When I was in elementary school, student council sold heart grams on Valentine’s Day for fifty cents. If you were liked enough or popular you may have gotten one. If you were smart you bought one for yourself, then it covered the embarrassment of not getting one. In middle school and high school, cheerleaders sold flowers on Valentine’s Day for one dollar with notes attached to them from the sender. There were squeals of joy from girls beaming that someone bought them a long-stemmed white or red carnation.
As a teacher in middle school for many years, the same tradition still continues years later. Similar squeals were heard in my classroom when flowers were delivered. However, just as noticeable was the silence of the other kids, or the fake show of the “I don’t care” demeanor. For a lot of teens, Valentine’s Day really sucks.
Dating is hard enough at any age, but teenage hormones and the peer pressure to date has almost become an obsession. Valentine’s Day just makes it all that much harder for some teens. As parents, we can, and will tell them that Valentine’s Day is just another day; that they are still young and don’t need to worry about love and romance just yet. Of course, with some this may sink in and with other’s they will shrug their shoulder as if they don’t care when deep inside, they are depressed that their peers are dating and they are not.
How can you help your teen survive the Valentine’s Day blues?
- Be sensitive to them. Valentine’s Day may not be a big deal for your teen, but if it is, be sensitive. Eighth through sophomores are emotionally and socially wired and things are magnified for them.
- Genuinely affirm them. Teens think romantic relationships fill a void in their lives. Teens are fragile, needing affirmation and love. They don’t always know healthy vs non-healthy relationships at this age.
- Take your teen out on a date. Dads, daughters need this from you and Moms, your sons need this. Take advantage of days like this to make your kids feel special. As a mom to four boys, they appreciate this.
- Write special messages. This year we made hearts and each day we have hung a special message on our boy’s bedroom doors. When they wake up in the morning they see their new message. Even my teenager is enjoying this. He made a comment that it is nice to know how we feel about him. That was adorable.
Not all teens struggle with this day, but all like to feel important and special every now and then. Don’t always wait for Valentine’s Day to make them feel special. No one ever said adolescence was a bunch of roses.
Certified Adolescent/Adult Life Coach