My Baby Girl Has A Crush – And It’s Okay
Just a few weeks ago my 5th grade daughter confided in me. “Mommy,” she said with stars in her eyes and a goofy, lovesick smile on her face, “I really like a boy in my class –and he likes me too.”
I blinked rapidly, smiled nervously and took a breath. I prayed a silent prayer that this wasn’t going to somehow lead to “the talk” because I sure wasn’t ready. I told myself to remain calm and not to freak out. After all, this was an elementary school crush and not a hot and heavy teenage love. Then something inside me clicked. My baby had a crush – and it was okay. It was a learning opportunity for both of us. An opportunity to lay a foundation that will help my daughter through the dramatic and turbulent teen crush years that are lurking around the corner.
So my little girl and I sat and had a heart-to-heart girl talk as she told me all about her first crush. I’m glad that I controlled my mini panic attack and got it together, because some great lessons came out of our conversation. Here are some of the unspoken thoughts that came from our talk:
- “You can talk to mommy about anything.” – That’s the message that I sent to her when I let her express her feelings about the boy she likes. If I’d exploded and told her that she was too young to like a boy, I could have prevented her from coming to me in the future with anything that was on her mind.
- “Your feelings are normal.” – This is my baby’s first crush and all of these intense feelings are new for her. As she talked to me, I could see the need for validation in her eyes. I could tell that she was wondering if what she was feeling was normal. When I shared with her that I’d had several crushes as a girl myself, she seemed relieved.
- “Your parents have expectations and standards for you.” – I explained to her that although her feelings are perfectly normal, she is too young for her parents to allow her to be in any girlfriend-boyfriend type relationship. I explained to her gently, but firmly, that her crush is just a crush and not the beginning of a grown up relationship. I also explained that it would be a long, long time before she was mature enough to even think about having a boyfriend. She’s 10, so in her mind having a crush just means smiling across the room at the boy she likes and maybe hanging out on the same monkey bars.
- “Kids have lives that their parents know nothing about.” – My daughter shared with me story after story of other classmates and friends that have crushes. She talked about how many of them already have boyfriends and spend their time chasing boys. I had to wonder how many of their parents know that their children are already having such mature thoughts. I wondered if they knew that their babies are growing up.
After we chatted, she gave me a hug and told me that she was glad that we talked. I wondered what would have happened if I had shut her down when she brought up the topic of a boy. My guess is that it wouldn’t have changed her feelings, but it probably would have driven her to talk to her peers who are just as confused as she is at this age.
My baby has a crush – and it’s okay because she’s still my baby.