"What your tween really wants to talk about are feelings—the way her heart beats faster when she thinks about seeing the boy at band practice, or how good it feels when he says hi," says Benoit.
Immediately steering the conversation toward sex ed does kids a real disservice, says Elizabeth Miller, M.
If your child shares her feelings, be careful not to trivialize them.
To a 13-year-old, a new rival for her crush's attention can be the worst thing ever. D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in San Francisco.
Many parents assume their tween has no interest in the opposite sex because he or she hasn't said anything about it.They may even know that kids the same age "date," but are convinced that doesn't include their son or daughter.In fact, two-thirds of parents believe they know "a lot" about tweens' relationships, but only 51% of tweens agree—while 20% say mom and dad don't know a thing."And they should be aware of the consequences," says Harding, "if they don't follow the established family rules." First, let your kids know you'll be checking their social media pages and browser history from time to time.It's true that much of tween romance seems to unfold over chat, says Jessica Gottlieb of Los Angeles, whose 14-year-old daughter appears to have been bitten by the love bug overnight."Of course, the message may be different for each family based on their culture and dynamic," says Fran Harding, director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services center, which tracks teen behavior.