Real – or almost the real LOVE – starts to appear sometime around elementary school. Of course it’s not that real adult love, but it’s not a mere toddler’s sympathy for another kindergarden friend. Sometimes it only lasts for a couple of weeks but sometimes it only ends because they go to different high schools. There are platonic loves that won’t ever clear up during school time and there are loves that are so intense that everyone will remember them after years. One thing is sure: most of them end before elementary is completed. And then it’s a new situation for both child and parents.
In early ages around elementary school, kids feel love for their classmates or school friends rather than celebrities like it is around high school. It’s absolutely normal, they spend most of their days with them.
We have to admit, this kind of love is not an easy thing. Let’s imagine:
- First, the publicity: It cannot be exposed because of several reason. First of all, you are a child. You don’t know how to handle it, how to express it right, or when you expressed it: What’s next? You have dreams, maybe you could hold each other’s hand on the last school trip for a while, and you write letters. Maybe it has to be a secret either because of personal shyness or because the boy/girl is the “love” of someone else in the class. Or, he or she is the most popular person in the class and everyone else loves him, so you only one of the crowd.
Maybe, you are a boy and you have no better idea to express your admiration than teasing the girl…or maybe you are a girl and you imagine the Prince to not like teasing you.
- Second, the time factor: normally you only can be with your love (which only means you are at the same place in the same time) during school time or on workshops and trainings. If you are around 12, maybe you have the chance to go out for a walk, and go home in time. Otherwise, your parents will monitor your free time after one mistake.
- And the worst of all: by the time you have thoughts on how to express this love and when, it can be over.
Not so nice circumstances, right?
So the first thing to keep your eyes on an understand:
Don’t ever ridicule the child. It’s not a tiny moment in your child’s life, when the crush is still the center of his/her day. When it ends, it’s most probably still be in the center. Besides caring for them, you have to know that it would hardly ever become serious, so you cannot let the child put his love in the center of his focus all the time.
What to notice:
The most important thing is to notice when this love is out of control and affects your child's days. When you have an older child and he has a phone, it may cause problems when they make phone calls or chat the entire afternoon, or till late at night. Chatting on the internet instead of learning or taking part in family programs is not okay. When he neglects his friends, workshops, or trainings, it’s far more than what's normally allowed. Of course, you don't need to allow this, you have to set limitations.
Second to notice when you feel you need to ask:
It’s all about little signs that they send or not. If they speak a lot about someone, they are ready to talk about it and just don’t know how to start the discussion. You can show moderate interest but do not ask all the time about the person. For example, if he’s talking about a girl much, you can ask questions about the how the girl acts towards him, is she nice to him or not, do they play together during breaks, etc.
How to support:
Sometimes girls – who are usually much more communicative than boys – writes love notes or Valentine cards for the boy. If she works on the card in the living room, you can ask her if she wants you to help. But when she works in her room and closes the door, do not bother her. You have to catch the signs either when it’s still working or when it ends.
For older kids, you can allow them to go together to the playground just like before. Apart from your kid’s feelings, nothing changed, they will play together at the playground just like before. If you don’t struggle with problems with your child rearing, you don’t need to think of bad things.
How to understand when it’s over:
- First of all, when a child’s love is ended, and especially when it’s not up to him, or worse, he was “cheated” on, it’s not only an end of a love. It’s the first disappointment for your child. The first person besides the family who will get closer to a child’s soul is the first love. When it ends, it’s the first time when someone who was the one of the closest person in his life steps out. This is a huge loss, no matter what we think about children love.
For days, it can be the worst he ever lived through. He must face the loss by seeing the person day by day as he hasn’t got the right that adults have. When an adult love is over, we just don’t call, don’t meet, divorce, move apart, take a break, etc. He can’t, he has to go to school every single day and watch his ex-love all day and struggle with his feelings. Besides - of course - they are in school to learn not for take care of their feelings. Carrying out the demands of the teacher and parents is both difficult when it’s on or over.
Sounds fine, doesn’t it? Do you know a child who finds out he would like to have artisan workshops, then his interest finally ended one day? Maybe it was a girl, not the art… This love can lead days and programs. It’s everything while it exists.
- The second: some kids are ready to share either their love or their disappointments. It depends on the kid’s personality, age and the child-parent contact. If you didn’t talk about your feelings in the family, you mustn’t expect him to talk about his hurts and it’s important not to force him to talk about it. If it was a platonic love that cleared up and admitted, then rejected, it’s real failure for him. They learn to lose and strengthen personality values at the same time.
According to his personality, you have the same choice we talked about at the beginning: catch the signs about their desire for helping them by discussing the disappointment or leaving them alone. Until it’s a moderated trough of a wave you don’t have to take action, it’s a learning process. By the point you notice anything suspicious or unhealthy, you must take the action, of course.
Without words, you can help them by organizing programs that they used to like before or that they are interested in. Making an old dream come true is also an option to take their mind off their problem.