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How To Handle Your Child’s First Crush: Studio 5

Adults may think crushes are silly, even superficial. But to a child, a first crush is a big deal. Therapist, Julie Hanks, LCSW has “do’s” and “don’ts” to help you handle your child’s first crush.

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1) Watch for signs

First crushes generally happen in elementary school between 5-10 years old. Even if your child doesn’t tell you directly that they have a crush, you might see the signs: giggling with friends, being mean to or teasing the child they like, or planning a special gift.

2) Get curious

This is a great opportunity to understand more about your child and to begin help them explore their preferences and values. Ask your child open ended questions like: “Tell me more about Kate…” “How does John feel about you?” or “What is it that makes her special to you?”

3) Never tease

Feelings of affection are the beginnings of attraction that will lead to meaningful relationships in the future. Talk about feelings of infatuation in a positive light, as a wonderful thing. Never tease or make fun of your child’s crush.

4) Set boundaries

Your child’s first crush is a great time to start a dialogue about appropriate physical and emotional boundaries, especially if your child is in older elementary school. Discussions on showing physical affection, spending time together, texting are all important things to start talking about.

5) Soothe hurt feelings

When first crushes are not reciprocated, it can be painful, even for children. This is an opportunity for you to teach your child that they are resilient and can move on after being hurt or disappointed.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Modestas J

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