Too Young for a Crush | Tales of a Ranting Ginger

Too Young for a Crush

Having three older kids I find there is not much I have not experienced as far as being a parent. My youngest who is nine has lots of friends. Most of her friends are all the oldest with younger siblings. They have wonderful parents and I have become friends with many of them. But we do not always see eye to eye. I can only assume it is maybe because I have already experienced certain things with my older kids. Plus I know all too well how fast kids grow up. I want to keep my child a child as long as possible.

My daughter has shown signs of anxiety over the years. She worries about things many would think not a big deal. In turn we have encouraged her to communicate her feelings and we try hard to not over react. I find her feeling she can come to us about anything any time has really helped.

On Friday she told me there was a secret going around the school. She wanted to tell me the secret. Secrets are a tricky area with kids this young. You want them to trust their friends and have their friends trust them. But you also worry that secrets can involve danger or sensitive subjects. So I try to welcome these conversations. I do not tell others what my daughter tells me, unless someones safety is in jeopardy of course.

On Friday the secret was about a boy in her class liking a girl she is friends with. I guess this was big news in her class. Her class is split with 8 and 9 year olds and some turning 10. She used the word “crush” and asked me what that meant. After explaining it to her we had a discussion about  age appropriate feelings and how I feel she and her classmates are too young for boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.  Sometimes friendship feelings get confusing and it is hard when you mix in other feelings. She then told me many of her friend’s moms have been asking about their crushes. The moms ask who they like and her friends feel pressured to give names. When they tell their parents they do not ‘like’ anyone the mom laughs and does not believe them.

Sigh

Kids grow up way too fast! Why do some parents want to rush this?

I am not unaware of reality. I have older kids. I just think there is enough for children to worry about without throwing in a crush. I am not ready for my daughter to have her heart broken.

I am happy my child feels comfortable enough to talk to me about this. Obviously some of her friends are not feeling the same.

Later that night I went out for girls night with some of the moms from the school. We had dinner and drinks and chatted about everything you can imagine. The topic of their girls having a crush came up. I spoke up and made it clear I thought they were all too young to worry about who liked who and that they are only this young for so long. Two of the moms agreed with me and two seems surprised that I said this. I believe boys and girls can be friends without having other feelings. I do not think parents should push their children to feel a certain way about others or assume they do. I am actually a bit annoyed as I think many of these kids would not even think about a crush if the parents had not said something first.

I realize the moms just think it is cute and are not thinking it will go any further. But I feel it is a source of stress for the kids. Children have enough to worry about. School, friends, family and extra circular activities. Why add onto this?

My feeling on this may not be the popular opinion. I am okay with that. My daughter is a December baby and she is younger than most of her friends. Having had three children already go through middle school and high school I know all too well how much kids worry about things. They grow up too fast and need to just slow down and enjoy being kids. Crushes are innocent enough but I will let my daughter get to that stage on her own.

What are your thoughts?

Comments

  1. I’m totally with you on this!! While we keep hearing that kids grow up much sooner, I also know that quite a few stay “innocent” for a much longer period that “advertised”. I’m glad your daughter had this chat with you, but like you said, she didn’t even know what a crush was or have any feelings being evoked that needed to be addressed. I bet the same was true for most of her friends (prior to their moms bringing up the topic).

  2. I agree with you on this one and I love how you have such an open and honest relationship with your daughter. There is so much stress around school and friends that having a “crush” and even thinking about relationships in elementary years is too much. Let them be kids and keep their innocence as long as they can.

  3. I totally agree with you on this…kids will grow up soon enough and then there’s no going back. Let them enjoy those innocent years for as long as possible.

  4. Kids at my older daughters elementary school were often in a rush to start dating which always made me chuckle. High school and university is time for dating. Elementary is not. My kids happily mostly listened to me on that. One would occasionally say Jane is dating John or something and I always say what does that even look like in grade four, five or six? What is a date? They have no money and no driver’s licenses so it’s not dating. There’s nothing logical to me about crushes or dating at that age.

  5. Brian Hwang says:

    “She then told me many of her friend’s moms have been asking about their crushes. The moms ask who they like and her friends feel pressured to give names. When they tell their parents they do not ‘like’ anyone the mom laughs and does not believe them.” Wow, really?! I think that is absurd. I agree with you, why does a parent need to “force” feelings into a child that might not even exist at the time?

    We should be empathizing and nurturing expression of kids’ own feelings, not shaping their feelings for them.

  6. I have seen this as far back as daycare when some moms would comment on how much their toddler boys liked the ladies. I’m with you – let the kids develop these feelings themselves and in the appropriate time.

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