Valentine's Day can trigger many emotions for anyone in or out of a relationship. For teenagers, it can be especially challenging if their heart has been broken or if they feel alone. Social distancing, due to COVID-19 has minimized contact between our teens and their peers, as many high school students have opted to attend virtual classes. Although, it may be cool to wear pajamas all day, the fact is that physical human interaction is important. In-person communication helps us engage at a deeper level and allows us to get to know different aspects about those around us. It's the little things that may often attract us to another individual.
Getting to know people through text or by listening to their voice in a virtual class while glancing at their ceiling fan or raised eyebrows can be quite difficult . With that said, maintaining relationships can also present its struggles including to teens what do you do when your teenagers are feeling down because they lost their sweetheart or are simply feeling bad for not having a significant other?
Here are 4 tips that you may find helpful:
TALK TO YOUR TEEN
Valentine's Day this year will undoubtedly different. Every year we are bombarded with beautiful store displays and social media ads showcasing chocolates , balloons, stuffed animals, and other trinkets that have always been on the top of the gift exchange list. There is indeed a “new norm”.
How do we help our kids handle the quarantine or the feeling of solitude or even worse, a heartbreak? The best way to approach this is through presence. Talk to your kids about their immediate needs value their feelings by allowing them to share their emotions and show your support without judging or dismissing their feelings. This is the time to allow them to process their thoughts . Although stories are generally good and well-intended, avoid the making it about you and how well you handled your first breakup. Unless they ask if you have been through something similar, save that tale for another day. Don't say things like, “this will happen many times in your life , just let it go” or “this is not worth your tears.” instead ask them what can I do to help you feel better? Instance Interestingly they may have an idea of what may help then feel better, it won't be up to you to figure it out for them. Don't take their response personally, if they don't want to open up. Give them some time and just hold space for them. This means, if you need to cancel your afternoon meeting , let them know they are your priority.
PLAN AN ACTIVITY TOGETHER
It can be mind-bottling to decide what to do with your teenager. In most cases, it’s not because there aren’t enough things to do, it’s because we feel the need to convince them to do something we would like to do. The truth is that we need to focus on trying things that they’d like to do with us, yes, this includes the awkward twenty attempts to record a Tik Tok video or getting brutally over-thrown at their favorite videogame. It can also be a great time to boost up their esteem by making this time about them. Find out their favorite movie or catch a few episodes of their best series. Just some time together, without the light beaming off your face from your laptop. Simply take time off to chill together. Self-care activities always take the cake at my house. A little pampering with home-made ingredients is all it takes. Sure, you can use the fancy products, but there are other DIY options that make for a lovely treat. At the very least, pack a basket with a delicious lunch and have picnic together. It’s not the time to talk about school or trying to fix anything you think needs fixing, it’s just about time together. You can stay safe and create the special time together right at home. Remember you are the most influential person they have. Don’t be fooled by them trying to push you away or ignoring you, they are your kids and need your love too.
CREATE A MIRACLE BOARD
Visuals and positive thoughts are important, and our brain does not distinguish between being excited about a picture or a real-life situation. For this, many people create vision boards, a way to take time to picture a bright future on paper. I prefer to call these miracle boards. The purpose is not solely material things but an opportunity to build hope and create a holistic approach to things they would like to see in the world. It’s a combination of things and situations. The great thing about this is that as things begin to unfold, your teenager will develop a sense that miracles are real. It is not up to us make things happen but appreciating the process of allowing things to happen and being grateful as they show up. It helps us give credit to a greater force than ourselves and it teaches us similarly that when things go opposite from what we’re expecting, there are greater things ahead. Simply grab a small poster board and a few magazines or print out a few pictures off the Internet and create a collage of what you see ahead. Talk about what that looks like and allow your teens to see you dream big too. There are no limits to miracles, especially when you start lining them up with daily goals.
SHOW THEM LOVE IN THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE
The term, “love language” was coined by Gary Chapman, author of the book, The Five Love Languages. He discovered that individuals have five love languages. These are: words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, acts of service and physical touch. To feel loved, we need to experience others expressing love in our own love language, not theirs. Fortunately, you can access a copy of this quiz that your teenager can take. Even if your teen has already taken the love language quiz in the past, it's great to take it again, because the love language can change. Be intentional about expressing your love in that way. For example, if the result of the quiz shows that their love language is gifts, then purchase something even if it's their favorite chocolate bar and put it in a gift bag. The feeling of receiving a gift is fulfilling. Surprisingly, if you try to show love in any other way, they will not perceive it as love. In the same token, if their love language is acts of service, and as a parent you always expect your teen to do everything for themselves, they feel alienated an unwanted. Mobile doggie you may want to ensure that you remind them how much you love them and that you gave them the weekend off their chores for that week as a special treat because they too deserve a break. Valentine's Day can be an excellent chance to strengthen bonds in any relationship.
When you hear your teen say "Valentine's suck" make it the perfect opportunity to create a parent-teen moment. It can even develop into a new tradition; just start by saying: Will you be my Valentine's?
Have any suggestions or other ideas? Comment and share your thoughts on how parents can support their teens this Valentine's and beyond.