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How to Handle Your Child's First Crush

Naomi Sarah
Having a crush on someone is perfectly natural for a child to experience. How to handle your child's first crush can be a challenging endeavor, but it's nonetheless important how you broach the situation.
I'm sure that if you rewound the past many years, you'd have something to smile about as the vague (or vivid) image of your very first crush materializes in your mind's eye. Some of us have an amusing past with more than one's fair share of crushes, with usually the very first boy / girl imprinted in our memory.
Don't deny the fact that you did steal a quick glance in their direction, or purposely create a situation where a conversation was inevitable. Many of us may have never acted out on a crush, where others may have actually started something back in junior high, middle school or college.
Kids today have minds of their own; they're seemingly innocent to one's eye but quite adult-like in their own way. I'm sure you're aware of how times have changed and how delicate parents have to be when dealing with a child. You need to tiptoe around them because one wrong move will unleash rebellion.
They say that parents need to be liberal when it comes to their kids, because laboring them with dos and don'ts will just lead to retaliation. There are ways on how you can take notice of the signs your child portrays if he / she is infatuated with someone from school, or anywhere else.
When you know for a fact that your child is experiencing what you once did, you can bring it up with them and accordingly handle the situation tactfully.

Signs Your Child Has a Crush on Someone

Some kids hide the fact that they're puppy-loving someone, but if you're familiar with how it works when it comes to the signs, then spotting them will be a cinch. If you think you need to brush up on your investigative and observant skills, read books written exclusively on how to deal with similar situations.
  • Take notice of how your child spends study time; do they seem distracted? Do you walk in on them daydreaming? 
  • Do they dismiss questions like, 'Is there something on your mind?', or 'Is there anything I can do to help?'. It may be nothing at first, but keep a tab on how often these instances occur.
  • Ever hear your child speak in hushed tones over the phone? Pick up signs like - growing silent when you enter the room, or a quick look cast in your direction as a sign of being uncomfortable when you step in, or hearing a snippet of the conversation which abruptly changes when you make your presence known.
  • Take note of how much time is spent on getting ready for school, or how particular your child is to have new clothes or styling products bought often, or in a girl's case - makeup.
  • Your child could spend hours texting / chatting online with someone whom they call a friend.
  • Does your child eagerly grab the phone when someone calls?
  • Do they arrange for study dates with the same person quite regularly?
  • Do they invite them to stay over for dinner?
  • Your child could unknowingly talk a little bit too much about someone at school, giving you a foggy but obvious idea that, maybe, your child digs this someone.

How to Approach Your Child About a Crush

The best way to confront any situation is with a reasoning head on your shoulders, and one that is understanding as well. Being presumptuous and tactless in your approach is a sure way of pushing your child away, forcing them to cover their tracks more carefully, or shun you out of their lives completely.
As stubborn as they are, children will come around to see your perspective of the situation when you tread lightly over the topic, that is. Let's find out how you can talk it over with your child, if the above signs are quite evident.

Light-hearted Questioning

It is easier for kids to talk to their mothers about their crushes and things that emotionally crumble them. But some kids are closer to their fathers, leaning on them for support and advice when it comes to matters of the heart, or when things get rough in their personal lives.
A child will automatically clam up if he/she gets the feeling that opening up to either parent will be a mistake. They'll instead choose not to reveal anything about their personal lives, ridding all evidence for fear that you may find out.
The first thing you need to do is casually ask your child if they like someone at school, or pass a statement like, 'you looked all dressed up today before going to school, I'm sure someone noticed.' End the statement with a smile, so that your child doesn't feel cornered but sees the humor in your question.
If they shrug off the question, take a different route and gently tread on the same path using a different approach. Say something like, 'I'm sure someone at school likes you, I didn't raise such a good-looking kid for nothing.'
Your child may be smart enough to notice where you're heading, but over time, they'll slowly open up to you. Giving them space is crucial - let them know you are always there if they ever need to talk.

The 'Talk'

I'm sure parents are well aware of the 'talk', where it concerns things like sex and protecting yourself from the unexpected. They may be too young to understand these things in your mind, but trust me, kids today are grasping things faster than they actually should.
No one can stop a child from being exposed to the many eye-opening elements that we have today, both technologically & that which is materialistic. They're young & their minds feed off anything & everything. I wouldn't be surprised if your child already knows everything concerning the 'talk', but it is imperative that you sit down & discuss this with them.

Recount Personal Experiences

A good way to help your child understand a situation is to narrate stories from your childhood days when you had a crush on someone, or first started dating. Gently prepare them for what may come, since heartache is not a new emotion to any of us.
Dealing with rejection, betrayal, and even possessiveness are things that even kids have to witness at a young age. The world influences the young to mimic the acts of adults, because that is just the way it is today.
As parents, you should raise your child to understand how things like respect for one's feelings work, how patience is a frustrating yet a golden virtue to have, and how inflicting pain in any way diminishes the good in you.
When a child knows that you've been through an experience that is similar to theirs, they can relate to you. They will also feel more at ease when it comes to confiding in you about guys / girls they like.
It isn't easy to deal with a child that is infatuated with someone, especially when they're way in over their head with no room for you to step in and help. That is why an open communication stream between child and parent is paramount when it comes to crushes and personal dilemmas. Encourage your child to read books or watch shows about how to handle such situations, since an earlier insight into the world of dating and the baggage that follows is better understood young, than when older.