What Does Valentine’s Day Mean to a Teen?


Life with teens is sometimes hard, as many parents with teens know. They are growing into whatever person they wish, they have new opinions, and a new sense of style that can be hard to embrace. But none the less, I support my teen’s decisions . . . most of the time. (I’m working on it.)

To teenagers, Valentine's Day can be confusing.That being said, keeping Valentine’s Day crafts and traditions is sometimes hard to do when your teens think some of those traditions are too “cringy.” When they say “cringy,” they mean embarrassing. So when I noticed the Valentine’s Day things being displayed during a recent grocery trip, I was excited, as was my eight-year-old child. I rushed over to collect the square boxes filled with stickers, pencils, and notes of friendship.

I rifled through the various princess, fairy tale characters, and candy valentines pulling out a couple for my older kids to choose from. I was greeted with a what-are-you-doing stare from my teens. My smile quickly turned to confusion.

My oldest told me that people don’t hand those out, but she would use them if I wanted her to. My son is homeschooled, and when I told him he could mail them to his friends, he shook his head, and that was the end of that. I still bought the ones my youngest wanted as well as a couple of other boxes, just in case.

On our way home, I told my teens I hope they accept the small bear we give them every year. They both said yes because it was a gift from us. I told them I realized it’s probably uncool that their mom and dad give them these little items, but when they get older they would probably appreciate the gifts in hindsight.

Recalling my own teenage years, the only thing I cared about on Valentine’s Day was the candy and hopefully getting a rose from my crush.

I put the valentines boxes away and told my teens they have the option to pass them out to their friends if they wanted. Later that night, my oldest daughter told me, “Sometimes all we want you to do is ask us our opinion on things like celebrating Valentine’s Day. I know we are growing into young adults, but sometimes we feel left out. Like when you get something cute for the younger kids but never ask us if we want it, too. We may act like we don’t want anything, but sometimes we feel like we are pushed aside because of our age.”

I told her I would work more on realizing her desire to be her own person. I asked her opinion on things like traditions or celebrations. Even though I want my teens to stay those five- and six-year-old’s chasing each other around the yard, fingers sticky from melted popsicles, innocent and free, I know they can’t.

But on days like Valentine’s Day, they can deal with the “cringy” note or the little bear we give them each year. Because just for that moment that smile is worth being called “cringy.”


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