It’s easy to love our little ones, but when our kiddos emerge into adolescence, we might not be sure how to communicate the love that still exists for them in such a big way. We must learn how to give it in the way they can receive it. More than ever, feeling loved and accepted at home is important.
Let Valentine’s Day be the motivation you need to make sure your teen never questions the love you have for them. It’s a time to have a simple celebration, no matter the age of your kiddos!
Go ahead, get the fun treats. Even sullen sons or moody daughters will enjoy their favorite chocolate, cookies or cupcakes. The pressures of school and peers are constant, so be their soft place to land and constant encourager. Simple gestures remind your teen that you are for him, you notice and care. If you have a driver, a $10 gift card for their favorite fast food or coffee is another fun idea.
Teenagers know we are not cool, so go in the opposite direction and be extra-cheesy. They may roll their eyes, but deep down every teen likes attention and focus. Don’t make too big a deal, but some chocolate for your guy or fresh flowers for your girl are just enough to remind them they are special. If you’re lucky enough to have the evening together, splurge on a heart-shaped pizza or chicken mini heart platter.
Call out the best in who they are. It’s easy to praise our kids for what they do, so make sure you name the traits that you admire in who they are by saying things like, “I love your optimism and the way you see the best in each situation.” “I respect the way you are compassionate to others.” “Your joyful heart is so nice to be around!”
Get into their world or share your own. One of the best ways to connect with your teen is to enter “their world.” You can play a favorite video game or go to laser tag. I joined Be Real, just so I show up in their daily feeds (my teens are the only people I have friended). We enjoy lots of laughs over this. Pull your teen into your world, too. Take your daughter on a girls’ night out. Bring your son to work with you in the church nursery. When each of you experience a bit of life in the sphere of the other, it breeds understanding and connection.
If you are able, do something little, that feels extravagant. Being extravagant is especially helpful if your teen has been struggling or feeling down. You are the best person to know what will speak to your particular teen. Would an extra-late curfew show him that you trust him? How about a $50 bill and getting dropped off at the mall? Maybe an extra special mani-pedi with your girl to celebrate the sunshine? Can you both play hooky together and binge a show all day? Or escape to our nearby mountains?