6 Ways to Show Your Teen Love This Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be centered around couples and romance. The special teenagers in your life deserve some loving too.
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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, most are focused on selecting stunning roses and other beautiful sentiments for their sweethearts. You can’t get near the greeting card sections of your favorite store and brilliant shades of red and pink surround us everywhere. Love is in the air!
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be centered around couples and romance, there are many other deserving people in our lives that inspire loving vibes and one such group is the teenagers in our world. Mighty Mommy happens to have four teens in her midst and understands completely that they can sometimes send parents over the edge with their quirky and often disrespectful attitudes mixed in with defiant actions such as backtalk and ignoring our rules. But you know what? Underneath this behavior are decent beings, our babies, who are trying to find their own way during this emotional time in their lives so Valentine’s Day is a great reminder that they, too, need to have a little lovin!
Mighty Mommy has six heartfelt ways you can show your teens some love on Valentine’s Day and throughout the rest of the year as well.
#1. Allow Them Their Privacy
When our kids are young, we are completely hands on with them. We tickle them, snuggle up on the couch when we watch TV, we tie their shoes, cut their meat, pick them up and hug them tight when they fall down and get a boo boo—we are physically a big part of their lives. We also spend a lot of time in their personal space such as the room they play in at home and their bedrooms. We enter back and forth without even thinking about it. But all of a sudden, our babies turn into tweens and teens and we are no longer as easily welcomed into their square footage of life.
One way you can show your teen some good, old-fashioned love is to respect his/her privacy. When my teens come home, they usually head to the kitchen and grab a snack and then bolt right to their bedrooms, shutting the door behind them. I can relate, because if I didn’t have to come home and get dinner started, that’s what I would do too. Dr. Peter Marshall, author of Now I Know Why Tigers Eat Their Young, states that a closed bedroom door signals a need for privacy that is not only normal but crucial for teens. “They’re not just goofing off,” he explains, “They spend a large part of their time just thinking about things, trying to figure out who they are and who they want to become. There’s a lot of work for them to do, and they need some space to do it.”
#2. Create New Rituals
You might not be reading them a bedtime story and tucking them into bed with a kiss and a tickle any longer, but teens still find certain rituals soothing and reassuring, whether they admit it or not. So your 18-year old son doesn’t want you to hug him goodbye when you hand him the car keys in front of his buddies, come up with another affectionate gesture that he’ll come to rely on as a sign that all is well between the two of you such as patting him on the back and quipping something like “I expect you’ll turn the radio channel back to my station when you return my car full of gas.” And then give him a warm smile. Every morning when my kids leave for school, I still tell them I love them and then I add: "Have your best day ever.” If I don’t say that to them, they feel as something is wrong, because now they’ve come to depend on that exchange every morning before they leave the house. Evaluate the everyday scenes that play out with you and your teen and try to find a clever way to start a new love-ritual with them. When you do this consistently, your teen begin to expect it and secretly love the attention.
#3. Don’t be Touchy Feely
Just as I discussed in tip #2 about creating new love rituals, as our kids get older we may need to modify the way we show affection to them. The majority of teens can become uncomfortable with physical contact from their parents, grandparents, and other special people in their lives as they go through puberty and become more aware of their developing and changing bodies. My teen sons are actually more accepting of my hugging them than my teen daughters. Go figure! I’m a hugger, so for me, this has not been easy, but I respect their comfort zone and have adapted my “touchy feely” side to something that puts them at ease. For instance, instead of going in for a big bear hug I give a small kiss on the cheek and a smile. One of the best ways you can connect without a hug or a kiss is to stop what you’re doing when your teen comes home and enters the room for the first time and make eye contact and welcome him home with a warm smile. Taking the time to do this shows them you care and he is still a very important part of your busy life.