My kids are closer to adulthood then elementary school right now, and if I’m being honest, when Valentine’s day comes around, I don’t miss the glitter and glue and hours spent writing names on cards.
I do miss, however, those chubby faces that used to run through my front door dying to show me their loot of candy and Valentines. I miss the parties where we played Pin-the-Heart on the Cupid. I miss their excitement about a holiday they enjoyed simply because they received a bar of small chocolate and a lunchbox note.
Now that I have three teenagers, the rules of the game have changed.
Hugs, especially outside of the confines of our home, are not always well-received, too much chocolate causes acne, and sometimes the mere fact that I am in the same room can irritate them.
But despite the constant eye-rolls and deep sighs, I’ve found that they still desperately crave our love and affection. Adolescents are going through tremendous emotional, physical and hormonal changes, and they need to know that we still care—even if their actions seem like they don’t.
While it’s tempting to want to revisit the past, sometimes we need to change the way we present our love to our volatile teenagers, demonstrate that we see them in this new, more mature stage. Valentine’s day is an excellent opportunity to show your growing son or daughter just how much you love the person they are becoming.
With the growing sense of individuality among teens and tweens today, it’s a good idea to give a gift that reflects your child’s unique self to show how tuned in you are with their life.
Unsure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
1. Have a date doing something they love.
I don’t know a lot of parents who love going to noisy arcades, playing laser tag, or seeing the latest superhero movie, but I know a lot of teenagers that do. Let your son or daughter pick an activity that normally you would shy away from, and do it together. Just enjoy the day and don’t force them to talk. It’s important to sincerely show that you have an interest in the things he/she enjoys doing. If timing is difficult, let them pick the radio station or the music channel you play on Alexa. The point is to demonstrate to your teen that you care about what interests them and relinquish a little bit of control.
2. Show them you know what they love.
What teen doesn’t love a good hoodie? Only the HoodiePillow Pillowcase can provide the ultimate cocoonification every teen wants, helping them tuck away the stresses of their day. It supplies warmth, quiet, focus, and a healthy sleep environment. (Have a teen that is on-the-go a lot as well? Grab the travel hoodie pillow.)
3. Recognize they are stressed.
Teens today have a lot on their plates: academic pressures, sports, volunteer requirements, church activities, jobs, etc. Put together a little package that will help them decompress. My girls love this jade face roller, therapy dough, bath bombs, salt lamps (this carved one is perfect for V-Day), and calming diffuser. My friends with sons love squeezable stress balls, zen gardens, Crazy Aaron’s thinking putty, soft noise-canceling headphones or a white noise machine.
4. Give them the ability to spend on themselves.
During the school year, my teenagers do not have much time to earn spending money. I like to give them small gift cards to coffee shops, iTunes, Amazon, etc. so they have the opportunity to purchase something they want without having to ask. An even better gift—don’t give them any grief no matter how ridiculous the purchase seems.
5. Fun fan gear.
Does your teen have a favorite college or sports team? Grab a t-shirt to show you were listening.
6. Cook their favorite meal or sweet treat.
It’s true, sometimes the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Nothing means as much to a person as walking through the door and seeing their favorite dinner waiting on the stove or smelling their favorite cookies. Added bonus: consider adding this cookbook for teens so they can learn to make it themselves. As the old saying goes, “Cook a teen a meal, and she’ll eat for a night. Teach a teen to cook, and you’ll be cleaning the kitchen for the next week.” But every kid should know how to cook a few special meals before they fly out of the nest.
7. Up your bonding game in the car.
Don’t let your teen zone our with their headphones in the car. Consider investing in audiobooks so you can listen to a favorite book on Audible or consider downloading some podcasts you’ll both enjoy.
Is your teenager a music buff? Consider concert tickets. An art lover? Buy them passes to a local museum with the agreement they get a free ride whenever they want to go. Food lover? Enroll them in a few cooking classes or make a date for their favorite restaurant.
9. Do one of their chores.
Take the pressure away and surprise them with the gift of one less thing to do. Finish their laundry or make their lunch. Sure, they are capable, but it’s always a nice surprise when to have someone make your life a little easier.
10. Make a survival toolkit.
Put together a kit of essentials to help guide them through their day-to-day life. And keep it simple—practical beats fancy for this act of love. Here is an example of something I put together girls, but this can be done for either gender.
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