My daughter is boy crazy and growing up too fast. How can I help her slow down?February 14, 2014
By YOU Program Facilitator
Question: My 12-year-old daughter is boy crazy. She and her friends spend hours talking about celebrity crushes and the boys in their school. I’m worried she’s growing up too fast—this seems like something teenagers do! What can I do to help her slow down?
Answer: With increased exposure to sexuality in the media, it is nearly impossible for children to remain uninfluenced by sexual and romantic culture. Even though your daughter is only 12 years old (a tween), she is one year away from officially being a teenager and therefore is influenced by teenage likes and dislikes.
Crushes are healthy and normal at her age. The fantasy of a celebrity crush is still relatively innocent— your daughter is unlikely to start dating a member of One Direction (or the latest boy band when you read this article). She is exploring her feelings for the opposite gender in a healthy way.
Once she targets those feelings toward boys in her school, it is time to talk to her about dating and what your family feels is appropriate for her age based on your morals and ethics.
At YOU Parent, we suggest that you encourage your daughter to analyze her friendships and romantic relationships. Help her seek positivity and trustworthiness in both her friendships and dating partners. By engaging in open conversations with her about these relationships, you establish trust with her and can encourage her to use good judgment that aligns with your family values when it is time to date.
We discuss teen dating and building healthy relationships in greater detail in the YOU: Your Child's First Teacher three-book series. Please refer to pages 42, 64, and 65 in Through High School and Beyond for more information.