What To Do When Your Daughter Falls In Love For The First Time

A psychologist's guide for helping your daughter through the emotional roller coaster of early relationships.

young girl swooning over new boy in class Alena Ozerova, Monkey Business Images | Canva

Falling in love can be sudden, or it can be slow and steady as many couples have reported who started their married lives with an arranged wedding.

The sudden burst of attraction, and then the obsessional thinking that goes with it, is what I’m talking about. Is there anyone who hasn’t been there? Certainly, most of us can remember the first time we were overtaken by an uncontrollable attraction.


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First love can happen earlier than most parents think 

It may happen as young as five, at least, that’s what several women have reported to me.

For me, I was thunderstruck by a boy at nine years of age. Of course, I didn’t run off with him into the sunset. In fact, he probably was totally unaware of my passion. It lasted for three years, although by the third year, I had just about given up and stopped thinking about him. The fact I had grown taller than him didn’t help either.


What advice do I have for the delicious dilemma of falling in love? Should I just say, enjoy it? That depends. If you are of age to date and the feelings are reciprocated, then you can proceed. I would say, with caution.

Why with caution? Simply because our biological response we call 'falling in love' comes along as a normal function of survival. That said, the instruments used to arouse the feelings of being in love may not be the wisest parts of us.

The aroused sensation that floats between our minds and our lower parts is lovely but probably hasn’t much ability to do higher level cognitive thinking.

The truth is, we have to be smart about falling in love. Otherwise, it can take us to all the wrong places.


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Eight ways to show your daughter support during her first relationship 

1. Don’t make fun of her.

Listen, be sympathetic, and share some of your own early feelings about love and even some of your early adventures. You being real will be very helpful to her.

2. Encourage her to stay involved in her school work, hobbies, sports, and other activities.

This is the time of her life for her to develop talents and skills that lead to a successful career and the opportunity to be financially independent if she chooses.

3. Allow her to get to know them.

If it's appropriate for her to spend time with the kid she's in love with, encourage her to invite them over to your house.


4 Encourage her not to rush into a full romance.

Get to know the person she is attracted to a bit, and their friends, their hobbies, their values, etc.

5. Recommend they do a variety of things together.

Some your daughter chooses, some her love interest arranges, and see how each feels.

6. Tell her to watch for deception.

She doesn't have to be a detective, but just be alert. People are not always who they say they are.

7. If she keeps falling in love, encourage her to move ahead — whatever that means to her.

Make sure she realizes the first waves of infatuation are biological and eventually simmer down. Then what she's left with can be a real attraction, a sharing of values, a sharing of interests, a sharing of goals and desires.


If this is the case, she should move ahead with all the excitement, fun and planning that joining up with a partner demands.

8. If she's not sure and the feeling isn't right, then by all means, encourage her to get out of the relationship.

Falling in love is just one stage of being with the right person.

Going back to me, I moved at age 11 and fell in love with someone else at age 13. Oh, and then I fell in love with someone else at age 14. Oh, and then…. at 23 which is when I felt all the right feelings and guess what? I got married.


Good luck. All of this biology has been with us for tons of years. It helps us meet, raise children and have relationships, but it isn’t perfect. However, it is good enough!! Happy Loving!

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Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is a positive psychologist, a best-selling author, and an award-winning Selfie Filmmaker focusing on coming-of-age issues for girls and women. She is also a noted podcaster. Many of her shows and interviews can be found on YouTube and Vimeo.