"Don't discount her crushes," advises Charlene Giannetti, founder and editor of Woman Around Town and the author of 11 books, including Boy Crazy!, for parents of young adolescents. "During young adolescence, feelings intensify. Whether it is a crush on a tween idol or a classmate, to her the feelings are real." The way you react to your child's declaration of love will shape how she interacts with you about her relationships.
Despite the urge to blurt out all the dirty details of why the opposite sex should be avoided until your adolescent is 30 years old, let her believe in cooties and that she "loves" that boy with the blue shirt in class. Telling her about the birds and the bees may not be necessary if she's not asking at this point.
When your little one proclaims her crushes, match the tone she's expressing. If she's acting silly, it may be okay to joke with her about it. But if she's serious, tackling the topic with humor may cause her to withdraw.
You may be dying to know the details of your darling's feelings, but grilling her may just have her retreating to her bedroom. Let her come to you with the fine points of her feelings and be ready with an open ear.
The day may come when your kiddo runs home to tell you how kids in her school are kissing on the playground. Fight the urge to tell her those things are wrong. Instead, explain to her that you shouldn't kiss people that are not your family, then bring it to her school's attention to address with the kids at school.
Whether it is your child's first crush in grade school or first love in high school, the most important thing you can do is give your sweetie pie support. By not brushing kid crushes under the rug, your child will be more likely to make you his go-to gal for relationship advice -- and that's more than any mom can hope for from her child!
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