As February unfurls, Valentine’s Day with its hallmark of romance – dinners out, toasts with wine or champagne, and the exchange of jewelry – fades into memory before we know it. For adults, it’s a month draped in love’s glow, but for teens, the atmosphere can feel markedly different. The impact of Valentine’s Day teen depression cannot be understated. During this period, social media and school environments are flooded with symbols of romance that can deepen the sense of isolation for some teens.
This time of year, the chill in the air and the gray skies can also mirror the loneliness some teens feel. While seeing peers in relationships, they might feel notably left out, with a sense of sadness accentuating the season’s isolation. They’re acutely aware of the date, too.
Amidst this, there’s a juxtaposition for seniors caught in the thrill and apprehension of college applications – the “what ifs” that cloud their excitement with worry. The fear of not living up to expectations, of having to “settle,” looms large, despite the unconditional support they have from us.
February offers a prime opportunity for parents to delve beneath the surface, to engage in conversations that might unearth feelings your teen is quietly wrestling with.
Questions to Support Teens Facing Valentine’s Day Blues
Consider these prompts as a gateway to understanding their world better:
- How is school treating you lately?
- What subject do you find most engaging, and why?
- Tell me about your closest friend. What bonds you two together?
- How do you and your friends feel about school and everything that comes with it?
- Is there a teacher who has inspired you recently?
- As you think about life beyond high school, what feelings or concerns surface?
- The thought of college – is it exciting, daunting, or a mix of both?
- Have you considered a focus for your college studies? What draws you to that area?
- How do you feel about the impending end of your high school journey?
- Do you notice any of your friends struggling with these transitions?
- Have conversations about self-harm or rebellion come up among your peers?
- How are you managing your coursework and any academic challenges?
- Have you explored college or future pathways with a counselor?
- Does this conversation feel overwhelming?
- Do you know how proud we are of you, and that you could never disappoint us?
Often, we assume our teens navigate their days with typical adolescent indifference, overlooking the possibility of underlying stressors. Your teen’s emotions might be racing, their calm exterior masking inner turmoil. Without initiating conversations or encouraging them to open up, we might never glimpse their internal struggles. Proactive, positive engagement can transform your teen’s experience and strengthen your bond.
Cherish these dialogues. They’re not just talks; they’re bridges to understanding and support.
Wishing you meaningful connections this February and beyond.