Your Child’s First Crush: Is it Puppy Love?

Susan is shocked as she picks up her seven-year-old daughter at school and sees her holding hands with a boy. “Who was that?” Susan asks her daughter as she gets into the car. “Oh, that’s my boyfriend, Robert” her daughter replies. “Your boyfriend!” Susan responds. “Yeah mom, we’ve been dating for three days now and I think we’re in love. We might even get married someday”. Susan is shocked by this news. How could her seven-year-old daughter (who thought boys had cooties last week) be in love with a boy and holding hands? “I hope this doesn’t get too serious,” Susan thinks to herself.

Does your child say they’re in love, but you know it’s just a crush?

Are you afraid of the disappointment your children will face when their puppy love will end?

When your children experience their first crush it may seem like puppy love to you, but it’s serious to your children. They are going through real feelings and emotions. These are feelings that they’ve never felt before which makes this time in their life new and exciting. Parents need to be supportive throughout their child’s first crush no matter how long or short it lasts.

Tips to Support your Children with Puppy Love

  • Be positive and nonchalant, but show interest in your children’s feelings.
  • Avoid minimizing your children’s feelings. Their feelings are real and intense.
  • Ask about the qualities your child likes about their crush, but avoid asking about that person every day. Comment on the good traits your child’s crush has.
  • Show you are open to listening to your child and let your child initiate the conversation. If you haven’t heard about that person in a week or two ask how that person is doing. Your child’s attitude will give you a hint whether or not the crush is alive or not.
  • Often, the relationship will pass effortlessly and sudden, sometimes for no reason. Explain to your child that “sometimes people change their minds about what they like for no reason and this can be confusing and hard to understand”.

By respecting and honoring the specialness of your children’s puppy love, they are more likely to file it away in their memory banks with the smile, butterflies and good feelings only a first love can bring.

For more tips on your child’s first crush and puppy love and more information about The Parent’s Toolshop® and its unique Universal Blueprint® problem-solving system, take the 7 Keys to Parenting Success ebook. You will be less frustrated, respond more calmly and feel more confident in any parenting situation.

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Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE is the author of the award-winning book, The Parent’s Toolshop and president of Parent’s Toolshop Consulting, where she oversees an international network of Toolshop trainers. She has 30 years experience as a top-rated speaker and parenting expert to the media worldwide, including serving as the Co-Producer and Parenting Expert for the Emmy-nominated Ident-a-Kid television series. She has interviewed many parenting experts on her Parents Tool Talk radio show and is a parenting expert columnist for Chic Mom magazine. She has produced almost 100 multimedia resources, which are available at her award-winning website,

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1 thought on “Your Child’s First Crush: Is it Puppy Love?”

  1. Pingback: Teen Dating: When Does Puppy Love Become More Serious? : Parents Toolshop

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