Tween…Socializing…Surviving Her First Crush
We all remember our first crush and the intense feelings that accompanied it. You know, all of those butterflies deep down in the pit of our stomach fluttering so furiously that when we saw our crush we felt like fainting? Ya, that’s the feeling.
Developmentally, a girl’s first crush happens around the ages of 8-9, when she begins to realize that she is capable of feeling strong emotions for someone outside of her immediate family. Those feelings are fondly deemed puppy love and remain a prominent milestone for girls entering the tween years.
Though most of us worry about the implications of our daughter’s first crush, the truth is that it is usually harmless and fleeting. Crushes can be felt toward anyone from that cute boy in math class to teen idols that grace the pages of glossy magazines. So, before you decide to lock her in her room until she’s 21, try these tips to ease all of those butterflies!
Survival of the Fittest:
- Have a girl chat. Parents tend to go overboard when we hear that our daughter has a crush on someone. It’s easy to let our imagination run wild, but not so easy to undo the yelling and over-reacting that often accompany it. Instead, chat with your daughter about her feelings. Maybe the word boyfriend and crush don’t have the same meaning as back when you were young (yes, way back then!).
- Tell her the “When I was your age…” story. It’s true that most tweens (and teens for that matter) hate it when their parents bring up good ol’ days, but in this case, it can be helpful. Let your daughter know some of the things you experienced with your first crush. It’s important to acknowledge her feelings and to show empathy for what she is going through. Plus, she might even get a good laugh out of it once she hears one of your horror stories.
- Quit Buggin’! It’s important to build a solid, trusting foundation with your daughter so that she feels she can come to you with anything. To accomplish this, try to resist ‘bugging’ her or making jokes about her crush. Girls (as do boys) get embarrassed when discussing their love life with their parents, so give her the space she needs. She will tell you when she feels comfortable. If she thinks you take her seriously and are genuinely interested, then she’ll confide in you.
- Tame the butterflies. Set age appropriate limits. At this age, girls begin to experiment with the physical part of love (kissing, hugging, etc.) so give your daughter plenty of guidance. If she asks to go to a movie with a guy, explain to her that she’s too young to date, but maybe he can come over for pizza.
- Roll with it. All good things must come to an end as do all first crushes – except for the fact that then new ones begin (Augh!). So, do your best to emotionally support her when the tears begin to flow. Just remember, this is all part of normal development and a phase we all have to go to enter into adulthood!