Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here.
It’s spring which, according to old-timey Disney cartoons, is the time of year when flowers and animals fall in love! Even though I’m pretty sure that’s not how mating works, spring is nice and love is sweet, so let’s talk about it with our tweens and ask them, “do you have a crush on anyone?”
It’s not unusual for youth at this age to have their first crushes. Your tween might have one, or they might not. Or they might have one and not want to tell you about it. Which is fine. You don’t have to push. Just the simple fact of you asking the question lets them know that you are open to talking about it if that’s what they want.
Now if your tween does reveal that they have a crush, you can ask a couple of gentle follow-up questions. Asking, “do want to tell me who it is?” may feel less intrusive for your tween than just “Who is it?!” If they choose to reveal the person’s identity, you might then ask them something like “What are the things you like best about them?” The purpose here is for you to let your tween know that crushes are an acceptable topic of conversation.
Something a lot of younger adolescents really don’t seem to like is when we adults get all gushy and start cooing about how their new crush-y feelings are “awwww….SO cute!” Come to think of it, does anyone like that? It can make tweens feel self-conscious, or immature. I also find it a bit condescending. Is your tween going to make a lifelong commitment to this first crush? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that but their attraction isn’t real or doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.
You can also let youth know that it’s okay NOT to have a crush. Kids mature at different rates. Lots of tweens aren’t interested in romantic things yet, and that’s chill. Also? Some people, including tweens, will never be romantically or sexually inclined. Also completely normal.