LifestyleTeenagers + Valentine's Day = Creative Thinking!

Teenagers + Valentine’s Day = Creative Thinking!

This article was written by Lisa Jander – Author of Dater’s Ed: The Instruction Manual for Parents

“Hey, mom, I need $60.00 and the car keys to take my girlfriend out for Valentine’s Day.”
It wasn’t that long ago that the only thing your child wanted was a package of 30 action-figure Valentines to give to everyone in his class.

But he’s a teen now. What did you expect? “There’s nothing to do in this town,” he mumbles from underneath his hoodie. Though we know that is far from the truth, looking at it through his eyes can be enlightening. He isn’t old enough to drink, he can’t take his sweetie to the bar to go dancing and he doesn’t have enough money to buy her a diamond…so what’s left? Borrow money from you and take her out to dinner and a movie, right?

Valentines Day comes with high expectations when you’re “in love.” (Whether you agree with the “love” part or not, we’ll save that for another day.) The point here is that our teens are in a rut when it comes to dating – particularly on special occasions. The lack of imagination is only second to the lack of resources. Dating is expensive; dinner out can leave a guy broke in less than an hour with an entire evening left to kill. Oh yea, I forgot about the movies where they can sit in the dark together unsupervised for the next two hours and not learn anything except that she likes butter on her popcorn.

So, how do we help these teens find a better, less expensive way to date where they will actually spend time getting to know each other and not go broke?

Here is a “date” that my daughter had with her boyfriend that made an ordinary date well worth the time and the money.

First, they went online together and looked up recipes. They read through the ingredients and talked about what foods they liked and didn’t like. After choosing a recipe, they went to the store together and purchased the ingredients. They came back to the house and made the meal together from scratch, set the table and invited another couple to come over and eat with them.

After the meal, they washed dishes together, played “Go Fish,” looked through my daughter’s photo albums and had a lot of laughs. They spent only $16.00 and almost 4 hours together and here are 15 things they learned about each other:
1. Food preferences
2. Self-centeredness
3. Eating habits
4. Helpfulness
5. Spending money
6. Compromise
7. Math skills
8. Ability to multi-task
9. Decision making
10. Social skills
11. Cooperation
12. Manners
13. Patience
14. Sportsmanship
15. Sense of Humor

So what did I learn from the date? One of the best places for kids to spend time together in a healthy way is in the kitchen. The benefits? They are learning life skills, getting to know each other better and their hands are busy…preparing food.

And if you are really lucky, they will have made enough dinner for you!
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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lisa Jander
Author/Certified Life Coach, CTACC/Public Speaker
Dater’s Ed: The Instruction Manual for Parents
To purchase the book, go to
For more information, send your request to

About Lisa Jander

Lisa Jander is a Certified Life Coach, public speaker and former director of a dating service in California. As a mother parenting two teens and surrogate to hundreds more, “Mama J” shares her unique relationship insights with her readers. Her powerful seminars and interactive workshops provide parents and students with creative tools to navigate the relationship highway.

Posted by Nicole Ibarrondo, former editor here at Mom Fuse


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