Keeping open doors of communication with your t(w)een

A few months ago, while straightening up our house and getting dinner put together, my daughter says to me: "Mom, guess what?! One of the boys in my class likes me!"

First off, I'm not a "drama mama" with the big reactions, I have a tendency to be more cut and dry when it comes to these kinds of things. The first thing that came to mind that I wanted to say was: “Oh honey, you're so silly! Why are you even thinking about boys, you're in fourth grade?!” Well...I stopped myself. I didn't say what I REALLY wanted to, instead I replied back and said: "Oh that's great honey! I'd hope that every boy and girl likes you; you're a nice girl!" Of course she rolled her eyes at me and said "Mom, not like that!", then just laughingly walked away.

Raising kids can be a great balancing act of knowing when to say something (and what), offering a critique, or just letting it slide. Sometimes all your kids want is a listening ear, not your opinion. Be a "safe haven" for your kids. Leave those doors of communication open for them so they feel comfortable telling you, "Hey mom a boy likes me", while they're in fourth grade.  By keeping those options open for your kids while they're younger it allows them, as they age, the confidence to know that they can come to you with the big and little things as they move through those crucial teenage years.