Childhood dating can look many different ways. Two five-year-old children may hold hands and think that they’re married. Two children in sixth grade may be ‘dating’ and be chaperoned by parents to a PG movie. Another two children, teens in high school, may be kissing in cars. If you suspect that your child might have a significant other of some sort, it can become a question of “What do I do about it?” There is no black and white answer to this question, however read below for some tips on ways to approach your child if you feel that they might have a special someone.
Tips to talk to your child about her significant other:
- Ask her in a calm, straightforward manner, “Do you have a special someone (boyfriend/ girlfriend)?” Avoid snooping around; it can only cause stress and problems with trust and communication. Asking your child this question in a calm and straightforward manner can increase the chances of having a calm and straightforward conversation about it. If you sense, or if your child says, that she is not ready or wanting to talk about it, let her know that you are here to talk about it if she wants to.
- If she opens up and lets you know there IS a special interest or person in her life, ask her if she has any questions. Crushes, dating partners etc., especially when new, bring on a lot of emotions: anxiety, worry, and also excitement. Letting your child know that the door is open for her to ask you questions and share her feelings will help her navigate her relationship in a healthier and more confident manner. Your child will feel comforted by the fact that you are open to talking to her about it, whether or not she chooses to ask you questions and share her feelings. This in turn will make her feel greater confidence when making decisions and interacting with others, and her special someone.
- Let your child know that you support her and believe that she is being smart. Letting your child know that you believe in her ability to make smart choices will also give her a sense of comfort and confidence. When your child feels supported, she will feel stronger and more equipped to make good decisions and to treat others in respectful manner.
These are some tips to help you if questioning whether or not your child has a significant other, that can help open honest communication about the subject. If you happen to know that your child is dating, and you feel that she needs some support in making healthy decisions, you can have her talk to a trained professional at North Shore Pediatric Therapy. Call us at 866-486-4140 to se up an appointment today!