Instead, if they answer your questions or seem eager to date, you can steer the conversation toward reassuring them that these feelings are normal. Are they just trying to keep up with their friends?
"Parents can be so uncomfortable with the idea of their kid becoming more grown up -- we wish our kids could stay kids," Atkins says.
"The problem with that attitude is that your kid still is a kid.
Parents may joke that it’s an experience they want their child to have -- just not until somewhere around the age of 30. A 6th grade girl may say, "Jacob is my boyfriend," but what does that mean?
Seriously, though, when is your child ready to date? "At this age, kids use dating labels but aren’t ready to have much direct one-on-one interaction beyond maybe sitting together at lunch or recess," says Dale Atkins, Ph D, a family therapist in New York.
"Children may worry that a new person could replace them in your life or replace their other parent in theirs," warns Geraldine Kelly, One Family's Director of Children and Parenting Services.