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Puppy love, also known as a crush, is an informal term for feelings of romantic love, often felt during childhood and early adolescence.[1] It is an infatuation usually developed by someone's looks and attractiveness at first sight. Such feelings fade away when the object of attraction stays out of sight for a while, whereas the feeling of real love takes a long time to develop and does not fade with time and or in the absence of the other.[2] It is named for its resemblance to the adoring, worshipful affection that may be felt by a puppy. Puppy love typically lasts between 2 months and 2 years, and is thought to be fueled by preadolescent hormones. Some scientists, however, think it is initiated as a result of the natural development of the brain at the onset of preadolescence.[3]

The term can be used in a derogatory fashion, presuming the affair to be shallow and transient in comparison to other forms of love.[4] Sigmund Freud, however, was far from underestimating the power of early love, recognizing the validity of "the proverbial durability of first loves".[5]


Puppy love is a common experience in the process of maturing.[6] The object of attachment may be a peer, but the term can also describe the fondness of a child for an adult. Most often, the object of the child's infatuation is someone years older, like a teacher, friend of the family, actor, or musician, about whom the child will spend their time daydreaming or fantasizing.[7]

A crush is described as a coming-of-age experience where the child is given a sense of individualism because they feel intimate emotions for a person not part of their own family.[8]


In 1950, China promulgated the Marriage Law, which established a new democratic marriage system of monogamy with freedom and equality as the core concept. Among other things, the Marriage Law stipulated that "a man may marry at the age of 20 and a woman at the age of 18."[9] However, since the 1960s, as China's population growth problem became more pronounced and the years of education were extended, the concept of "late marriage and late childbearing" began to be commonly advocated, followed by the formation and stigmatization of the concept of "early love."[10] As late as the 1990s, China continued to crack down on "early love" among college students.[11]

After the new marriage law came into effect in 1980, the legal age of marriage in China was adjusted to "no earlier than 22 for men and 20 for women."[9] The act of "early love" was considered contrary to the policy of the time, and was increasingly rejected by social values and equated with "feudal superstition" and "obscenity and pornography".[citation needed]

In recent years, with the change of family planning policy and the gradual opening of the concept of marriage, the age range of "early love" is basically narrowed down to junior high and high school years.[12] However, under the academic pressure of "one exam for life" and the traditional concept of marriage, schools and parents still have a negative attitude towards the phenomenon of "early love", worrying that the youthful love will take up the energy of the children and have a negative impact on their studies and their health. Therefore, the current social environment is not conducive to early love. Therefore, the current social environment for the phenomenon of "early love" is still based on preventive measures, do not support or advocate, if it happens, the school level may intervene depending on the situation.[13]

Reasons for support

Reasons against

Counterpoints to the reasons against

Numerous empirical observations prove that the negative effects of relationships on students are more often the result of inappropriate parental and teacher interventions. These inappropriate interventions often lead to conflicts between students and their parents and teachers, and deteriorate the educational environment for students' growth. Most parents and teachers in practice are opposed to do so, and are highly tense and hostile, adopting strategies such as criticism and even family scolding, which are naturally not conducive to students' growth, as some empirical studies in mainland China have also shown.[19] As for the argument that love distracts from learning, energy is not constant, and the amount of energy a person has at a given time is highly scalable and affected by emotions.[20] People who are successful in love tend to be emotionally charged and highly productive in their studies. Falling in love itself does not negatively affect students.[21]

The success of a relationship should not be measured only by whether one is married or not. A relationship is valuable if it leads to growth for both parties. The low rate of marriage in first love does not mean that first love is unnecessary; the fact that few underage relationships grow old together is not a reason to dismiss underage relationships. The rate of marriage of underage love is not reliable statistics, often out of teacher speculation, and some students labeled by teachers as "early love" are not actually in love.[21]


The 2022 Child Welfare League study of Taiwan students aged 11-15 showed that:[22]

  1. Nearly 40% of junior high school students and over 20% of elementary school students said they wanted to fall in love now
  2. 32.9% of children said they had fallen in love, up significantly from 26.6% in 2014;
  3. 38.7% of the longest relationship lasted less than three months, 59.1% lasted less than six months, and 22.8% of the longest relationship more than one year;[23]
  4. 44.5% thought that falling in love could hold hands and hug, 19.7% could kiss, and 4.2% could have sex.

A survey of high school students in a provincial model high school in Sichuan in 2021 showed:

  1. 64.9% had not been in love, 27.7% had been in love one to three times, and 6.4% had been in love four to six times;[24]
  2. 10.6% were in love, and most of the students who were in love ranked higher in the most recent exam than the last one, different from most teachers' claim that most early love is detrimental to academic performance.[25]

A survey of parents of high school students in Panyu Middle School in Guangdong in 2004 showed that:

  1. 23.5% of parents were firmly opposed to adolescent love, 56.6% did not support it, and 16.2% understood it;
  2. 13.2% of parents were firmly opposed to high school students dating the opposite sex, 33.8% did not support it, 48.6% did not care or understood it, and 11.8% agreed with it;
  3. 43.4% of parents thought that teenagers do not necessarily need heterosexual relationships to grow up;
  4. 23.4% of fathers and 12.5% of mothers will interfere and criticize their children after finding out they are in love.[26]

Data from Add Health in the United States shows:

  1. About a quarter of 12-year-olds report having been in a relationship, and nearly three-quarters of 18-year-olds report having been in a relationship.[27]
  2. Female, older, step-parent adolescents are less likely to have never been in a relationship, and African-American, Asian, and low-income adolescents are more likely to have never been in a relationship,[28][29] while African-American, low-income adolescents, once in a relationship, tend to skip casual dating and develop a stable relationship.[30]
  3. Female, older, single-parent adolescents were more likely to maintain a stable relationship, while Asian adolescents were less likely.[31]
  4. Adolescents who were female, older, and from incomplete or low-income families were more likely to have sexual intercourse with a lover.[32]
  5. Female adolescents were more likely to report having emotional intimacy, while African-American and Latino adolescents were less likely. Adolescents with more relationship experiences were significantly more likely to be alone with their lovers, to have sexual intercourse, and to report excellent emotional intimacy.[32]

Cultural and entertainment presentation

Western, Japanese and Thai anime, feature films and children's dramas directly depict underage relationships, as seen in Disney animation, superhero comics and many works of Hayao Miyazaki. Western films and television works also focus on the beauty of underage relationships, which also stimulates the intrinsic motivation of the protagonists to strive to become better for each other, and even achieve a two-way relationship that promotes and supports each other.[33]

Mainland Chinese film and television productions tend to avoid underage relationships, but not completely, and occasionally they end in sadness, thus "conveying to the teenage audience the value of staying away from early love".[34] In 2002, mainland China introduced the Japanese animation "Chibi Maruko-chan", deleting the single episode related to the emotional development of the male and female protagonists in their early teens, and altering the male protagonist's final "I like you" confession to "I've always thought you were nice". Underage relationships are often the result of long periods of time together and slow accumulation of feelings in mainland Chinese films and television productions, and are often presented as a distraction from important matters and detrimental to the protagonist's life, in which the parents are treated like enemies and the protagonist often gives in and gives up in the face of external obstacles.[33]

In mainland China, the current General Rules for the Production of TV Series Content, issued in late 2015, the current General Rules for Content Review of Internet Audio-Visual Programs, issued in 2017, and the current Rules for Content Review Standards for Internet Short Video, issued in 2019, all refer to "early love among minors" as " bad behavior", "adverse effects on minors" or "detrimental to the healthy growth of minors", stating that "content showing minors in early love" The content of the "expression of early love" "shall not appear." The current regulation, "Regulations on the Administration of Programs for Minors," published by order of the General Administration of Radio, Film and Television in 2019, also states that "programs for minors shall not" "affirm or approve of early romance among minors."[35]

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Ray E. Short (2004). Sex, Love or Romance. p. 16. Simple infatuation is also known as called a 'crush' or 'puppy love'. It commonly strikes those in the early teens or younger.
  2. ^ Essibrah, W.M. (2010). Marriage God's Way: A book every Christian couple must own a copy. Xlibris US. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-4535-9736-1. Retrieved 2022-12-14.
  3. ^ Lynette Poolman; Laura Crawford (2006). "Pleasure and Love". In Sheryl Feinstein (ed.). The Praeger Handbook of Learning and the Brain. Vol. 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-313-33980-6.
  4. ^ Georgette Heyer (1974). Bath Tangle. London. pp. 284, 183. calf-love...a sickly, sentimental dream which only a moonstruck fool could have created!((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Sigmund Freud, On Sexuality (PFL 7) p. 67
  6. ^ Short, p. 13
  7. ^ Short, p. 16
  8. ^ M. H. Ford, Personal Power (2004) p. 124
  9. ^ a b "中国共产党中央委员会 中华人民共和国全国人民代表大会常务委员会 中华人民共和国国务院 中国共产党中央军事委员会——关于建立伟大的领袖和导师毛泽东主席纪念堂的决定". Chinese Science Bulletin (in Chinese). 21 (Z1): 433–433. 1976-07-01. doi:10.1360/csb1976-21-Z1-433-x. ISSN 0023-074X.
  10. ^ "应用型本科土木工程专业面向工程教育认证的实践教学改革研究". 教育科学发展 (in Chinese (China)). 3 (1): 63–65. 2021-01-31. doi:10.36012/sde.v3i1.2859. ISSN 2661-4391.
  11. ^ 潘孑农. "Early romance doesn't get in the way of business" is just a catchy phrase"早恋不妨碍业务"只是动听的言词[J]. 上海戏剧, 1982(02):61-62
  12. ^ "62/513 确定如何在核裁军范畴内以适当方式消除核危险的联合 国会议", 联 合 国 裁 军 年 鉴 2007, UN, pp. 204–205, 2013-10-25, retrieved 2023-04-27
  13. ^ Fuan second middle school to prevent "early love" school rules controversial not allowed to stare at girls for a long time 福安二中防“早恋”校规引争议 不准长时间盯女生看- 中国在线   .中国日报网.2014-02-27[引用日期2021-08-22]
  14. ^ 「你,今天被侵權了嗎?」. 人本教育基金会. 2019-10-03 [2022-10-01]. (原始内容存档于2022-10-05) (中文(台湾)).
  15. ^ Sorensen, Sarah. Adolescent Romantic Relationships (PDF). ACT for Youth Center of Excellence. Cornell University. 2007 [2022-09-30]. (原始内容存档 (PDF)于2022-06-16).
  16. ^ a b 刘录护; 李春丽. A comparative study between China and the West on "early love" in schools 校园“早恋”的中西比较研究. 中国青年研究. 2015, (11): 109-113.
  17. ^ 袁小梅. Psychological adjustment of early love among high school students中学生早恋的心理调适. 重庆教育学院报. 2008, (5): 134-136.
  18. ^ 李瑶. Be a relationship "advisor" for your child做孩子的恋爱“顾问”. 中小学心理健康教育. 2021, (17).
  19. ^ 杜兆义; 康维娜; 温志旺. Analysis of students' early love problem and correctional strategies.学生早恋问题的分析及矫治策略. 社会心理科学. 2014, (1): 71-74.
  20. ^ 刘录护; 李春丽. A comparative study between China and the West on "early love" in schools.校园“早恋”的中西比较研究. 中国青年研究. 2015, (11): 109-113
  21. ^ a b 彭泗清. Eight misconceptions about "adolescent" heterosexual relationships.对“青春期”异性交往的八种误解. 中国青年研究. 2000, (1): 5-7.
  22. ^ 2022 Taiwan Children's Love Awareness and Emotional Education Survey Report"2022臺灣兒少戀愛認知暨情感教育調查報告". (in Traditional Chinese). Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  23. ^ "Children's Love Awareness and Emotional Education Press Conference""兒少戀愛認知暨情感教育記者會". (in Traditional Chinese). Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  24. ^ 余丽敏; 任友吉. Analysis of family environment factors of early love among junior high school students初中生早恋的家庭环境因素分析. 云南教育. 2022-03, (3): 37-39
  25. ^ 卢军颖. Educational guidance strategies for secondary school students' love phenomenon in the perspective of students' growth law学生成长规律视野下的中学生恋爱现象教育引导策略. 教育界. 2021, (37): 65-67.
  26. ^ 陈慧瑜. Parents' attitudes and practices toward high school students' heterosexual interactions家长对高中生异性交往的态度和做法. 中国心理卫生杂志. 2005, 19 (4): 269-272.
  27. ^ "National Estimates of Adolescent Romantic Relationships". Adolescent Romantic Relations and Sexual Behavior. 2003. pp. 37–70. doi:10.4324/9781410607782-8. ISBN 9781410607782.
  28. ^ Upchurch, Dawn M.; Levy-Storms, Lene; Sucoff, Clea A.; Aneshensel, Carol S. (1998). "Gender and Ethnic Differences in the Timing of First Sexual Intercourse". Family Planning Perspectives. 30 (3): 121–127. doi:10.2307/2991625. JSTOR 2991625. PMID 9635260.
  29. ^ Connolly, Jennifer; Craig, Wendy; Goldberg, Adele; Pepler, Debra (2004). "Mixed-Gender Groups, Dating, and Romantic Relationships in Early Adolescence". Journal of Research on Adolescence. 14 (2): 185–207. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2004.01402003.x.
  30. ^ Meier, Ann; Allen, Gina (2009). "Romantic Relationships from Adolescence to Young Adulthood: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health". The Sociological Quarterly. 50 (2): 308–335. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.2009.01142.x. PMC 4201847. PMID 25332511.
  31. ^ Collins, W. Andrew (1997). "Relationships and development during adolescence: Interpersonal adaptation to individual change". Personal Relationships. 4: 1–14. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.1997.tb00126.x.
  32. ^ a b Meier, Ann; Allen, Gina (2009). "Romantic Relationships from Adolescence to Young Adulthood: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health". The Sociological Quarterly. 50 (2): 308–335. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.2009.01142.x. PMC 4201847. PMID 25332511.
  33. ^ a b 刘玙. Cultural differences between Chinese and Western film and television productions on "early love"中西影视作品中“早恋”的文化差异. 大众文艺. 2021, (20): 121-122.
  34. ^ 陈欣. Comparison of Traditional Chinese and Western Views on Love中西方传统爱情观比较. 文教资料. 2010, (1).
  35. ^ Regulations on the management of programs for minors未成年人节目管理规定 (PDF). 中国网络视听节目服务协会. [2022-10-08]. (原始内容存档 (PDF)于2022-10-08)
  36. ^ "And They Call It Puppy Love". Archived from the original on 2016-10-28. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  37. ^ Ruth Prigozy (2002). The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Cambridge. p. 38.