They call it puppy love, but to a tween, it can mean so much more. Here are some insight and advice for parents who have a tween struck by the love bug.
Tweens Struck by the Love Bug
For many, being a tween is that age when a kid feels as if she is experiencing real love for the first time. The novelty of the experience might lead her to do foolish things, which can lead to consequences that she may not necessarily be able to handle at her tender age. If this is the case, what is a poor parent to do when helping out a tween who is struck by the love bug?
Take the Initiative: Having “The Talk” with Tweens
Prior to reaching that stage in her life of being a tween, parents still generally gain full control of a child’s actions. But what if she is already going through the sensitive tween phase when she is more conscious about her body, her distinct personality starts to develop, she is subject to mood swings, and she is verging from being extremely protective of her privacy at home (but ultra-sociable to her friends at the same time)?
Basically, the solution is to have “the talk” even before a kid gets hit by that first arrow that Cupid throws. Parents should first instill in a tween the value of keeping her word to her parents, as well as the importance of abstinence at her age. The talk should also include the dangers of alcohol, smoking, and drugs, the changes that her body will soon undergo, and the importance of marriage.
Part of this initiative should also include the parent being aware of what a tween is up to. It helps to be updated on the form of communication the child is using, including instant messaging, texting, emailing, and using social networking sites.
Dealing With a Tween Who is Love Sick
How are parents supposed to handle a tween who is on the verge of having her first romantic relationship? The number one rule is that parents should never ridicule the child’s feelings. It could be that a tween daughter has a painful crush on the school jock, and from an objective point of view, there is no point in pursuing a relationship. Despite this, parents should still recognize that her feelings are real and should be treated with respect.
One of the best ways to handle things is for parents to have open communication lines with a tween (yes, that includes dads, too). Try not to be too judgmental and relax. The first romantic relationship is something that every person will go through. Be interested in her love interest by asking subtle questions and listening when she wants to talk about him.
As long as this relationship does not interfere with a tween’s life in such a way that she’s lying about who she is spending time with, or if she is breaking curfews, it probably does not require alarm on the parent’s part. If your child starts displaying adverse actions or attitudes, that is the time for a parent to step in and take control of the situation.
At the end of the day, helping a tween who is struck by the love bug is all a matter of moms and dads exercising parental roles in a child’s life to give direction. Tweens will generally go through a lot of highs and lows when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. What’s important is for parents to remain a stable influence in the lives of the child. Make sure she is not keeping bad company, and see to it that she is sticking to the rules that are being enforced.