What to do when your daughter starts having closer relationships with boys
Puberty heralds a surge of hormones being produced in your daughter. These hormones are responsible for all the physical changes she will be going through, they also mean the start of sexual feelings. It's like at this age she will start having crushes on boys (or even men) and may even have a boyfriend. Don't get too concerned just yet, there are some ways you can help your daughter navigate her way through this time.
She likes a boy!
You may feel a little panicked or concerned when you discover your daughter is starting to have a close relationship with a boy, that's normal. Your little girl is growing up. It's likely that it's just an innocent friendship at first. They may just like hanging out together and doing the same types of things she likes doing with her girlfriends, this is perfectly normal. It's also normal for young girls to start getting involved in 'lovey-dovey' behaviour, such as hand-holding. Remember this is how your daughter is learning to navigate relationships and deal with the other sex. It's just another step in a life-long journey of relationships and love.
Talk to your daughter about her new friendship. She may feel a bit guarded and unsure, but try and make her feel comfortable about opening up to you. Remember to respect her privacy too, though. She's probably feeling a great mixture of emotions. Talk to her about being confident to say no, let her know that she never has to do something she's not comfortable with. Let her know that you trust her, but also that she needs to respect this trust.
Setting ground rules
If your daughter now has a 'fully fledged' boyfriend or even if she just casual friendships with a few boys, you may want to set some ground rules so that your daughter knows what you expect. It may be things like not being alone together in her bedroom, setting afternoon/evening curfews or saying she's not allowed to call or text after a certain time. If she knows ahead of time what you expect, it will make it easier for her to behave appropriately. Give her the opportunity to let you know how she feels about these rules or guidelines and then discuss why they are important to you and your family life.
First love and relationships can be emotionally-charged and fraught with drama. Remember, this is part of how your daughter is learning to be in a relationship and how to control her emotions. It can be a rocky road for some teens, so it's likely she'll need your support. Don't belittle or ridicule her feelings, for her they are the world and if you make her feel bad she may not confide in you or seek help in the future. Also, remind her of how you expect her to behave at home and that she needs to respect the feelings of other members of the family.
- This article was written by Corinne Draper for Kidspot New Zealand. Sources include BetterHealth and Child and Youth Health.
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