DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter has a crush on a boy in her class who, so far, has paid no attention to her. I know about the crush because she has mentioned it to me a couple of times. I am so glad that we talk openly, but I do not know how to support her in this. Obviously, you cannot make somebody like you. And they are just 12 years old, so while it's a simple crush, her emotions seem pretty high right now. How can I help her to back off a bit from him and regain a sense of calm? She's an emotional mess because she is obsessing over him. -- Hot Girl, Racine, Wis.
DEAR HOT GIRL: One of those hard-to-learn lessons in life is about the cat-and-mouse dance of dating. If your daughter really likes this boy, she is going to have to learn that actively chasing him, trying to get his attention, is likely to push him away. As your daughter learns many things about puberty, she should also be learning how to handle herself when she likes someone. Teach her that it is fine to be friendly, but not pushy. If she is going overboard showering him with attention, it's time for her to refocus on her studies and her girlfriends. Being overly interested and smothering will definitely turn this boy off.
Your daughter also needs to learn that not every boy she likes will like her in the same way. Some people will just remain friends, if that, and that's OK. Also, people don't always become interested in each other at the same time. Their timing may be off, which is important to understand and accept. If he is not responding in a way that reflects her feelings for him, suggest that she fill her time with other activities so that she can relax a bit. You can help her by doing some of these activities with her or arranging things for her to do with her friends.