Navigating Teen Relationship Status and Mental Health on Valentine’s Day
As Valentine’s Day approaches, its presence is felt everywhere: in decorations, stores, ads, and throughout social media. This holiday, typically observed as a celebration of romantic ideals, can be a challenge for any seasoned adult. For young adolescents, who are just beginning to explore the realm of dating and teen romance, the pressure can feel far more intense. Unsurprisingly, Valentine’s Day can have quite dramatic negative impacts on teen mental health, often starting with a teen’s relationship status itself. Here’s why — and how you can help.
The Problem With Valentine’s Day and Teen Relationship Status
During adolescence, teens are at a stage where they are developing their identity and experiencing many “firsts,” including romantic relationships. For high school students, the pressure around having these is already intensified by arbitrary school-sponsored events like homecoming and prom dances, which don’t exist in real-world adult life. Valentine’s Day can add to these annual stressors for teens, amplifying anxiety and self-doubt as societal traditions and peer pressure create unrealistic expectations for February 14th.
Mental health challenges around a teen’s relationship status on Valentine’s Day may stem from any of the following:
- Being single
- Having recently broken up with a dating partner
- Having unrequited feelings for someone
- Females navigating issues related to sexism
- Navigating issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity
- Being in a delicate or tentative stage of a relationship that has no firm status
The emphasis on being in a relationship, giving or receiving heavily symbolic gifts, expressing romantic feelings in just the right way, or having the perfect date plans can place an enormous burden on very young and inexperienced shoulders. The societal narrative that equates romantic relationships with happiness and fulfillment can be misleading and damaging. It can cause or exacerbate feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety in adolescents of all ages.
What We Can Do for Teens Who May Be Struggling
So, how can we support our teens during this time? Schools and communities can promote inclusivity and provide spaces where different experiences and identities around love and relationships are recognized and celebrated. Activities that focus on self-care, friendship, and community can offer positive and healthy alternative ways to experience Valentine’s Day.
Open communication is also key. If you’re a parent or teen with insights on romantic relationships from your own mental health journey with them, you can help countless others by sharing your own tips and strategies online as well as reviews of mental health facilities and providers.
Show Teens Some Love This Valentine’s Day With ReGroup Foundation
ReGroup Foundation is a non-profit that helps pre-teens, teens, and their families anonymously share and benefit from mental health success stories. Too often, the best resources and practices in teen mental health care remain under the radar. We want all families to benefit from the triumphs of those who have been there, done that where relationships and other issues are concerned. We make this possible by collecting family reviews of local mental health caregivers and facilities as well as personal strategies for helping teens recover from wellness challenges.
In only 15 minutes, you can begin making a world of difference in the lives of other teens and their families — just by anonymously sharing your successes. Register today and start sharing your reviews and mental health insights!