When Valentine’s Day Is a Downer

Parenting

Valentine’s Day can be a real downer for many teens.  It may be nothing more than a reminder that they don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, fueling some of the negative beliefs they may already have about themselves.

Sometimes schools add insult to injury by drawing greater attention to it.  Although last week was “Spirit Week” at my daughter’s high school, I found the theme for Friday to be a bit unsettling.

You were supposed to wear a color to represent your relationship status.  The different colors showed if you were taken, single or in a relationship dubbed “it’s complicated.”  There is nothing like drawing attention to those who don’t have boyfriends or girlfriends.

Of course, my daughter was all over this.  That’s because she could proudly wear a red t-shirt (in a relationship).  In fact, she even went so far as to decorate a red shirt for her boyfriend.

As much as we parents might wish that teens wouldn’t get so wrapped up in relationships, there is little we can do to stop it.  We can’t change their feelings and desires to feel wanted.

But we can be there for them when they are feeling down or upset that no one will be giving them a gift on Valentine’s Day.  One of the worst things we could ever do is dismiss our teen’s feelings or suggest that it’s no big deal.  To them it is.

It might be a good idea to take a trip down memory lane and recall some of the same feelings and troubles we had in high school.  Remember how it felt when you thought you were in love?  Or how devastating it was to not have a date for the prom?  Or knowing you wouldn’t be receiving a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day?

Let your let teen know that you have been there.  Sometimes by sharing our own painful experiences, we can help them understand that they aren’t alone in this.

As much as we can’t replace the hole that some teens might feel when they don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, we can still do everything in our power to make them feel important not just on Valentine’s Day…but every single day.

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