One reason for the disconnect is that parents think of dates as actual physical events—going to the movies, for example, or a dance. They socialize online in a way that is invisible to adults, says Jenna Saul, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Marshfield, Wisconsin.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
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.
These key tips will keep everyone on the same page.
Many parents assume their tween has no interest in the opposite sex because he or she hasn't said anything about it.
"Between the ages of 10 and 13, kids start having crushes and thinking about sexuality and romance, however they envision it," says Marilyn Benoit, M.
D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Villanova, Pennsylvania."Tweens aren't usually that interested in sex itself," says Miller. They want to know how to approach someone they think is cute, not talk about STDs.Most likely, they're not even thinking about sex at all—but may get freaked out because you are." Let them guide the conversation, and listen carefully to what is really being asked.This reassures your child that it's okay to be interested in getting to know someone better.Spelling out the parameters in advance also lessens the possibility of conflict later on."But it's actually a good thing," says Jessica, "because every few days I read her chat logs and see her conversations are mercifully innocent and appropriate." This kind of monitoring also applies to texts.