Is your child feeling puppy love? Perhaps your little one is crushing on the kid next door or spending a lot of time with a classmate in school—the “first crush” stage can be adorable but also dramatic! While this phase can sometimes fluster or catch you off guard, you don’t really have to worry about anything. It is a common part of the growing up, a healthy stage for their emotional development. Having said that, we understand that it can still be challenging for parents to respond and manage a situation like this. So if you are currently stuck or want to get ready for when the time comes, keep reading to know how these moms handled their child’s first crush.
Your mom radar must have been activated since the infatuation started or you might have felt the clues from time to time. You also may feel unsure how to deal with it, but guess what—there is no need to interfere. Just let it play out. While this advice may come as a surprise, it is actually healthy to let go and let them feel the emotions and experience the affection. You do not want your child to feel awkward or uneasy around you, right? You still want to respect their privacy given that they are not sneaking around, lying, etc.
Let’s face it—love is like a battlefield, may it be puppy love or the adult-kind of love. Thus, people who are under the spell of infatuation need someone to lean on, and in this case, that’s you, the parents. We are not suggesting you micro-manage the situation, but instead, hold their hand as they go through the journey. Start by checking in often, ask them how their day was or what happened in school, and get them to open up to you. Once on the subject, you can start asking questions like “I’ve noticed that you have been spending a lot of time with… How do you feel about him/her?” This statement is a good example of conversation that is not pushy, but direct to the point, making them comfortable to talk and share their experiences and feelings with you.
When you have a crush, two things can happen—it’s either the feeling is mutual or it ends in rejection. Whatever height of emotion they feel, be there for them and be their best friend. Validate their emotions, and give affirmation as they go through the process. If the feeling is mutual, remind them that you are always here if they want to talk about anything. You can even offer to help them get a gift for their crush and make a nice bonding moment out of it! On the other hand, if the feeling is not mutual, let them know that what they feel is completely normal, and it happens to a lot of people. Give them comfort by telling them that it is okay when the other person doesn’t feel the same way and it’s important to respect his/her feelings, no matter how much it stings.
We know how adorable it is for your child to have their first crush, especially when your little one is confessing how cute their playmate or classmate is! As much as you want to giggle at the cuteness, your kid wants to be taken seriously. Try not to disregard their feelings or say “it’s just a crush, it will pass”, “you’ll get over it, or “it’s just puppy love, it’s not real”. It can hurt your child’s self confidence or even lead to anxiety. Rather, encourage them to brave their emotions, learn from them, and acknowledge what they feel. Set an example by sharing your experience when you were in the same position.
Rules, rules, and rules—parents love rules, right? We are not saying that you should be tough, but as parents of a more progressive generation, try calmly telling them that rules are there to guide them to make the right choices and keep them safe. Kids are smart enough to put together the idea of love and connection. They can also easily mimic it from the environment they are in and what they see on mainstream media. However, make an effort to keep it subtle as we do not want to embarrass them. Placing some limits is also a way to teach your little one the virtues of respect, self-control, and good manners.