How to Handle Your Child’s First Crush

Adesua Iyoyojie

My son’s first crush was favour.

It was love at first sight when she moved in the neighborhood. I came across a note in his diary where he expressed his feelings for her, and that was when I realised he had a crush on her.

We had a talk about it, he was only 6 years old. They had a fight and broke up. Before I could blink, there were others that caught his eye and captured his heart.

There is a great innocence and excitement in that first love. It gives parents cute stories to share and kids a chance to learn about feeling a special connection to another.

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First loves for kids younger than 11 are usually innocent but parents may be shocked, especially African parents. We try to shut these kids up and wonder how they grew up so fast.

I found love notes and drawings of himself and her, he called her his best friend. He shared his toys with her and cared deeply about her.

These feelings can be handled. Our kids aren’t doing anything wrong. If only we as parents can keep an open mind about it and learn how to handle it.

Here are some ways of handling it:

1. Realise crushes are not really romantic

First crushes are not really ‘romantic’. Keep young crushes in perspective—and don’t equate them with romantic love. Romantic love is really for later on, although kids might describe their feelings that way. Real feelings of love are more for 12-year-olds.

2. It is all about attachment

The way children experience attachment has everything to do with the kind of nurturance and support received from caregivers. Attachment is a powerful connection that has physical and emotional bond.
It is natural they begin to have a crush on whoever they feel attached or close to.

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3. Children learn from what they see around 

It’s natural for kids to pick up their cues from others in their home, and from media and culture. Children grow up seeing how their parents and other couples act, as well as watching hours of cartoons, movies, and even regular programming that demonstrates how love is.

4. Let them be

While you want to monitor blossoming affections, you don’t want to make your child uneasy. These are lessons the kids need to learn for themselves

5. Encouragment

Parents may be reluctant, but it’s healthy to support children in feeling a connection to others and at the same time teach them to be discerning. If they like this person, there must be positive characteristics about them. Help them learn to evaluate others and show them what qualities they should look for in another person.”

6. Dont make fun of their crushes.

They might feel humiliated and stop telling you things
Older kids or unthinking adults may turn a first crush into a big joke and make light of it. This will make a child feel humiliated and belittled,
When talking with your child about their schoolyard crush, do not laugh at them or dismiss their feelings. If you do, they might not feel comfortable opening up to you in the future. And that can lead to bad things

7. Set boundaries

Amost kids will experience their first crush by the age of five or six. And while kindergarten crushes rarely amount to more than hanging out at recess together, kids at this age may want to act out what they think it’s like being in love. One of these behaviors is oftentimes kissing on the cheek. there’s absolutely zero sexuality at this age. It’s just their way of showing their feelings. If kissing is happening at school, it’s probably a good idea for you to talk about boundaries with your child. Playing together at recess: all good. Kissing in the classroom? Not good .

8. It hardly Last

Young love doesn’t last. most kids will get over their first crush quickly,
My boy got over his and moved on to another one. some may struggle with hurt feelings. Whether your child is the heartbroken or the heartbreaker, it might be a good idea to ask them how they feel about it. It’s also a good time to remind them of all their wonderful qualities. One thing I do that seems to help in situations like this.

READ ALSO: 8 Ways to Ditch Your Mummy Guilt

9. Keep the communication line open

Love is a tricky and sensitive subject matter. It’s always important to keep the lines of communication open. If your child opens up to you, use it as an opportunity to guide — not dictate — his decisions. Because when we respect and honor our children’s first loves, they are more likely to look back on them fondly.

10. Gauge feeling of self worth

Monitoring early crushes can also give parents a sense of a child’s self-esteem.

“You want to watch out for comments like, ‘She won’t like me because I’m fat,’ or ‘He won’t like me because It’s a good opportunity to remind children, ‘We don’t like or not like someone because of just one thing about them.'”

11. Help them deal with rejection

If they like someone and the person doesn’t like them back, it is very okay. Make them realise it is not a bad thing and it is a also a part of life.

At the end, when your child confides in you about their crush, don’t begin to think someone somewhere is teaching them bad things. It is a natural phase.

Share your thoughts with us.

*** Opinions expressed in this article are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Motherhood In-Style.

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