It’s February, and this means Valentine’s Day has come and gone.
For adults, it’s the month of love, Hallmark, dinner out on the 14th, a bottle of wine or champagne, and perhaps a piece of jewelry.
For teens, however, it may be the month that temperatures are a bit colder, skies a bit grayer, and feelings of being alone are greater. They see others in relationships and feel left out, and there is a general feeling of sadness over the season. They know what day it is too.
There is also the excitement for seniors as they are applying to college and the stress of “what if.” Many are worried they won’t get into their college of choice and need to “settle,” perhaps disappointing their parents — even though we would never be disappointed.
For parents, this is a great month to take time and talk with your teen about feelings that may be bubbling under the surface.
Here are a few questions that may be of help:
- How is school going?
- What is your favorite subject and why?
- Who is your best friend and what do you have in common?
- How do your friends feel about school, life, classes, homework, and their parents?
- Is there a teacher that excites you about their subject or about life?
- Now that you are ___old, let’s talk about the next step and how you feel about this?
- Are you scared about going to college?
- Have you thought about a general direction or major in college? Why?
- Have you felt sad about the next step after high school?
- How do your friends feel about graduating?
- Are any of your friends feeling sad most days?
- Are any of your friends talking about hurting themselves or spiting their parents?
- Are you all caught up on your homework?
- Are you struggling in any of your classes?
- Have you stopped by the college counselor’s office to talk about their ideas for you?
- Are you feeling stressed out about this conversation?
- Have you ever considered that we are proud of you, and you can’t disappoint us?
As parents, we usually just assume that our teens are fine and just act out as teenagers do. We almost never assume that they are stressed with the normal “stuff” going on in their lives.
“Remember that when a duck is on a pond moving around, they look very calm. What we don’t see on the surface is that their feet are working so hard to keep them moving.”
Your teen’s feelings may be going 100 miles per hour in many directions, often confusing them. Their faces may be calm even though they are worried.
You will not know this unless they either share their feelings with you or you ask questions to find out for yourself. I believe that positive probing can change the lives of your teens and improve all relationships.
Enjoy the conversations.
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day,