Good evening tweeps! We thank God it’s another Friday and it’s time to listenup on #ListenUpNG ~ a weekly mentoring event 1/ @biodunodunukwe

Today on #ListenUpNG Wk38 with @biodunodunukwe starts right about now! 2/

This month on #ListenUpNG is dedicated to learning more on the #21stCenturyParenting A big thank you to our guests on the September Edition 3/

In case you missed any #ListenUpNG sessions, visit http://t.co/AKOCLGvxJJ to read up 4/

Our guest today @biodunodunukwe will be tweeting on this real life issue and teaching us how to navigate this season in the lives of our teens 5/

@biodunodunukwe is a wife, a mum and a speaker who is passionate about PARENTING, MARRIAGE AND WOMANHOOD 6/#ListenUpNG

#ListenUpNG @biodunodunukwe She is also the author of REDEFINED PARENT and the brain behind redefinedwomanhood.com …7/

…a women’s forum with the vision of redefinition, transformation and all-round healing for women. #ListenUpNG 8/

#ListenUpNG Join me to welcome our special guest as we learn how not to make a mountain out of a molehill in this real life issue 9/

Get ready parents and child care givers, stay calm as we follow this simple therapy .

For a moment forget your academic, professional, career, religious , marital or any other status you have acquired and be your very self

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, in and out, go down the memory lane and recall when you had your first crush on the opposite sex?

Great! You are likely to feel your body giggle now, or you’ re wearing a smile or nodding your head in affirmation. Lol

Once we can admit the reality of experiencing this as parents, it becomes easy for us to acknowledge this developmental stage in our children

Many parents would naturally want to avoid this talk with their children and rather expect them to follow the parents’ rules

The reason is not far-fetched, many lack the adequate skills in discussing such intimate matters with their children

Inability to discuss your child’s crush with him/her is obviously a red flag situation that must be guided against by parents

Quite often we are caught off guard when we discover our child is having a crush on the opposite sex especially when it happens below the age below 12

Believe it or not, age 7 and 8 children are visibly expressing their romantic affections towards one another

As long as our children interact outside the family circle, get more exposure to various forms of media which encourages romance, they are bound to get attracted to the opposite sex

This begins to happen when they attain the puberty stage which could be as early as age 8

Hence Puberty sets the ball rolling for children’s romantic affection towards the opposite sex

You cannot stop hormones from kicking in your children, it is a natural occurrence

If you are lucky to have your child express his/her feelings to you, accept his/her innocence but don’t fail in your duty to provide guidance

Parents need to be aware of the following reality that about a child’s crush:

A crush can be initiated by your child or he/she may be at the receiving end of it

A crush is a healthy part of your child’s growth

A crush can be a source of pain just like a heartbreak experienced by an adult is.

A crush can get your child confused because it occurs during an emotional stage where he/she is trying to figure out his/her true identity

The best time to begin to talk with your child about a crush is before puberty. It prepares the child for the future

Your child must be taught to respect and take good care of his/her body

Tell your child what puberty means, the signs of puberty in boys and girls so that it isn’t entirely strange to them

Create fun while teaching your child so as to improve bonding and learning, don’t be rigid

Educating your children at this stage is very crucial before they hit the Teenage years

Parental bonding with teenagers is a tough one if proper relationship is not developed with them in their childhood years

With your female/male pre-teen, you can start up a conversation by asking ‘Who is your best male/female friend? Does he/she regard you as a best friend?

Your child’s response will determine what your next question will be. He /She may tell you, ‘Mummy (or daddy), ‘I like him/her but I don’t think he/she likes me’. This is a very good verbal clue for you as a parent.

Other clues from your child are being giggly at the mention of a name

acting romantic plays with some specific names

giving the eyes rolling expression or being starry eyed in the course of your romantic discussion

At other times he/she just want to be left alone without any interruptions

As a parent, you must discuss! Don’t downplay it but please don’t be forcey

This is a crucial stage in your child’s development

Let your child know there is a difference between fantasy and reality

You can ask about how your child feels when he/she is with a particular friend

It is not unlikely that children will keep changing friends as they move from one class to another.
They may also have some friends they are steady with.

Poor relationship between parents could make a child hold on to a crush as the child tries to find a better company in a friend

Teach your child about setting boundaries. Children express their crush for one another through lovenotes, kisses, hugs, staying together.

Time boundaries should be set on phone and computer usage
Teach your child why he/she should not to kiss or allow anyone to kiss him or her to avoid sexual arousal

Not to stay alone with the opposite sex in a secluded place to avoid the pressure of sexual exploration
Not to have sex just because of the feelings of sexual urge until he or she is MARRIED!

Stick ABSTINENCE into your child’s ears and provide religious and moral proofs.

Get responsible models for your child. Know that you are your child’s primary model .

When your child hurts because of dislike by someone he/she likes, make him/her feel good by reminding him/her of his/her good qualities

Children love stories, tell them some of your experiences as a child so as to give them confidence that what they are experiencing is normal

For your teenagers, the big boys and girls, you can bring up some sexuality topics and ask if he/she has any idea

Or request that you need help in doing a research work and need his/her contribution or that of his/her teen friends. Lol

Lets look at some Don’t s as we round up this session

Don’t embarrass your child by discussing his/her crush with his/her friend

Don’t expand the flames of your child’s crush eg encouraging your child to emphasise his/her likeness to the other party

Avoid sleepovers as much as you can especially if it has to do with someone you suspect your child is having a crush on

Above all, do all you can to keep communication lines open with your child.

Wow! Thank you so much, Biodun! My boys are going to be 13 and 11 this year and I can absolutely relate with all these!

So parents, caregivers and custodians! Let’s be wise! Embarrassing that child is not the solution!

The #21stCenturyParents are ready to learn, unlearn and relearn. Our parents or grandparent’s style of parenting is no longer adequate for the #21stCenturyChild!

Let’s invest in personal development so we can be ROLE MODELS to our children. Thank you for joining us today.

Watch out for the last session on #ListenUpNG as we conclude the SEPTEMBER EDITION. We will be discussing, YOUR CHILD’S TEMPERAMENT AND HOW TO HANDLE IT. It promises to be another enlightening session! Our children will turn out well IJMN.

About Kemi Odutayo

‘Kemi Odutayo, a graduate of University of Lagos, Nigeria is a Practitioner of NLP, a blogger, an author, a counselor and a media consultant. She is the Head of Operations, Me4 Communications, a publishing, marketing and communications outfit specializing in publishing books/eBooks, managing and offering training for social media accounts for individuals and organizations. Kemi and her husband of many years, Kayode Odutayo have a beautiful family blessed with three lovely children.