How to react to a child’s first love

Love (as in the song) will come unexpectedly … And, of course, at the very moment when you do not expect it at all. The effect of surprise is intensified by the fact that love suddenly struck not for someone hypothetical there, but for your own child. I just came, struck the child in the very heart and left you at a loss and with the only question – how to behave?

The main thing, dear parents – don’t panic. And don’t break the wood – the child’s feelings are now more important than your opinion about the object of his love. So, what to do and what not to do when your child is in love …

Children's first love - how should parents behave at the first love of a son or daughter?
Photo @loveepabl
  • Love can take a child by surprise anywhere – in the sandbox, at school, in kindergarten, at the sea, etc. Well, you yourself probably remember. Any parent will notice the changes in the child right away – the eyes shine, the look is mysterious, the smile is mysterious, the rest is according to the situation. A child at any age takes his feelings and worries very seriously – even at the age of 15, at least at 5. First love is always a unique phenomenon. The child is very vulnerable and vulnerable during this period, so no sharp attacks – “he’s not a match for you,” “dad and I don’t like him,” “this will pass,” etc. Be extremely tactful and careful!
  • The development of the situation directly depends on the personal life of the child in the future, the attitude towards the opposite sex and towards the union of hearts in general. Be patient. Your task now is to be a “buffer”, a pillow, a vest and anyone else, if only the child has the opportunity to boldly share his experiences with you, to feel your support, not to be afraid of your irony and jokes. Even if you do not like the child’s choice, do not show your dislike. It is quite possible that this is your future daughter-in-law or son-in-law (it also happens). If the relationship of lovers breaks down, remain a faithful friend to your child.
  • Remember that for a child from 6-7 years old, love can become a rather strong and long-lasting emotional attachment. Despite the fact that the love of a teenager differs from the love of a child of 6-8 years old, the power of feeling is very powerful in both. In a teenager, physical attraction is also added to the feeling, which, of course, leads the parents into panic – “I wouldn’t become a grandmother and grandfather ahead of time”. Be on the lookout, be near, have a mental conversation with the child, quietly explaining what is good and bad. But do not prohibit, do not force, do not dictate – be a friend. Even if you found a “rubber product” in your son’s (daughter’s) table (bag), do not panic. First of all, this means that your child takes a responsible approach to the issue of intimacy, and secondly, that your child (unnoticed by you) has matured.
teen girl
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  • Children 6-8 years old do not have that “adult” persistence in relation to the object of love, they do not know how to gain attention, how to respond to a compliment, and this confusion significantly complicates the child’s life. There is no need to endearingly push the child towards a relationship – “bolder, son, be a man”, but if you feel that the child needs help, find tactful words and correct advice – how to win the girl’s attention, what should not be done, how to respond to signs of attention, etc. Many boys in love are ready for heroic deeds, but their parents did not teach them (by example, advice) how to behave. As a result, the boy in love pulls the darling by the pigtails, hides her backpack in the school toilet or provokes with harsh expressions. Teach your child to be a real man from childhood. Roughly the same story with girls. Usually they beat the chosen ones with pencil cases on the tops of their heads, belligerently rush after them at breaks or hide in the closet after unexpected confessions. Teach girls to accept (or not accept) courtship with dignity.
  • If you are faced with the question of your child’s love, then first think not about your feelings and attitude to this phenomenon, but about the state of the child himself… Most often, for a child (primary school age), first love is confusion, shyness and fear that they will not understand and reject. Overcoming the barrier between children usually occurs through the playful context of communication – find such an opportunity for the children (a joint trip, circle, section, etc.) and the barrier will disappear, and the child will feel more confident.
  • Teenagers don’t need a playful context of communication – the games there are already different, and, as a rule, there are no problems at the points of contact. But there is such an intensity of passions that mothers have to drink valerian every evening (the child has grown up, but it is difficult to accept this fact), and then, in most cases, to reassure and convince that life does not end at parting. The feelings of a teenager are no less vulnerable. Be extremely tactful. You need to react to the revelations of a son or daughter not from the perspective of your own experiences, but from the perspective of the child’s experiences.
teenager
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  • The child confided in you, told about his love. What is your wrong reaction? “Yes, what such love at your age!” – error. Take the confession seriously, live up to the child’s trust (you really need it when the child falls in love as an adult). “Yes, you will have a thousand more Lena!” – error. You do not want the child to perceive any personal relationship afterwards superficially, as a temporary and insignificant process? But it doesn’t hurt to explain that feelings are tested by time. “Yeah, don’t make my slippers laugh …” – a mistake. By jokes, mockery, mockery of the child’s feelings, you humiliate your own child. Tune in with your child. Finally, remember yourself. With your support, it will be easier for your child to go through this stage of growing up. And if your sense of humor is ahead of you, use it wisely. For example, tell your child a funny story from your own (or someone else’s) experience to cheer your child up and add confidence.
  • It is strongly discouraged to share “great news” with family and friends – they say, “but ours fell in love!”. The child has entrusted you with his secret. It is your responsibility to keep it.
  • Should you get into a relationship and use your parental “leverage” to end it? As for the position “just over my corpse!” – it is deliberately wrong. The child has his own path, your views may not coincide – the sooner you understand this, the higher the child’s threshold of trust in you will be. Exception: when the child may be in danger.
  • Is it worth participating in the development of relationships? Again, getting into other people’s relationships is not recommended. Help may be needed only in a few cases: when a child wants to take the initiative, but does not know exactly how. When a child needs money to arrange a surprise (buy a gift) for the darling. When the child is openly manipulated – for example, they demand to “stuff the face” of the offender. In this case, you should carefully talk with the chosen one of the child and with him, find out the essence of the problem and give the correct parental advice. Or when the child terrorizes the object of sympathy or competitors (the child needs to be explained that there are more adequate and effective ways of expressing feelings).
  • Don’t put your teen in an uncomfortable position with too much control. No need to sit with binoculars by the window when children walk together, call every 5 minutes or constantly look into the room with “cookies and tea.” Trust your child. But be on the lookout. As for the little lovers – they also feel constrained under the parental “sight”. So just pretend to be minding your own business or chatting with people.

First love is not a whim. This is a strong feeling and a new stage in your child’s growing up. By helping the child in this process of personality formation, you lay the foundation that will be used by the child in further relationships with the opposite sex.

Share with your child his feelings and his joy, and always be ready to help, support and comfort.

Commentary of family psychologist, coach Daria Sytova-Goranskaya

Over the weekend, I learned that my five-year-old son had a bride in the kindergarten. I swear I never once persuaded him to make plans to start a family between casseroles and clay, but somehow it worked out by itself. With great interest I watched how, after going to the cinema together, he tried to make his girlfriend laugh, and how she poured out in response to any of his tomfoolery. After all, all women know: if you want to please a man – laugh at his jokes, even when they are not funny.

While this is very nice, but parents of teenagers who are faced with their first crush are often not laughing. First love is what we remember for the rest of our lives. What we tell the children about, languidly rolling our eyes. Poems, detachment, strange hairstyles and howls accompanied by love ballads from behind a closed door.

But you should not consider this period so cute and harmless. For many, this experience is associated with the first significant rejection or even betrayal. And any loss leaves a scar in our soul. Parents cannot protect their offspring from these emotions, they cannot even always find out what is really going on there. But falling in love is not a whim, not an invention, but a real hormonal state of the psyche and organism. Therefore, as for a doctor, the main thing for parents is not to harm.

What should parents do if their children have first love?

Children's first love - how should parents behave at the first love of a son or daughter?
COLADY illustration by Lara Lauren
  1. As your teen is struggling to distance herself from you, try to accept it as a fact. Do not meddle with advice, do not pry. If there is trust in your relationship, it can come to you on its own. But it may not come. Respect his boundaries, his space, give him the opportunity to live this situation on his own.
  1. Not to interfere does not mean to do nothing. Yes, you cannot give advice, you cannot talk, but you can support it. You can let him know that you are there, you love him, you are on his side. Try not to criticize him directly during this period, be careful with strict prohibitions. And watch! Be extremely attentive to his emotional state. If the situation gets out of control and we are talking about real depression, be sure to contact a specialist.
  1. What may worry you is sex. Unprotected sex, early pregnancy, and so on. This is a really serious risk, so it is important to devote time to sex education. And the sooner you start doing it, the better. Moreover, now there is no need to blush and find words with difficulty. It is enough just to acquire the appropriate books with text and pictures, and give them to the child according to age. Do not lie! And remember that nowadays children aged 8-10 have access to adult films. And it would be great if by this moment, he received the necessary information from you.

The most important thing that will help your family get through this period is trust. But it cannot be achieved with 3 tips, this is what parents should devote time to throughout their lives. Start with the trust between mom and dad. If it is, the child will certainly mirror this relationship model. And then it will be much easier for him to build healthy relationships with you and with peers.

Have you had similar situations in your life? How did you react to your child’s love? Share your stories in the comments below!

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