It’s finally happened. You’ve begun to see the signs all over her behavior. Her notebooks are covered with hearts and doodled initials. She’s constantly texting, talking, and typing with friends of both genders—and then giggling. Her interest in clothes, hair, and make up is taking off. In fact, these days it almost borders on an obsession with how she looks especially to others.
As a parent, you knew this day would come, but you have feared it nonetheless. When your daughter hits the age when she notices and responds to boys, when she becomes boy crazy, you’ve hit a whole new stage of parenting. Your little girl is growing up, the question is, are you prepared?
It is perfectly normal for girls to develop a new interest in boys and dating once they hit a certain point in their life. Generally each girl hits it a little differently, some early and some late, but usually it comes with the first signs of puberty in their early teens. Even if a girl has not yet hit puberty, however, she may be experiencing an interest in boys that has been inspired by the preteen culture of her friends and peers.
A newly boy crazy girl may be simply obsessed with the subject. Don’t be surprised if she not only talks about them, but also pursues them aggressively using all the social tools at her disposal. As a parent, its your job to be aware of her new interests and behaviors while ensuring that she pursues them in a manner that is safe for herself and others. On top of that, you may want to see that she spends at least a portion of her mental energy on other things.
What you can do for your child right now is to let her know that the feelings she is having are a normal part of growing up. Make sure that you are mentally and emotionally available for her to discuss them as necessary and take the time to help her understand when and how it is okay to act on such feelings—and when it is not.
Preteens and young teenagers are not yet ready for the mental and emotional component of a physical relationship, even if they feel physically prepared. This information, offered ahead of time and properly processed, can help your daughter make good decisions in the future.
With regard to your daughter’s current interest in boys, allow her to explore it under your watchful eye. Let your child know in no uncertain terms that they are not yet old enough to be considering one on one dates, but that there are acceptable ways and times for them to be around boys. Suggest that your daughter invite the boy she is interested over to the house when you’ll be around or on a family outing. You may also consider allowing her to accept invitation to group dates or public events like school dances.
What your child needs at this age is to be able to spend time with the boys she is interested in in safe social settings where she can learn how to date and be safe around members of the opposite sex.