Adults may think crushes are silly, even superficial. But to a child, a first
crush is a big deal. Therapist, Julie Hanks, has “do’s” and “don’ts” to help
you handle your child’s first crush.
1) Watch for signs
First crushes generally happen in elementary school between 5-10 years
old. Even if your child doesn’t tell you directly that they have a crush, you
might see the signs: giggling with friends, being mean to or teasing the
child they like, or planning a special gift.
2) Get curious
This is a great opportunity to understand more about your child and to
begin help them explore their preferences and values. Ask your child open
ended questions like: “Tell me more about Kate…” “How does John feel
about you?” or “What is it that makes her special to you?”
3) Never tease
Feelings of affection are the beginnings of attraction that will lead to
meaningful relationships in the future. Talk about feelings of infatuation in
a positive light, as a wonderful thing. Never tease or make fun of your
4) Set boundaries
Your child’s first crush is a great time to start a dialogue about appropriate
physical and emotional boundaries, especially if your child is in older
elementary school. Discussions on showing physical affection, spending
time together, texting are all important things to start talking about.
5) Soothe hurt feelings
When first crushes are not reciprocated, it can be painful, even for children.
This is an opportunity for you to teach your child that they are resilient and
can move on after being hurt or disappointed.
Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW is a therapist, self & relationship expert,
media contributor and director of Wasatch Family Therapy. Visit
com for individual, couple, family, & group
counseling services designed to strengthen you and your family. We treat
mental health and relationship problems in children, adolescents, and
adults. Now open in Provo! For additional emotional health & relationship
resources connect with Julie at www.juliehanks.com.