By HoneyGood.com Guest Contributor, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
We’ve all been there. The first crush. That rush that takes us by surprise, whether we are 5 or 19. Unexpected most of the time. I’m a positive psychologist in private practice for over 35 years. I can tell you, love is a big problem. Whether it is falling in love, or being in love, or not being loved, or trying to forget about a lover. No matter what stage of life, love can be a royal pain if not understood. Helping kids, tweens and teens better understand the feelings and issues around a first crush, or around falling in love can be very helpful. So, how can you help your granddaughter when she has a crush?
Who better to do this, than a grandparent? Now, let’s get honest. Haven’t we been around a long time? And haven’t we seen all sorts of ‘love’ situations, both good and bad? Haven’t we done some loving ourselves? Sure we have and hopefully, still, are. So let’s help out those youngsters when the first surges of passion and desire stir.
The First Crush
I had my first crush at nine years of age. What a shock! A new kid walked into class; I was busy doing an assignment when I looked up, and suddenly I had feelings I had never felt before. I couldn’t take my eyes off this kid, and I felt my heart beating fast. What was it about him? Was it his eyes, his mouth? To this day I am not sure. But I do know I had a serious crush.
Over the next three years, I carried this crush, thinking I was in love. As I approached puberty, I often imagined us kissing or lying in the sun after swimming together. Sadly, I also realized that in the real world, this kid was not sharing my passions. I’m not sure he knew I had a crush. Finally, as time went on, I stopped thinking about him, helped by the fact that I was growing taller and he was growing shorter. 😉
So what are some pointers I can give to you as a grandmother myself, a positive psychologist and someone who had a very long first crush?
Never make fun of a granddaughter’s crush or feelings of falling in love. Listen, be sympathetic and interested, and share your initial feelings about love easily, and even some of your first adventures. Your being real will be very helpful and appreciated, and in many cases, your grandchild’s parents may not have the time, energy, or patience to share like this. You do.
Encourage your grandchild to stay involved with her school work, hobbies, sports, after-school activities, etc. This is the time of her life, whether she is 9 or 17, to keep developing talents and skills that can lead to a successful career, wonderful hobbies, great friendships, healthy living, etc.
Real Talk… and Listening
Explain some reality issues to your grandchild. For example, reminding your grandchild that you had more than one crush, and perhaps several serious relationships that felt like love will widen the window and build a bridge to understanding each other. No harm in letting your grandchild know that all of this amazing biology of attraction has been with us for tons of years. It helps us mate, raise children, to eventually have grandchildren, but it isn’t perfect. However, it is good enough! After all, it led to you having this marvelous grandkid.
And, above all, hug your granddaughter and tell her how much you love her.