Boy Crazy!

My daughter seems too young for this obsession.

Dear Lisa,

My nine-year-old daughter's boy crazy! She calls boys on the phone, e-mails them, and seems obsessed with them. She seems too young for this level of interest. How can I help her dial this down a notch?

Your concern is more on target than you realize. Your nine-year-old is on the verge of womanhood, where the thrill of the opposite sex is all part of the way God designed her. The question is, are you conscientiously teaching her how to draw the line emotionally?

Boys are most vulnerable visually, so wise parents don't allow them to look at stimulating pictures and movies. I think a girl's heart is most susceptible through her ears. That's why your first line of defense means paying close attention to whom she's listening and from whom she's receiving advice.

Many popular books, videos, and magazines marketed to today's preteen girls are saturated with talk about boys. This unhealthy infatuation with romance can awaken feelings she shouldn't have to deal with at her age. Your daughter's sexuality is just beginning to spark. Be careful not to add fuel to the fire by allowing media choices that encourage your little girl to grow up too fast.

You already realize phoning and e-mailing boys is fanning a flame that could get out of control down the road. So don't allow your daughter to initiate conversations with boys. She may accuse you of being "old-fashioned," but they don't call them "the good old days" for nothing.

The hard part will be encouraging your daughter to have healthy friendships with boys while reminding her not to open her heart to every young man who makes it flutter. The best way to help her achieve this balance is with plenty of heart-to-heart talks, ensuring your voice is the main one in her ear.

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