Teens often struggle with their first romantic inklings.

How Teenagers Handle Crushes

by Erin Schreiner

Your son pulls his books from his locker and shuts the door. As he does, his eyes land on the taller-than-him blonde from his science class. His pulse quickens and his knees start to shake as he looks down the hallway at her. Though he knows he should divert his gaze so he doesn’t look like a creep, he can’t. Why not? Because he has a crush. As children transition into teenagers, they can and do develop these infatuations, and they don’t all act on them in the same way, however. Teens have a number of different ways to deal with crushes.

1. Fixations

Teens often find crushes all-encompassing. It is not uncommon for teens to fixate on their crushes, daydreaming about them constantly and, when not day dreaming, thinking about them or doodling their names in notebook margins. Though fixation is inherent to having a crush, parents should cautions teens not to become too singularly focused on one person, warns psychologist Carl Pickhardt, author of “The Connected Father,” in an article for “Psychology Today.” Remind your teen to keep her head clear enough to make sound decisions, warns Pickhardt, because some fixated teens allow their preoccupation to cloud their judgment.

2. Awkward Exchanges

Though teens would like to present the best versions of themselves to their crushes, their nerves often prevent them from doing so. Teens commonly feel awkward around their crushes, finding themselves tongue-tied and shy or feeling so overwhelmed by excitement that they act foolish or giddy, according to KidsHealth. Because they are so overwhelmed by the unfamiliar emotions they feel, they might behave inappropriately, teasing or taunting crushes to get their attention and, in doing so, actually pushing the objects of their affections further out of reach. Help your suddenly awkward teen by reminding him of the appropriate ways to express affection and talking about methods for calming nerves, such as taking deep breaths.

3. Confiding in Others

Particularly when handling a first-time crush, getting a hold of the awkward emotions that surge through their bodies can be difficult for teens. Some of them talk to others in an attempt to make handling these thoughts and feelings easier. Girls are typically more eager to talk about their crushes, states Katy Abel for Family Education. If you teen wants to talk about his feelings, support him and engage in the conversation, recounting similar instances in your past. If he doesn’t seem eager to share, continually remind him that you are there for him if he needs you, but don’t push him to speak because doing so will likely strengthen his resolve to keep his feelings to himself.

4. Love Notes

For many teens, the thought of walking up to a crush and engaging in a verbal exchange is terrifying. Many crush-ridden teens elect to communicate through writing, composing messages that they can edit and re-edit to perfection before delivery. Teens often dedicate as much attention to making these notes visibly attractive as they do to including just the right words, according to Elisa Benson for “Seventeen Magazine,” in her article detailing the proper procedure for writing a flirty message to a boy. While paper notes do still pass from crusher to crushee commonly, many modern teens send such messages digitally, via text, social media or instant messaging. While love notes can be relatively harmless, remind your teen not to engage in the exchange of inappropriate pictures or sexually charged messages.

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