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When my daughter was in preschool, she came home one day starry-eyed and breathless, gushing about a 4-year-old in her class. “I love him,” she swooned. “Sooo much.” Downplaying her theatrics, I tried changing the subject. She changed it back. I was baffled. That kind of love isn’t for children — is it?
As classroom Valentine’s Day card exchanges give parents an opening to talk to kids about crushes, here is some expert insight into children’s early inklings of romance, and tips on how to respond.
Do children really fall in love? Amanda Rose, a professor of psychology at the University of Missouri who focuses on friendships and peer relationships in childhood and adolescence, has researched romantic interests in children as young as third and fifth grade, half of whom report having a boyfriend or girlfriend — a percentage that goes down with age. The difference, she said, is that the younger children are less likely than adolescents to have reciprocal romances. An elementary school-age child might never be aware of being a classmate’s object of affection.
“What we’re capturing with those younger kids is probably crushes,” Dr. Rose said. And although there’s little research about crushes for children younger than third grade, many adults recall infatuations at those young ages — and we see them in our children.
Dr. Rose likens young kids’ crushes to other types of pretend play such as playing house or ambulance driver: It is a kind of practice.
“In research on children’s social and cognitive development, those activities are discussed as very important in terms of trying out, at a very rudimentary level, adult roles,” she said. “I could see crushes as very similar.”
Deborah Roffman, a human sexuality educator and author based at the Park School in Baltimore, said crushes are “a normal part of development, when kids start to see each other in ways that are a little bit different. I really do believe that they get a little zing in their heart.”
“I clearly recall falling in love with my second-grade teacher,” said Greg Smallidge, an independent sexuality educator based in Seattle who trains teachers and works with students in schools and community programs. But for parents, he said, “to appropriately allow our kid this normal thing is challenging because it does dip into our fears.”
“Parents are more confused than ever about what’s truly age-appropriate,” Ms. Roffman said.
Sex, of course, is not for children. But love and romance can be for anyone.
As a writer on sex education, I often speak in schools. I’ve met parents who cringe in talking about how their preschool- or elementary school-age child has enacted romantic behaviors with other kids, for example, by holding hands, talking about kissing or naming a classmate they plan to marry. They often suspect the behavior is problematic.
That’s in contrast to what I’ve observed of the Dutch approach to sex education, which emphasizes healthy relationships and normalizes early flutterings of children’s hearts.
When I researched school sex ed in the Netherlands, one of the world’s most sexually healthy and gender-equal countries, I found that Dutch speakers use the term verliefd zijn — “being in love” — with equal credence for children, teenagers and adults.
For Americans, being “in love” is usually reserved for older teenagers and adults. We use trivializing terms like “puppy love” or “boy crazy” for younger adolescents, and it’s arguable we have no everyday language at all for the romantic thoughts of small children.
Instead of brushing aside young children’s crushes, Ms. Roffman suggested simply reflecting back to the child that you are listening: “Oh, so you have some special feelings for that person.” That can invite the child to open up.
Dr. Rose suggests finding a middle ground between underreacting and overreacting, even if a child’s infatuation seems trifling. “Maybe you also think it’s silly that they don’t like broccoli, but that’s how they feel, and as little humans their feelings deserve to be respected.”
Acknowledging and age-appropriately supporting kids’ crushes (“How’s Sarah doing? Oh, you got to sit by her? That must have been fun!”) can be a valuable early opportunity, she said, to open trustworthy lines of communication with our kids about love, relationships and, eventually, healthy sexuality.
But there’s also no need to go overboard, suggesting that a wedding is on the horizon, she said.
Dr. Rose cautioned against teasing. Asking kids of any age about whether they have a boyfriend or girlfriend may send unintended messages about gender issues or sex, or make them feel too embarrassed to open up about love in the future. As a neutral conversation opener, you might ask if your child’s classmates talk about having crushes.
It can be especially important for boys to hear that it is good to have tenderhearted feelings. Research shows that American boys want intimacy and romance at the same rate as girls — but by admitting to that, they risk being seen as unmasculine.
With regard to the #MeToo movement, Dr. Rose said, we also can respond to children’s crushes by showing consideration for the object of their affection. It is an opportunity to reinforce an age-appropriate lesson about consent, even if the level of touching in the relationship amounts to nothing more than holding hands.
When engaging kids in conversation about the apple of their eye, Ms. Roffman suggests trying not to lead with questions that are gender-stereotyping or superficial (“Is she cute?”). Instead, she said, try asking, “What do you like about that person? What do you notice about them? What’s their personality like?” Kids also need to know that it’s normal to have crushes on someone of the same sex or gender.
Dr. Rose said it’s helpful to learn young to deal with breakups. “It’s the beginning of trying to experience what those emotions feel like and learning how to manage them. If you have a crush and he says something not very nice to you, or he ignores you, then that is a first opportunity for a 10-year-old to process, well, how do you manage those feelings?”
If families allow children to have play dates with their crushes, Mr. Smallidge said, they should help select activities suitable for the children’s age. Spending time together with a crush can be as simple as playing together at the park or getting ice cream, just as children would do with other friends.
One option, of course, is to do nothing at all about a crush except to savor it. “That is so safe,” Mr. Smallidge said. “That’s such a delicious feeling. One of the messages that would be nice for kids to hear is that they don’t have to do anything about crushes. A crush has its own value because it opens us up and it’s exciting. And most of them, I would say, end there.”
Bonnie J. Rough is the author of “Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids about Sex, Love, and Equality.”
跑狗玄机图纸解释奥秘一“【齐】……【天】……【齐】……【天】……”【通】【臂】【猿】【王】【低】【声】【嘟】【囔】【着】，【在】【强】【大】【的】【灵】【魂】【封】【印】【控】【制】【下】，【他】【的】【神】【智】【还】【不】【甚】【清】【晰】。 “【齐】……【天】……【猿】……【齐】……【天】……【我】【叫】【猿】【齐】【天】！”【这】【一】【刻】，【他】【的】【声】【音】【突】【然】【变】【得】【清】【晰】【起】【来】，【原】【本】【混】【沌】【的】【双】【眸】【中】【重】【现】【精】【光】。 【咚】——【咚】——【咚】—— 【只】【见】【猿】【齐】【天】【毫】【无】【征】【兆】【地】【抡】【起】【自】【己】【强】【壮】【健】【硕】【的】【两】【只】【胳】【膊】
【很】【多】【书】【友】【似】【乎】【还】【有】【很】【多】【问】【题】，【这】【里】【就】【统】【一】【做】【个】【回】【复】，【毕】【竟】【挖】【坑】【是】【要】【埋】【的】。 【本】【来】【我】【还】【以】【为】【这】【本】【书】【成】【绩】【这】【么】【差】，【不】【会】【有】【读】【者】【跑】【出】【来】【呢】！ 【第】【一】【个】【问】【题】：【鹿】【萍】【哪】【里】【去】【了】？ 【鹿】【萍】【是】【本】【书】【的】【第】【一】【女】【主】，【但】【存】【在】【感】【却】【很】【薄】【弱】。 【因】【为】【不】【可】【描】【述】【的】【原】【因】，【本】【书】【中】【后】【期】【有】【很】【多】【情】【节】【都】【省】【略】【了】，【虽】【然】【主】【线】【剧】【情】【完】【结】【了】，【但】【支】【线】【剧】【情】【却】【有】【很】
【叶】【晓】【晓】【注】【意】【一】【个】【小】【朋】【友】【很】【久】【了】。 【那】【个】【小】【朋】【友】【刚】【来】【幼】【儿】【园】【没】【几】【天】，【粉】【雕】【玉】【琢】，【唇】【红】【齿】【白】，【睫】【毛】【很】【长】，【眨】【眼】【的】【时】【候】【很】【可】【爱】。 【这】【不】【是】【她】【注】【意】【他】【的】【缘】【故】，【是】【因】【为】【这】【个】【小】【朋】【友】【都】【没】【有】【说】【话】，【一】【直】【低】【头】【画】【着】【什】【么】。 【奇】【怪】【的】【是】【还】【时】【不】【时】【抬】【头】【看】【她】【一】【眼】，【又】【低】【头】【画】【着】。 【明】【眼】【人】【都】【能】【看】【的】【出】【来】，【这】【个】【小】【家】【伙】【在】【偷】【画】【她】。
【靠】【在】【墨】【渊】【床】【边】【的】【墨】【莲】【正】【像】【是】【一】【个】【孩】【子】【一】【样】【的】【在】【哭】【泣】，【看】【着】【她】【眼】【睛】【都】【哭】【肿】【了】，【夜】【少】【泽】【心】【疼】【不】【已】：“【我】【已】【经】【让】【人】【去】【将】【天】【海】【阁】【的】【书】【重】【新】【翻】【阅】，【想】【来】【很】【快】【就】【能】【找】【到】【沉】【睡】【咒】，【只】【要】【了】【解】【了】【它】【是】【什】【么】，【我】【们】【就】【一】【定】【能】【够】【找】【到】【解】【决】【的】【办】【法】。” “【会】【不】【会】【沉】【睡】【咒】【就】【是】【像】【它】【名】【字】【一】【样】，【一】【直】【沉】【睡】？”【紫】【毫】【站】【在】【角】【落】，【小】【声】【的】【开】【口】【之】【后】，【立】【刻】跑狗玄机图纸解释奥秘一【结】【丹】【啊】！ 【卢】【龙】【斗】【明】【显】【颤】【抖】【了】【一】【下】，【垂】【下】【了】【头】【不】【敢】【再】【看】【蓝】【小】【凡】。【谁】【不】【想】【升】【到】【结】【丹】，【他】【也】【想】。【他】【比】【卫】【誓】【和】【蓝】【小】【凡】【入】【门】【都】【要】【早】，【不】【错】【的】【天】【资】【加】【上】【长】【久】【的】【修】【炼】，【修】【为】【上】【的】【厚】【积】【薄】【发】【让】【原】【本】【遥】【远】【的】【结】【丹】【境】【已】【经】【近】【在】【眼】【前】。【卢】【龙】【微】【微】【摇】【头】，【他】【已】【经】【不】【止】【一】【次】【听】【到】【自】【己】【同】【届】【跃】【过】【了】【这】【道】【坎】，【成】【就】【了】【结】【丹】。【这】【并】【不】【奇】【怪】，【天】【魂】【宗】【的】【修】【炼】【就】
“【小】【碟】，【小】【碟】【啊】，【啊】【啊】”【方】【玲】【一】【把】【鼻】【涕】【一】【把】【泪】，【鬼】【哭】【狼】【嚎】【着】！ “【糟】【了】，【小】【碟】【怕】【是】--” 【王】【林】【瞬】【间】【感】【到】【眩】【晕】，【五】【脏】【六】【腑】【刹】【那】【间】【都】【失】【去】【了】【知】【觉】，【有】【些】【不】【听】【使】【唤】【了】。【挣】【扎】【着】【的】【王】【林】【想】【跑】，【渴】【望】【再】【见】【爱】【人】【最】【后】【一】【面】，【怎】【耐】【一】【个】【趔】【趄】，【整】【个】【人】【瘫】【坐】【在】【地】【上】，【四】【肢】【像】【面】【饼】【一】【般】，【瘫】【成】【一】【坨】，【软】【而】【无】【力】；【筋】【骨】【似】【乎】【已】【不】【健】【全】，【喧】
【为】【了】【纪】【念】【他】【们】【的】【相】【遇】，【他】【们】【把】【婚】【期】【定】【在】【了】【八】【年】【前】【相】【遇】【的】【那】【一】【天】，【请】【来】【了】【各】【自】【的】【亲】【朋】【好】【友】。 “【你】【们】【八】【年】【的】【爱】【情】【长】【跑】【总】【算】【有】【结】【果】【了】，【我】【太】【感】【动】【了】！”【罗】【娜】【娜】【说】【道】。 “【又】【不】【是】【你】【八】【年】【长】【跑】，【你】【感】【动】【个】【啥】！”【周】【小】【茉】【说】【道】。 “【落】【落】【要】【结】【婚】【了】【我】【感】【动】【还】【不】【行】【吗】？”【罗】【娜】【娜】【说】【道】。 “【没】【想】【到】【落】【落】【竟】【然】【真】【的】【和】【顾】【清】【结】【婚】
【沈】【信】【用】【心】，【请】【来】【的】【乐】【队】【亦】【是】【古】【香】【古】【色】，【笛】【声】【清】【越】，【筝】【音】【曼】【妙】，【又】【有】【瑟】【与】【琴】【和】【鸣】，【临】【水】【而】【演】【奏】，【声】【音】【被】【水】【那】【么】【一】【润】，【热】【闹】【中】【又】【带】【了】【清】【雅】【的】【温】【柔】。 【沈】【泽】【溪】【忍】【不】【住】【就】【说】：“【完】【了】【完】【了】，【我】【哥】【结】【婚】【是】【这】【样】【的】，【我】【结】【婚】【的】【时】【候】，【怎】【么】【可】【能】【比】【过】【他】【嘛】？！” 【范】【佳】【依】【在】【一】【旁】【大】【笑】，【道】：“【沈】【泽】【溪】，【你】【要】【是】【不】【超】【过】【你】【哥】，【我】【就】【不】【嫁】