Idealizing the boyfriend-girlfriend dynamic may suggest that “these relationships are important to being a complete person and being happy,” she said. Amanda J. Rose is a professor of psychological science at the University of Missouri who has studied peer relationships from childhood to adulthood. Furthermore, he added, “it actually reinforces traditional gender roles.”
Encourage your child to share what’s on their mind by asking open-ended questions. “What does it mean to have a crush on you?” suggests Christy Keating, a core coach in Redmond, Wash. or “What did it feel like?” Or you can use the classic hint “Tell me more”.
Ms Keating said you might consider sharing a similar story from when you were younger.
“Make sure you’re not closing them,” she said. “If we laugh, downplay or make fun of it when we’re 5, they’ll remember it when they’re 15.”
Use the opportunity to discuss consent
Laura Eagle, who taught kindergartners in Washington state for more than a decade, remembers one class in particular where romantic proposals were “a big deal.”
“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it’s a little early to be writing love notes,'” she said.
Some girls enjoyed chasing some boys – their crushes – at recess. On the surface it all seemed harmless, she said, but she pulled the girls aside and gently asked them to consider how these actions might affect their classmates.
“It was a real light conversation,” she said. “We all want to make each other feel safe.”
Young elementary school students are still learning how to respect other people’s boundaries, including personal space, so explaining the concept of consent — the need to ask permission and then respect the answer you receive — is essential, she said. .