Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. But if you think that holiday is only for romance…well, you’d be wrong!
Name me ONE person who doesn’t need love. I mean, how many lonely people do you know out there who are just waiting for that “special someone”? Even during their most difficult times, our teens need love, too. With all the emphasis on romantic love during this time of the year, yes, even they are prone to feeling lonely and perhaps unloved.
So, corny-ness-aside, let’s take up the mantle of loving our teens. Spend a few minutes looking up Love Languages (scroll down to take a quick quiz here for some help) and thinking about what might speak to them. We’re not talking about anything mushy or weird, mind you, but I’d like to propose a few practical ways to let our teens know they are loved, and cherished!
- Write them a letter – Leave it where they’re sure to find it. Tell them what you love about them and the ways you see them growing and maturing. I realize that some seasons may require some digging to find something positive to say. I get that! But, I guarantee you that you can find something. When you do, focus on it!
- Let them hear you talk highly of them to others – You don’t have to make it obvious, but make sure they hear you… And if they do hear you, praising them for a good attitude or a job well done will go a long way to counter the correction that may seem to be the rule of thumb right now. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it (even if they don’t show it!)
- Make them breakfast in bed – How fun is that? It also makes getting up a little bit easier (for them, at least).
- Handle some (or at least one!) of their chores on occasion – Saying something along the lines of, “You don’t have to worry about unloading the dishwasher tonight. I noticed you were pretty busy with your homework so I handled it for you” will speak volumes!
- Surprise them with their favorite treat – They may be teens, but they’ll still appreciate getting something yummy when you come home from running errands.
See? Nothing rocket-sciencey here! Bear in mind that love-languages can play a major role in expressing love and having it received as such, so study your kids well. Through trial and error, I’ll bet you’ll come up with a list of your own; one that’s perfectly tailored to your teen!
A loving mindset…
We often look at the teenage years as a messy mess that our kids have to go through and that parents have to endure, however, that doesn’t have to be so. It’s important that we parents realize that the teen years are challenging to navigate, then just embrace it and accept it. And understand too that your teens are feeling the same way! They are trying to assume new responsibilities and roles. Moreover, in addition to their own fluctuating hormones and emotions, our society doesn’t exactly help them with the transition, either.
So while you still have them around, why not make his or her life a little sweeter right now? The list above is certainly not exhaustive, but perhaps it’s just enough to get you started thinking creatively.
And also remember the quality vs. quantity time issue… Love languages and their attitudes aside, your growing young adult really does need your time. Your engagement with him or her and your input into their lives will help serve as a compass as they move forward handling important issues. As a parent, ya’ can’t get much more loving than that…
And a simple blessing…
One more thing you can do – at any time of year – is to craft a blessing service for your teen. Our family has done one for each of our five children when they turned 13. Based on the Hebrew Bat/Bar Mitzvah, it was a way of bringing together family and friends to celebrate, bless and shower love on our teens. You can read more about that here.