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Your Child’s First Crush: 5 Ways To Gently Handle It

24 Jun 2014 – 11:52 PM EDT

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Talk to your teens about sex

As a parent, it isn’t easy seeing your child go through the ups and downs of their first crush. They may be five years old when this happens, just about to enter the adolescence stage or already in their teens. First crushes can happen at any time during child’s formative years. Do you remember the first one you ever had? Crushes can be overwhelming because they are unique feelings that a child hasn’t experienced before.

There will be numerous lessons learned along the way, moments where your child may feel the harsh effects of a broken heart and other moments where they will have their head in the clouds daydreaming. You may find innocent little love notes, scribbles of adoration on their note books and you may notice that they aren’t concentrating on their school work as much as they used to. These results are all part of the first crush experience and growing up.

Acknowledge Their Emotions

Kids like their parents to know about a crush they may have. They will want you to acknowledge their first crush by showing some acceptance and sounding interested. Avoid making any jokes or hurtful comments as this may prevent them from telling you anything in the future. When your child mentions someone they “like” at school, they really want you to validate their feelings by actively listening and acknowledging how they are feeling. This could be as simple as you sounding interested and asking what they admire about their first crush.

Talk To Them About These “Different” Feelings

A crush can be a roller coaster ride of emotions for a young child who has never experienced one before. Be gentle and let them tell you how they are feeling. Allow them to open up and say whatever they want without feeling judged. You can even share your first crush story to relate to your child’s experience.

Tell Them That Love Can Be Painful Sometimes

A crush can literally “crush” the heart and spirit when they don’t go the way we would like or if the other person does not share the same feelings. Remind your child that love is not so cut and dry and it isn’t always perfect. Tell them that there can be ups and downs just like any other relationship. The more a child understands that love is not exactly like the fairytales, the more they will have an easier time surviving their new crush-like emotions.

Comfort Them

If things go sour with their crush, hug them, hold them and listen to their woes. Be the number one source of comfort for them if their first crush doesn’t work out the way they would like.

Keep The Questions To A Minimal

You may be very curious and want to know all about your child’s crush, but respect their privacy. Your child will turn to you to talk about their feelings if they are not forced to answer all of your many questions.