At some point this year you will celebrate your teenager’s birthday. Birthday parties can be a memory that can last forever and it can also easily become a train wreck.
Here are 6 thoughts for making your teenager’s birthday one to remember:
1. Ask Them- Your teenager should have an idea of how they would like to celebrate their birthday party. If at all possible let them give the vision for the celebration. There is a small possibility that your teenager will say, “I don’t care what we do.” If that happens just simply say, “Well great, then we will gather your friends and have a yard work party where everyone does chores right up until we blow out the candles.” That should inspire your teenager to give you another idea to consider.
2. Don’t Go Over The Top- The problem with throwing amazing parties is that you have to try and top it next year. You don’t have to spend your last 3 paychecks to communicate to your teenager that you love and value them. Communicate with your teenager what you have budgeted for their party. They can help you manage that money. It will allow them to practice money management. You also might be surprised by their ideas to save money.
3. Separate Friends and Family- If at all possible I suggest that you give your teenager two birthday celebrations. Give them a public celebration where they can invite their friends. One idea to consider is to allow your teenager to invite the amount of friends that coincide with their age. If they are turning 15, they can invite 15 friends. The second celebration is for family only. This will give you an opportunity to celebrate in a more intimate and meaningful way. The family gathering can be a simple dinner filled with annual traditions. Let your teenager request their favorite meal for the family celebration.
4. Don’t Break the Law- Every year parents of teenagers make the incorrect decision to break the law and buy their teenager alcohol for their birthday parties. They justify their decision by saying, “At least I know they will be drinking in my house and they will be safe.” I couldn’t disagree more. It is illegal. You are giving alcohol to other people’s teenagers which is not your right. To allow a group of teenagers to lose their judgement under the influence of alcohol is not my idea of a “safe environment”. What is really going on is that you are choosing to please your teenager instead of teach your teenager. It is a mistake, and if your teenager asks you to do it for them you should say “NO”.
5. Celebrate the Transitions- During the adolescent journey there are three big birthdays. At 13 you are saying goodbye to childhood. At 16 you are saying hello to the driver’s license. At 18 you are saying goodbye as you send them into adulthood. All three of these birthdays should have special significance. Make sure to communicate these three messages to them during these birthdays: 1) at 13 say, “We know you are no longer a child and we will treat you like a young adult” 2) at 16 say, “We know you are going to drive and make a lot more decisions apart from us. We trust you.” 3) at 18 say, “You have our blessing. We are proud of you. We will always love and support you. You can always know we are here for you. You are an adult, and we release you to go live your life.”
6. Give them the Gift of your Blessing- I suggest that each year at your family birthday celebration that you read a short blessing to your teenager. These can be heartfelt words that communicate to them that you love them and you are proud of them. Make sure to bless their identity more than their performance. When they are an adult they will probably not remember the stuff you bought them for their birthday, but they will remember you taking the time to give them your Blessing each year.
What are some special ways that you celebrate your teenager’s birthday?