Love sees no age! It is very true. There is no age to fall in love and rise. Similarly, there is no age to have a crush on someone, to keep a watch out for someone and, gradually unleash the emotions grinding within. It would give you a kind of relief as a parent if there was an age bar set on crush. But, unfortunately even a four year old experiences a kind of crush these days. A four-year-old also goes through the need of wanting to be hugged by another four year old of the opposite gender. You might feel concerned but, remember it is natural. The last thing your child wants at this moment is you saying it is bad for him/her. You really don’t need to show concern or get angry over the situation. You should just allow communication between you and your child. This way you would be aware of the situation. You can handle your child’s first crush announcement without being angry at them.
1. Display Interest
For your child, first crush is indeed a major happening in their life. They want to share it with you. They might go on and on about the description of the person. Be patient when this happens. Be a good listener and don’t fake your interest. Be interested in their affairs. A child recognizes fake responses and, this would just stop them from communicating in the future. Do not get negative over the crush. Don’t say it is a passé or you went through it too. Let them feel the entire situation for themselves. It is very natural for a parent to go protective about their kids but, you need to understand that you cannot go through every situation for them. In fact, by saying it is a passé, you are actually reducing the intensity of the crush. Let them enjoy the period and, try to enjoy it with them.
2. Know More about the Crush
Don’t be an interrogative parent, just be an interested parent. Try to find out what your child really likes about his/her crush. It is very important that they try to describe the person’s qualities. It might be very basic. Remember, it is a crush and they are just getting to know the girl/guy in question. Look at the positive qualities being described and don’t really comment much on the negative qualities. Remember, your child is currently serious about the whole thing. One comment on the negative and you upset your child. They might not even want to discuss it further with you. You could talk of the positive qualities and say something like “Good choice. Such qualities are hard to find”. This could allow them to talk more. You would know if the negatives are really affecting your child or not. Talking smooth and soft does the job well. You really don’t need to put your child down or shout at him/her to convey your message.
3. Let the Child Initiate
It is a regular and natural affair of life. Let it be the way it is. Let your child do the talking whenever he/she wants to. Don’t keep asking questions about the affair everyday as they won’t know what to answer. You can keep open the doors to communication. You can tell them that they are free to come and talk with you anytime about the crush and, you are really interested in knowing more about it. This way, whenever there is a development in the crush – they would come running to tell you. At times you would not hear anything from them for a week. At this time, you could generally enquire about the crush. This way they start feeling that you are really interested and, you allow them to grow in and out of the crush on their own.
4. It is Indeed Happening
You might pretend as if this entire crush thing is non-existent. Do not do this ever as you are actually hurting your child’s feelings. You might even ruin him and, this would stop him from telling you anything. Another big no when it comes to your child’s crush is discussing it with other relatives or your friends. This might embarrass him. Remember, how you were as a child. Would you have really liked it if your parents had done this to you? Try putting yourself in that situation before doing anything. You too know that it is a natural course of events. By discussing the affair with others or teasing him/her, you are creating an embarrassment for him/her. They might start feeling that you are insensitive and, would not wish to communicate with you about it.
5. Set Healthy Limits Gently
It’s their first crush and, you wish to tell them about the appropriate and inappropriate things to do while you have a crush on someone. Instead of being way too firm over the matter, teach them the limits in a gentle fashion. If your child is way too young, set a firm boundary about kissing. Teach them that they are not supposed to kiss their crush. They can exchange cards or hold hands but kissing is not allowed. A healthy boundary should be set for the older children like time to get back home, what should be done before they hit the road etc. All this would help them grow positively.
6. The Getting-Over-it Phase
A crush dies down eventually. This might hurt your kid. They might not even understand why it happened and, they might feel remorseful of the entire affair. You are companion to them at this moment and, not just a parent. You need to explain why it happened and how life moves on in spite of it. Allow them a few moments of tears, cheer them up a bit and finally help them get over it. This way they know you are there come-what-may. The trust between you and your child grows stronger.
A parent falls prey to concern and it is natural. Try not showing the concern and follow the tips mentioned.