popular, outgoing, impatient, fearless. She wants to run out with arms widespread to experience all that life has to offer her……and of course, there are other boys all too ready to give her the experience.

People tell us, she is only 15, she should ‘live her life’, ‘experience’. Why give everything to one? It won’t last anyway. Teenage love seldom does, people say, it all breaks up when they go to University.

The outcome of this relationship is not the issue. We don’t have any expectations that she and Francis will marry and live happily ever after, though I met her father when I was still a teenager. I have no regrets because I learned from my Ma that extensive menu does not give you the best food.

They are both supported in this relationship because they are learning a very important lesson: how to be someone’s husband/wife in future. Like most couple of any age, these two have problems. Probably more than older couples, because of exam pressures, uncertainties about their future, parental constants, peer group pressure and hormones. So much easier to break-up right? At 15 and 17, nobody would criticise them for breaking up because that it what teenagers do.

Proud to say, not these two. They have a stronger backbone than many adults. As we often tell G, NO BAILING OUT. That’s her threatening to bail out but we have raised her differently, to stay and fix problems rather than bailing out to find cheap and fast solutions elsewhere.

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