With daughters 10, 12, and 14 I've been giving a lot of thought to how to help them build relationships with both genders while preparing for dating. In particular, I have a lovely 14-year-old daughter who is starting to notice boys, and they are starting to notice her too. You might even say there is a crush or two developing.

I don't want to put the kibosh on these feelings. I remember having them myself and I think they were not only great learning experiences but also a time to just have fun and not worry about the more serious dating stuff. On the other hand, we do have family and church guidelines and we definitely want to encourage our children to stay within those bounds as well.

So, I am asking for your thoughts. If you've passed this stage with some of your children, how did you navigate it? If your children are younger, is there anything you are doing now to prepare them for the “in between” time (I would call it ‘tween but they really are teens, just not dating teens yet). 

What milestones do you have for certain ages? How do you handle that first crush? Do you just ignore it, talk about it, foster it in healthy ways?

When my kids were little I always thought I would know exactly what to do. Now that it is upon me, it's harder than I thought!

I would love to partake of your wisdom, fellow Mormon Mommas (and dads too!)