Puberty means that your daughter is producing a surge of hormones. These hormones are responsible for all the physical changes she is going through. They also mean the beginning of sexual feelings. At this age, she will most likely start having crushes on boys and may even have a ‘boyfriend’. Don’t get too concerned as it’s all a part of growing up.
When she likes a boy
You may feel concerned when you discover that your daughter is beginning to have a close relationship with a boy. Your little girl is just growing up. It’s more than likely an innocent friendship at this age. Your daughter and her friend are probably just hanging out together and doing things they would normally do with their other friends. It’s also normal for girls and boys to hold hands at this age. Remember, this is how your daughter learns how to navigate relations and deal with the other sex.
Encourage openness
It’s important that you establish a relationship of openness with your daughter about the nature of her new friendship. She may feel a little bit guarded, unsure and uncomfortable about speaking to you. Try and do your best to make her feel comfortable about speaking openly with you. Speak to her about the importance of having the confidence to say no and make sure she understands that she never has to do anything she’s not comfortable with. Most importantly, let her know that you are placing your trust in her but that she in turn needs to respect this trust.
Set ground rules
If your tween daughter now has a fully-fledged boyfriend or even just a casual friendship with a boy, it’s important that you set some ground rules. Rules may include not allowing them be alone together, setting evening curfews and telling her she’s not to call or text this friend after a certain time.
If your daughter knows in advance what your rules and expectations are, it will make it easier for her to behave appropriately. Discuss the rules with her and give her the opportunity to voice how she feels about them.
Be prepared for an emotional journey
Relationships at this age can be emotionally charged and fraught with drama. However, this is part of how your tween will learn how to be in a relationship and how to take charge of her emotions. It can be a challenge for your older tween or teen so it’s likely she will need your support. Don’t make light of or ridicule her feelings as she will feel as though she can't come to you in future.