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Too Young for Girls
Q: I have an 11-year-old boy and I am concerned about his current interest in girls. Should I be alarmed yet, or let things proceed?
A: I would not be alarmed that your 11-year-old son has developed an "interest" in girls. Furthermore, unless you have found a way to stop preadolescent hormones in their tracks, you have no choice but to "let things proceed." It's a natural biological, emotional, social, and cognitive development we're talking about. You might find solace and some great practical parenting advice for this age and stage (11-14 years) in Margaret Sagarese's, The Roller-Coaster Years. It's tough to let go of our "little ones"; your son's interest in girls is one of those indications that they are not so little anymore. Don't embarrass him about this recent "interest." Be a good, non-judgmental sounding board if he needs it. He's going through lots of confusing, intense physical and emotional changes now. Hang in there with him.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.