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D., an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Parents can unintentionally oversexualize the situation while undercutting healthy feelings.

"Between the ages of 10 and 13, kids start having crushes and thinking about sexuality and romance, however they envision it," says Marilyn Benoit, M.

D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

"So you have parents thinking their daughter has never dated while according to her, she's on her third boyfriend," she says. '" Try the same tactic with online activity: Find out whom she chats with and how that person makes her feel. But the point is to get regular conversations going.) As soon as the topic of a possible boyfriend or girlfriend arises, many parents wonder what to discuss.

"It seems silly to parents but is very real to kids." To bridge the gap, Saul suggests listening to your kids' conversations when they're on the phone, or when there's a group of them in the car. "Try saying, 'I heard you and your friends talking about crushes. While it's normal to want to protect your kids, experts suggest slowing down before charging into the condom lecture.

If your child shares her feelings, be careful not to trivialize them.

To a 13-year-old, a new rival for her crush's attention can be the worst thing ever. D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in San Francisco.

"Of course, the message may be different for each family based on their culture and dynamic," says Fran Harding, director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services center, which tracks teen behavior.

"The important thing is that the policies be very clear, consistent and enforced." Kids should know exactly where parents stand when it comes to their digital lives, as well as actual dating.

"What your tween really wants to talk about are feelings—the way her heart beats faster when she thinks about seeing the boy at band practice, or how good it feels when he says hi," says Benoit.

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