My 8 year old son climbed into the car after school the other day and said, “I know a secret.” These days, that could mean anything, so I tread lightly.
The secret? A girl in his grade has a crush on him.
My first reaction? “Don’t embarrass her.”
But this particular eight year old is so serious, so careful about what he shares, so intent on playing it cool, I didn’t want to spook him. So I responded sort of analytically.
“Don’t embarrass her,” I ventured, “It’s a big deal that she even told her friend that she likes you.”
Gauging his reaction in the rearview mirror, I plowed ahead, “Even if you don’t like her back, you don’t want to hurt her feelings. And if you do like her back, even though y’all aren’t allowed to be boyfriend-girlfriend at school, you really don’t want to embarrass her. Did I mention it’s a big deal that she let you find out that she likes you?”
He rolled his eyes and tried to will the molecules of the car door into a gas state so he could pass right on through to the street.
As a mother, it’s possible that I should have taken in the news from my son’s perspective, but instead I was instantly transformed into a pre-tween wrangling with her first crush-like feelings. And I panicked for her just a little.
No matter how loving, kind, and thoughtful we know our kids to be, that doesn’t mean they know how to handle the feelings of an admirer or their own feelings, for that matter. In elementary or middle school? Oh goodness.
This is about kindness. As parents, do we have the opportunity to instill kindness? I think so.
In the coming Valentine season of carnations delivered to class to those lucky few (did your school do that? talk about stomach dropping. I don’t know what was worse: getting a Valentine flower or not.), now is a good time to go over crush-revelation etiquette with our kids. No matter their age.
I asked Facebook friends, “What qualities do you wish you’d seen in your school-age crushes?” Below are tips appropriate for admirable young men from 5 to 55. (only women answered, so we’ll have to do a crush-worthy girl’s edition, as there are some differences)
Here’s to lovelier Valentine’s Days for generations to come!
14 Tips for Raising Crush-Worthy Boys (ones girls won’t regret like-liking):
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What are your tips for raising crush-worthy kids? What do you wish you’d seen in your school-age crushes?
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