My latest Target run reminds me it’s Valentine’s Season. How's that going at your house?
Remember the days of carefully decorating a shoe box for collecting so much Valentine’s love? 💕📬 Sometimes I wish that tradition continued into middle school & high school because our preteen and teen kids NEED to feel some love from their peers.
This isn’t just my mama-bear opinion, it’s a research proven need —something we call a developmental milestone.
For young children, developmental milestones are mostly physical – sitting up, walking, hopping on one foot. For teens, the milestones are cerebral 🧠 and related to their arduous journey of self-discovery.
So why am I bringing this up around Valentine’s day?
One of the biggest milestones for young teens is getting an affirmative answer to a question that also tends to come up on V-Day:
✅ Am I lovable?
I can already hear you answering, 🗣💕 “Of course, she’s lovable!” But the answer can’t come from you. She has to answer it herself. And with that, there’s some GOOD NEWS and BAD NEWS.
Bad news first.
As much as you and other adults may love her unconditionally (and that is the essential foundation on which all this other lovable-ness is built), feeling loved by the grown-ups in her life won’t check this particular box for her. She needs to feel lovable from her peers.
Now for the good news.
It doesn’t require a Valentine for her to discover she’s lovable.
💘Sometimes it can come from that one best friend who likes her for exactly who she is (her friendships with other girls are really important for learning things like negotiation and boundaries).
💘Sometimes it’s as simple as getting the “label” of being someone’s “special person” – even if they only “go out” for a day (so don’t sweat “young romance;” they’re usually more interested in the label than in the “relationship”).
💘Sometimes it’s being the subject of someone else’s crush (even if she just hears it through her best friends’ older sister’s boyfriend’s little brother).
💘And yes, some kids are so comfortable in their own skin that they never question their lovability among their peers. These kids get to hit the “easy” button and move on to their next milestone.
So whether she’s looking for affirmations from her Galentines or a Valentine, remember that this is all part of the healthy and normal business of adolescent development.
But if she’s struggling with her Galentines, we have tips to help her with friendships in our Friendship Matters Class and workbook.
If she’s sad that she doesn’t have a Valentine, have her watch this Tip on the key ingredient to healthy romantic relationships in the future – there's LOTS of hope ahead!
Did you know Girlology has grade-by-grade video on demand playlists to support her and you — on topics like this and lots others? Learn More