Tween Attraction

A tween with her head in hands as she stares dreamily into space

The first time your child is attracted to someone of the opposite sex, your reaction may be shock. But teachable moments can be found in all circumstances. Here is how some parents have helped their children through these burgeoning emotions:

Tween Crushes

When my daughter had a crush on a boy, I asked her to place his name in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6.

She did. "Sean is patient and kind; Sean does not envy or boast; Sean is not arrogant or rude. Sean does not insist on his own way; Sean is not irritable or resentful; Sean does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth." She frowned. "I saw him pick on another boy in the hallway.

I guess he wasn't very kind." She began to rethink her interest in him. This verse has not only given my daughter greater discernment about others, but it also has helped her reflect on her own behavior. I asked my daughter to substitute her own name into that passage. Then I explained that when we become more like Jesus, we become the right type of person for someone else to like.

— Diane Stark

Girl Likes Boy 

Like it or not, your daughter will probably begin to notice boys at some point. Refusing to let your daughter talk about them, or telling her it's wrong for her to be giving them a thought, is probably a mistake. If you won't discuss boy stuff with her, she'll find someone else to talk to, someone who's likely to give her misinformation — you know, like her BFF, who knows even less about the male gender than she does.

If you tell her she shouldn't even be thinking about boys yet, she won't stop thinking about them. She'll just feel guilty and become secretive. All that boy stuff may grow far bigger in her mind than it would have if you'd just said, "Of course you're noticing boys. You're growing up. So, tell me about it."

— Nancy Rue

"Tween Attraction," the compiled article, first appeared on in 2017. "Tween Crushes" first appeared in the February/March 2015 issue of Thriving Family magazine and was titled "Crushes." "Girl Likes Boy" first appeared in the January/February 2012 issue of <em>Thriving Family</em> magazine. It was adapted from Moms' Ultimate Guide to the Tween Girl World by Nancy Rue. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing for a gift of any amount.
"Tween Attraction," the compiled article, is copyrighted © 2017 by Focus on the Family. "Tween Crushes" is copyrighted © 2015 by Diane Stark. "Girl Likes Boy" is copyrighted © 2010 by Nancy Rue. Used by permission. 

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