Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Where’s love and when will it get here already!?

February 7, 2011

Hey Cupid, I'm waiting...

One week ’til Valentine’s Day. Non-stop teen emails scream for my attention and romantic advice. Not sure how I became  such an expert. I mean, honestly, if some fortune teller sidled up to me in 7th grade and whispered “Some day, Annie, you will be a relationship guru sought after by thousands for your expansive knowledge of love,” I’d have choked on my incredulity then looked around to see which of the Popular Girls was messing with me.

But that was then and now apparently people actually believe I know something about love and the rest of it. Here are some questions from recent seekers:

Hey Terra,

My best friend has a great boyfriend. I’m happy for her, but I’m also extremely jealous and I feel like I can’t find anyone. I’m definitely not ugly. I’m pretty, smart, funny, easygoing and friendly. But why is it that I can’t find a nice guy who is interested in me?!

Lonely Beauty

Dear LB….

_____

Hey Terra,

Any guy I crush over does not feel the same about me. They always have a reason why I’m not “The One.”  What can I do to get guys to like me???

Desperate

Dear Desperate...

And just so you don’t get the impression these are exclusively “girl” issue, check out these poignant queries from guys:

Hey Terra,

Whenever I see this girl that I’m really in love with I freeze up and don’t know what to say. I would do anything in my power for her. Can you please give me some tips on what to say to her? I would really appreciate it.

Freeze up Dude

Dear Dude…

_____

Hey Terra,

I’m 15 and I really want to be with someone and share feelings and secrets and also we can support each other. The problem is that I’m not a popular guy and I’m rejected by many people at school (I used to get picked on and bullied for no reason). I’ve asked girls out a couple of times but they all rejected me.

Still Single

Dear Still Single…

If one of these kids were your son or daughter of course you’d want to ease their suffering, but how? First with the recognition that we’ve all been there. Too shy to talk to a crush and frustrated by our own boundless ineptitude. Lonely. Desperate to be part of a couple. Crazy jealous of a friend who had a bf/gf. Then there was the inescapable fear that no one would fall in love with us… ever!

If Valentine’s Day is bringing your kid down, try to be empathetic. Take the lead and open a respectful conversation about it. This could be a great opportunity to show some compassion and understanding. That’s going to make your child feel better while it strengthens your bond. Please do not joke about, trivialize or invalidate their pain. Teen angst is real and it hurts.

So remember your kid this Monday. You’re not the love of his or her life, or a close substitute, but when they’re feeling unloved or unlovable (like Freeze Up Dude and the gang) it’s nice to know that Mom or Dad cares.

On a personal note: My father never forgot me on Valentine’s Day. His thoughtfulness was especially important during my “Everyone’s got a boyfriend but me” phase. I knew Dad loved me and that counted a lot. He died suddenly when I was 15 and I still smile at the memory of a tiny bottle of L’Air Du Temps he gave me on Valentine’s Day when I was 12.

Filed under: Holidays,Parenting,Tips — Tags: , , , , , — Annie @ 5:06 pm
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7 Comments »

  1. The pressure seems to be on during Valentine’s Day season, doesn’t it? Thanks for giving parents as well as teens such down to earth and good advice. Your memory of your father’s gift really brought home the message that as parents even the little gestures speak volumes. Thanks for the reminder, Annie.

    Comment by dr aletta — February 7, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

  2. Had this conversation with my daughter this weekend. Such a heartbreak. Listening to your beautiful child worry that they are fat, not pretty or just ugly and that is why they don’t have a boyfriend. She is beautiful (not just saying that because I’m her mom) and she has the most caring personality. I just told her it was God’s plan and that when the time was right she would know it. I also asked her if there was anyone she was particularly interested in and she said no. Seems that the whole “peer pressure” issue is as much to blame as well as the personal angst. I reminded her that she was not alone and that she needed to continue to show the beautiful person she was and then that special friend would appear. Such a hard time…makes my heart weep. And Annie – you are right. This is a hard time for teens – having such a special father made you the person you are today.

    Comment by pam — February 7, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  3. Sadly, I think part of the responsibility for the Valentines Day anxiety in middle and high school is sometimes the fault of schools. I can’t help but think that some of those programs where students send flowers or cards to whoever they want in a public way can make people even more worried about being left out at school.

    Comment by Ben Buchwalter — February 8, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  4. This is a great blog post.

    In the midst of all the retail, parents need to be aware that things like this affect our kids.

    We can all remember way back when….we were so concerned about how we looked & fitting in…and being accepted or rejected by the opposite sex.

    Way back when we thought a rejection was the end of the world.

    I’m with you Annie. Communication is key.

    Bravo!

    Judy
    http://www.OurMomSpot.net

    Comment by Judy — February 8, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  5. This is a hard time for teens and you are so correct in reminding parents not to trivialize the feelings your teen may be experiencing. Yes, we have been there–all of us at one time or another. I have two boys and have always reminded them to be sensitive to what they say to and how they act with girls. Show respect and compassion towards them. They are also learning from my husband and how he shows respect toward me, how a relationship can be built. Like, you and Judy have said, communication is the key! Those teen years are very difficult. Your blog and website is very helpful for teens, parents and teachers. Thanks Annie.

    Comment by ann — February 9, 2011 @ 7:52 am

  6. Ahh Valentines! Will I won’t I, should I, can I – receive or send? During your teens (if not before) it was often a crushing subject.
    My Dad used to send us one every year (me and my 3 siblings) and for a while we were non the wiser. This helped us to get into the spirit of Valentines and not feel left out or anxious about the whole thing.
    I did it for my Daughter, but when she realised it was me, she was angry – it was a big deal to her to be part of something like this. They seem to be more sensitive to being accepted as ‘likealbe’ these days – or do they? Were we just the same, but have forgotten?!?

    I say send them, because like the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas, children like to feel part of what’s going on and it will introduce them to what happens at this time. But, be careful not to let it slip if you think they ‘need’ to believe it was an admirer and if you think they would like the thought of it being you, then be sure to say your love is ‘unconditional’ and it’s a love worth celebrating.
    There’s nothing wrong with lifting spirits if it helps someone to gain confidence and eventually deal with the ups and downs themselves.

    Comment by HoniebUK (HonieMummy) — February 10, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  7. Thank you, Annie! Thought of your words as I watched one of my fourteen year old daughters announcing, in every way possible, how she hates Valentine’s Day. She left for school this morning, dressed in black, a sign of rebellion and protest. Maybe, one day, I’ll share with her how relieved I am that she doesn’t have a boyfriend yet. I often tell her how proud I am of her willingness to go against the current. It’s true, I don’t like seeing her in pain but I know that it’s this pain that will strengthen her sense of self and solidify her foundation.
    When they come home, there will be chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate cupcakes and loving parents waiting for them. It’s a good thing chocolate still does the trick:-)
    By the way, I wore L’air du temps when I was a teenager. It was and still is one of my favorite fragrances.
    Thank you for everything you do and Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

    Comment by Yota — February 14, 2011 @ 10:31 am

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