We spend a lot of time speaking about the perspective of moms on this site. Given its name, that sort of makes sense. But that doesn't mean that we can't get into the headspace of a dad now-and-then. And what better topic to discuss with dads than a child's first crush? A child's first crush is one of the most monumental moments in a child's life, let alone a parent's. But from a mom or dad's perspective, it's a major change in the rhythm of life. Gone are the days of pure innocence. The doors to adulthood and maturity have begun to open, even if they open very slowly. It can be a confusing time for parents as they can often struggle to figure out how to feel about it all. This is especially true when the child is particularly young. This is why we've scoured the internet to find an assortment of real-life fathers who have publically weighed in with their own experiences.
This list will include 20 different fathers who have very unique and specific things to say about their children's first crushes. But it should be noted that some of these comments are very specific to whether they have a boy or a girl. That's why we've decided to split the list into those two categories. Additionally, we've included a category that both girls and boys tend to fall into. Without further ado, here are 20 Things Dads Have To Say About Kid's First Crush (Boys Vs Girls).
Boys And Girls
20 "Setting Boundaries Is Important"
Although some may think it's harmless and cute if a pair of kids are developing a crush on one another as young as five or six-years-old, this is not always the case. One father claims that "helping children understand their boundaries at a young age is vital when it comes to their first crush". He has both a girl and a boy and stated that he's keen on making sure that they know that there's a line.
For example, he claims that his kids know that lip-locking is a "no-go". This is especially true while they're in the presence of other children as he doesn't want them influencing them. But spending time with one another at recess and on playdates is totally fine.
19 "Who Their First Crush Is Can Be Very Telling"
Regardless of whether we're speaking about a boy or a girl, who they crush on is important. One father, a psychologist, claimed that who a child has their first crush on can be very telling about the kind of person their heart will be chasing as they age. Of course, he's speaking about children who are in important developmental stages.
A lot of the time, a child's first crush emulates one of their parents. This is because, theoretically, they've been around these individuals the most. But they may not have picked the best qualities of their mom or dad. This is why it's important for parents to ask questions about the crush to understand their motivations. Only then can they attempt to curb the behavior.
18 "This Isn't 'Stupid'"
Many times, a child's first crush doesn't exactly go as planned. Therefore both boys and girls can put a lot of unnecessary blame on themselves. Because they don't yet have the intellectual capabilities of an adult, they often gravitate toward belittling self-talk such as, "How could I have been so stupid?". To combat this, one father kept reminding his kid that they weren't being "stupid", they were just following their heart.
It's important for parents to remain non-judgemental. Being overly critical, or even pushing skewed advice, can be hard on children trying to navigate this foreign territory for the first time. It's important for a child to feel entuned with the realities of romance without harsh self-talk.
17 "It's A Chance For Them To Understand Rejection"
It's odd that this particular topic didn't come up on internet forums as much as it should have. But one dad did mention the importance of both boys and girls experiencing rejection at a young age. Rejection is something that they will have to get used to, especially when it comes to romance. Most people are going to go through a lot of crushes before they meet someone who they can actually build a viable relationship with. Therefore, encouraging kids to be open about their feelings but not expecting everything to unfold the way they desire is an important lesson for them to get used to. This comment is so forward-thinking and vital for a child's emotional growth.
16 "It'll Be Over Soon Enough"
For some dads, their child's first crush can be a real drain. This is because it can be all-encompassing, regardless of whether they have a boy or a girl. Obsession knows no gender; especially when it comes to young kids who really don't know how to deal with their feelings yet. One dad on the internet wanted to remind other fathers that this moment in time will soon come to a close. Crushes don't last forever. This is especially true of first crushes. Soon enough, a child will move on to the next person and then the next. As time goes on, each crush ill become easier to deal with as a child will have more experience, and a parent will as well.
15 "It's Important To Them, So Don't Laugh"
It's so easy to laugh-off our kid's first crushes. After all, it's just so doomed regardless of whether they are a boy or girl. Nothing long-term is going to come out of it. It's simply a fun learning experience for them. But some dads online have reminded others not to laugh in their faces. It's important that we all see and hear a child's feelings, even if it feels a tad outlandish.
Additionally, laughing-off a child's first crush is a great way for them to close their door to you. After that experience, they'll be unlikely to want to share anything with you. This means that it may be harder to discover important details of their more serious crushes as they age.
14 "Perhaps It's Not That Big Of A Deal"
This next father, Kevin, experienced a similar situation to the previous one. Only this time it had to do with his six-year-old son, Max. Kevin was informed by his son's teacher that Max was getting close with another classmate who was reciprocating the affection. Apparently, this caused quite a stir and therefore prompted the teacher to reach out to the parents to curb the behavior.
Kevin stands by the fact that his son's affection for his classmate is really no big deal. He thinks that it's really heartwarming that the two enjoy spending so much time together and that they like to hold hands etc. He believes that there was no cause for concern and that the teacher was making a bigger deal than it needed to be.
13 "Get Married At Recess. Just Ask For A Prenup"
Not every first crush is as big of a deal as we all may think. At least, this is the belief of one online dad. He shared a story about his five-year-old son who admitted that he had a crush on a girl his own age. Instead of worrying about boundaries being crossed, he trusted that his son was simply uninformed and unready for things that may cause more meaningful discussion. When the son inquired about what his father thought of the whole thing, his father's response to his little one was, "get married at recess, just ask for a prenup."
Essentially, he was encouraging his son to explore his feelings and simultaneously teasing him about something that really wouldn't amount to a whole lot.
12 "I Want To Understand Their Feelings"
Another great lesson we can learn from a dad online is the importance of understanding their feelings. He claimed that the best tactic, when being faced with his son's first crush, was not to push. He didn't want to harpoon him with an assortment of questions. Instead, he simply wanted to get into his son's emotional mindset. Since boys are more likely to shut down, he wanted to keep the door open.
His son was young at the time and showed interest in another boy at school. Instead of trying too hard, he asked him about how he felt when in the presence of this other boy. He wanted to truly gauge the interest level, as well as determine whether larger, more adult, conversations needed to take place or not.
11 "I Want To Keep The Conversation Going"
One dad (Terrance) truly understands just how easy it is for boys to shut down and keep things to themselves. Even when a parent seems to be the type who a son could share things with, they can easily still feel intimidated. This is why Terrance wanted to step back from inquiring about his son's first schoolyard crush and left the door open for him to share at his own pace. By doing this, he thinks he made his son feel more comfortable to come to him.
Luckily for Terrance, it seemed like nothing off-color was happening in his son's scenario, therefore he didn't have to intervene. But because his son felt comfortable enough to share, Terrance could make an informed decision.
10 "I Want Them To Know That It's Okay To Talk About Their Feelings"
This list has and will talk about how boys tend not to vocally embrace their feelings at a young age. But this entry has more to do with the fact that some don't understand how they're feeling. This tends to be because boys mature slower than girls do. One father freely admitted this and it's why he wanted to encourage his son's emotional growth.
Regardless of whether he and his son were talking about his first crush, he wanted to make sure that his son could verbalize how he felt. This especially true when his son couldn't find the words. The dad felt that by him doing this, he would help his son with his first crush and in many other aspects of life.
9 "I Want To Tease Them A Bit To Shake Them Out Of Apathy"
Sometimes boys have a tendency to appear apathetic about their feelings. This comes from age-old thinking that men should repress their feelings. Even if this isn't taught to them outright, it's been entangled in their biological and sociological DNA. This is why Denis really wanted to shake his son out of apathy. His way of doing it was to tease his son about his crush. This doesn't mean that he was downright mean to his son, he simply just wanted to help his son figure out where he stood on the whole thing. He felt that this would help his son embrace his true feelings and therefore be more open to them as he ages into a man with more long-lasting relationships.
8 "With It Come Teachable Lessons About Respect"
Nowadays, some fathers feel like they have an even bigger responsibility to help shape their boys into the young men that they should become. This is why they see a child's first crush as a wonderful opportunity to teach them about the importance of boundaries, consent, and general respect, no matter if they are interested in a girl or another boy.
But these lessons don't just stem from prominent news stories, they also have to do with the fact that it's unearthed territory. Parents often find that new experiences tend to be the best platforms for larger conversations. This is because children are moving through something that they haven't formed an opinion on yet. And when it comes to boys, this can't be more important.
7 "It's Not Always Cute And Harmless"
One father was taken aback by an email he received from his five-year-old daughter's teacher. The teacher had informed him about his daughter's recent connection with a young boy at their preschool and was worried that it wasn't healthy. At first, he thought it was "cute" that the pair were spending time together. He didn't feel his daughter was grown-up enough to make it more adult in any way. He babied her.
But his opinion changed once he heard the details from her teacher. This is because youngsters aren't aware of their own boundaries yet. This is all so new to them. Therefore, it's important for parents to help them cultivate healthy and positive habits regarding this subject.
6 "Being Comfortable Is Important"
One dad explained that he understands why some parents feel unsure when they hear that their daughter has her first crush. But he encouraged parents to feel confident in their daughters. He has a girl who he taught to be vocal about her level of comfort. He claimed that if she was at all uncomfortable with a situation she was in, she'd be vocal about it.
However, he also recognizes that younger children don't yet have the abilities to register every action that they could feel odd about. This is why he keeps a careful watch over his daughter, to make sure that she's happy and healthy, even when exploring a seemingly harmless crush for the first time.
5 "I Want To Know Why"
This next dad builds off the previous entry beautifully. Fred claimed that his first reaction to his twelve-year-old daughter's revelation that she had a crush was that of questioning. He didn't want to do it in an accusatory way. He simply wanted to understand what kind of person his daughter valued. Much like the previous entry, he wanted to make sure his daughter was going after the right type of individual.
Not only did this have to do with her crush, but his daughter herself. He wanted to make sure that he and his partner had instilled the right values in her. I.E. does she just like him because he's "handsome", or because he's got "passion", "drive", and "enthusiasm".
4 "I Want Their Contact Information"
Some dads have a habit of being over-protective of their daughters. Perhaps this comes from them realizing what they were like when they were young boys. Having a daughter can be a very important wake-up call for some guys. The father who wanted his sixteen-year-old daughter's crush's contact information, as well as license plate, could be seen as the over-protective type trying to redeem his past actions through his parenting. But, on the other hand, wouldn't you want to know how to get into contact with someone who was spending time alone with your underaged child?
Due to social norms, one may be tempted to be more protective of their daughters, but this can also be true of sons. After all, things can go wrong regardless of someone's gender.
3 "Wait Until You're Older"
One unnamed father claimed that he told his daughter that she was "too young" for a first crush. Although nothing beyond spending time together came from his daughter's new connection, he still wanted her to know that she shouldn't be thinking about anything more until she's "mature enough" to understand it. This meant when she was fifteen or sixteen-years-old.
Perhaps this dad explained his feelings in a way that could have pushed his daughter away, but we can understand that he's the type who wants his daughter to focus on other things until she's older. One could be curious to know whether he would have had a serious of a response if his kid was a boy.
2 "I Like To Play Things Cool"
One dad thought that his daughter would continue to be more open about her life with him if he were to "play it cool". This meant that he didn't want to pry or attempt to control what was going on in any way. After all, some young women prefer to keep this kind of information from their fathers as they are afraid of disappointing them or getting them angry.
When it comes to "playing it cool", this father didn't pursue any direct questions other than, "Are you having a good time?" and "How are you feeling?". By doing this, he opened up the floor for her to give him more details than he was directly asking for.
1 "I Prefer To Use Terminology Like 'Special Friend'"
One dad really didn't want his seven-year-old daughter putting too much stock into her first crush. He wanted to support it but truly wanted his daughter not to feel defined by it at such a young age. This is why he chose to refer to the subject of her crush as her "special friend". This doesn't diminish the importance of this crush in his daughter's eyes but also doesn't make it out to be something more than it is. After all, seven-year-olds aren't going to have legitimate boyfriends. she was seven.
Calling this other kid his daughter's "special friend", also put less pressure on his daughter. She didn't have to feel like she needed to do more than she was already doing with him as an adult label wasn't put on their connection.
Sources: ScienceDaily.com, AllProDad.com, HuffPost.com, Today's Parent, CanadianFamily.ca, PsychologyToday, MacLeans.ca, TheHuffingtonPost, Adoption.com/forums, Community/WhatToExpect, FathersForum.com, Fatherville.com, EssentiallyBaby.com.au, LikeFatherLikeSon/Forum, Thedadsnet.com.