Dateless on Valentine's Day

If your teen is feeling left out, there are other ways to take part in the holiday

Even at their young age, teens and tweens who don’t have a “valentine” might feel a little left out of all the activities and celebrations that surround the holiday this month.

But just because they may not have a special someone doesn’t mean they can’t have fun and do something else like joining the Black Hearts Party at the Nashua Public Library on February 14.

Ashlee Norwood, teen program librarian, will be organizing the event which is geared toward 12- to 17- year-olds.

“We promote it as an Anti-Valentine’s Day,” Norwood said. “It’s nice to have a place to go that is not focused on hearts and love and all that jazz.”

The event will run from 4 to 6 p.m. and will include voodoo doll making, snacks and a movie that does not involve romance.

Norwood said she identifies with teens who may not be into Valentine’s Day. At the library event there will be no pressure to be with someone, she adds.

Lynn Lyons, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Concord, specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders in adults and children. In general, she doesn’t hear a lot of angst over Valentine’s Day. However, if teens or even tweens are feeling a lot of pressure to have a boyfriend or girlfriend around this time of year, it is a good opportunity for them to ask themselves if they are even ready for a relationship at their age.

“How do we help teenagers differentiate between what their peer group or society says is supposed to happen versus what they are really ready for themselves,” she said.

She suggests teens might want to think of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to express caring to anyone they have a friendship or connection with. Feeling socially connected is a huge factor in mental health in tweens and teens, Lyons added.

She suggests teens simply tell other people how they feel on Valentine’s Day as a way to celebrate. For example, saying “I really am glad you’re my friend or say to a teacher I really value your support,” will work, and said Lyons, “instead of focusing on what you get, let’s talk to kids about how you give.”

Volunteering on, or around Valentine’s Day is another opportunity to show love toward humankind in general. Teens can find local volunteering opportunities that welcome helpers their age at volunteermatch.org.

For example, there is a Mardi Gras Gala on Sunday, February 1, in Concord, hosted by Catholic Charities New Hampshire that welcomes teen volunteers. The event helps to support the organization’s Emergency Services Fund, which provides heating assistance, grocery and gas cards and other support to people in critical need in the state. The event also helps fund other services the charity provides and dinner is also served to volunteers.

If teens and tweens are looking for a way to help from home, Elysia Gabe of www.volunteermatch.org, an organization that connects those wanting to give back with organizations in need, suggests they can participate in virtual volunteer opportunities.

One such opportunity asks volunteers to make greeting cards for holidays, like Valentine’s Day, to be distributed to personal and skilled care residents. Other virtual opportunities can be found through the Virtual filter in the left side menu of the search results, Gabe added. Use Valentine as your search term.

Another way teens can help others and add to their bank account is to offer babysitting services to a local couple with younger kids. Though they might not take the place of a romantic date, little kids can brighten any Valentine’s Day and their parents will appreciate the night out.   

Andrea Bushee is a freelance writer and mother of three in Pembroke.

 

Categories: Teens

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