When I was feature editor of 'TEEN Magazine, we received thousands of letters a month from teenage girls. Ninety percent of those letters were about boys – she liked him, he liked her friend; he liked her, her friend liked him; he dumped her, she wants him back; does he like her, how can she tell?; she used to like him, but she found someone cuter; on and on.
I thought at the time that these girls could probably design a rocket if they channeled the incredible amount of time and energy they spent on guys into something more productive. Yet it's really to be expected – we live in a pop culture that tells girls how to dress, how to walk, how to talk to get the guy to notice you (I myself wrote endless articles at 'TEEN teaching girls how to win male attention).
Regardless of the fact that the vast majority of girls, and women, who enter into a physical relationship with a man that is destined to end wind up feeling emotionally wounded when it's over. Yes, they "get over it," but despite what love songs might say, going through heartache – once or many times – does not make a person stronger, it makes a person scarred. We are a culture that is hyper-sensitive to judgements about what is ethical or unethical; when it comes to right and wrong, moral and immoral, the compass itself has been tossed out.
Parents have become intimidated by those terms, or have simply abandoned that sensibility. Instead of coming to an understanding of the richness, the dignity, and even the mystery of male/female relationships, the primitive instincts have taken over. This problem is compounded by the feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem that so many adolescents struggle with today. The answer clearly lies in re-educating ourselves, as well as our children in this vital area of life.