Monthly Series for Parents of High School Seniors: February
Note: each month we're giving parents of seniors a spiritually encouraging "checklist" to capture the best moments from senior year. Sign up to automatically get these articles as monthly emails HERE.
February: Getting Real (And A Little Gushy) About Love & Relationships
Let's face it: February is a rough month. It's dark. It's cold (for most of us, anyway). And spring feels far away.
Far away, that is, unless you have a high school senior. If so, spring feels WAY TOO CLOSE, thank you very much.
In addition to dark and cold, February is also a month for love and relationships. In other words, you have permission to get gushy even if your teen resists.
Hallmark says so.
You also have an opportunity to approach a touchy subject: dating. If your teen is in a dating relationship, now is a good time to talk with them about their expectations for college. Most teens don't recognize how transitions challenge relationships, and it's good for them to talk about how they see their relationship growing (or not) during college.
This conversation is especially critical if the relationship is a strong influencing factor in where your son or daughter wants to go to college.
Your conversation(s) may not lead to immediate answers, but they’ll get your teen thinking about their romantic future.
Finally, it's time to start thinking about that graduation party. (Eeek!) Though it's cold and dark now, it will sunny-May before you know it.
3 Ideas for February
A memory to capture: Make your teen a gushy, sweet Valentine and tell them all the reasons you love them.
I know what you're thinking: gushy Valentine from Mom = eye-rolling and harassment from teen. Yeah--you're probably right.
Do. It. Anyway.
Take advantage of every opportunity to tell your son or daughter how much you love them, and why you're proud of them. Write it in a card or letter so they’ll hang on to it.
Eye-rolling aside, there will come a time in college--a rough day, the first time they get sick alone, their first finals--and they'll draw on those words of affection and encouragement.
A conversation to have: Talk about dating relationships.
Invite your teen to share their thoughts about dating and relationships. Modify the questions based on whether they’re currently in a dating relationship or not. Here are some suggestions to get you started (note: don’t barrage them with all of these—choose what’s appropriate):
- "What are three qualities you look for in a significant other, and what are three deal-breakers?"
- "What does it look like for you and your boyfriend/girlfriend to stay together during college? “How do you picture being at school together/not together?"
- "Have you talked about breaking up before college starts? How do you feel about that option?"
- "What does your relationship look like next year? Have you talked about seeing other people, or how often you’ll see each other?”
- "How do you picture a dating relationship in college? What do you think it would look like for you?"
An exercise to let go: Invite your son or daughter to help shape their graduation party.
Schedule 30-60 minutes to sit down and talk about how your teen pictures their party. Try to get them to address the following:
- Where would they like it to be?
- What time?
- Who do they want to be there? Which friends/family members?
- What else do they picture? Games? Decorations? Food?
Make notes and start planning.
Parting parenting inspiration:
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.