Puppy Love

According to Wikipedia, puppy love is used to describe feelings of love or romance often felt by young people during their childhood and adolescence. It is named for its resemblance to the adoring affection demonstrated by puppies.

I know a little girl, who shall remain nameless, who is in the midst of a puppy-love kind of crush. Luckily the feeling is mutual and honestly, the simple, raw emotion these two have for each other is enviable. I know it will only last a short time, but it is so sweet to watch. I worry about a small broken heart, but is there anything else to worry about?

Since this week, we are focusing on relationships, I figured I’d do a little digging — always healthy to see if I should have more anxiety about my kids than I already do. I think I’m O.K. on this one.

It is a completely normal phase in some children’s lives. Not all kids will experience it, but some may have their first crush by the age of 7 or 8. By 6th or 7th grade, it is much more common, and in the current technological landscape, you can keep your eye out for red flags.

– An increase in the time spent on social media.

– An obsessive need to be in constant contact, either through texting, email or in person.

– A preoccupation with appearance.

For the most part, it is harmless and the best things you can do are:

– Don’t tease your child about it.

– Don’t minimize the relationship or the attached emotion.

– Don’t ignore it, but keep your interest at a casual distance.

– Share your own young love experiences. It helps to validate your child’s feelings and, when it ends, if they need a little support or a shoulder to cry on, they will be more likely to turn to you.

On Valentine’s Day, in the 2nd grade, I got a wooden car with a stuffed dog in it from one boy and a box of chocolates from another. That was the most exciting my love life ever got. On a bad day, I still think about skipping home with a mouthful of chocolate, gripping my little presents. For at least one day, I was loved by two men. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little puppy love!

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.

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