Your Teen’s First Crush

10 ways to help your teen deal with the highs and lows of their first brush with a crush.

Whether it’s a crush on Timothée Chalamet or the new girl at school, dealing with your teen’s first experience of romantic feelings can be a bolt from the blue. It’s a sign that your child is growing up, but it might be something that you didn’t feel entirely prepared for quite yet. Never fear, we are here to help!

  1. First Things First…

Your teen has confided in you about something that matters a great deal to them so  feeling  honoured and treating their feelings with the greatest care is key.. What might seem like a little crush to you is a BIG deal to your teen. Start by thanking your teen for trusting you with this secret and let them know that you are here to support them.

  1. Offer A Friendly Ear

If your teen hasn’t confided in you but you suspect they have a crush, have a chat and let them know that you’re available to talk if they want to. Try not to push the issue – simply open the door for future conversations and be patient.

  1. Keep It Light

A first crush is a happy, exciting moment in your teen’s life. Try to avoid going in heavy-handed and resist the urge to meddle or steer your teen down a particular route.

  1. Time To Talk

Let your teen talk freely about their emotions. You could talk about your own past experiences of your first crush and the way you felt. What’s important here is to listen carefully and show interest to let your teen know that you understand and support their feelings.

The subject of your teen’s crush could come as a surprise to you, especially if they’re the same sex. If this is the case, your teen is, in effect, coming out to you for the first time and it’s a monumental moment in both your lives. For more help and advice on how to cope with your teen coming out to you, click here.

  1. Don’t Diminish

Avoid suggesting that their crush will simply blow over or that it won’t last. That may be the case (many teen crushes rarely last the distance), but they don’t need to hear that. It only serves to minimise and belittle the strength of the emotions they’re feeling right now, and may cause them to close off from you on the subject.

  1. Crushes Are Normal

Let your teen know that their feelings are completely normal. The likelihood is your teen has a bellyful of butterfly emotions and sensations, from embarrassment and anticipation to excitement and trepidation. Reassure your teen that crushes, lust and love are funny things and can make people feel all sorts of different ways.

  1. Consent & Boundaries

Have a chat about behaviour and what is and isn’t OK. While it’s perfectly fine to have a crush on someone, it isn’t fine to make others feel uncomfortable about it. Talk to your teen about boundaries and respecting others’ decisions, no matter how hard rejection might be to accept.

  1. Next Steps

Talk to your teen about what they want to do about their crush. Do they want to ask the other person out? Would they like to invite them over for dinner? Help your teen if they want some guidance on how to ask a person out. You can offer advice or draw on your own past experiences if your teen asks for your thoughts and input.

  1. If It All Goes Wrong…

We all know only too well the pain of rejection. If your teen is turned down by their love interest, they’re likely to feel upset and unworthy. They might turn to you immediately for support or clam up altogether.

If the latter is the case, let them know that you understand their pain and that you’re here to talk, any time they want. If or when they do open up, listen to their hurt and acknowledge it. Don’t diminish their emotions by saying things like, “You’ll get over it soon” or “You’re better off without them, anyway” in a well-intended bid to ease their pain. They need to know that the raw feelings they’re experiencing matter to you and aren’t being dismissed.

  1. If It All Goes Right…

Your teen’s crush could be the start of a new relationship. They might prefer to keep this private or might want to seek your advice from time to time. Whatever your teen chooses to do, respect their decision and let them know that you’re there to talk if they want to.

If you feel you need to, you could have a chat about issues around sex, such as consent and contraception. We’ve got lots of advice on talking to your teen about sex here.


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