Saturday, February 22, 2014
The buzz around Valentine's Day is amazing – pro and con. Make it “Love Day” where if nothing else, you do nice things for yourself — and share love with others however and whenever possible.
Why is it my boyfriend and I tend to get into a fight about a week or less before Valentine's Day. We've been dating for four years, pretty seriously, and basically get along pretty well. We have been talking about marriage. But it is uncanny. What might we be doing wrong?
Baffled with a partly broken heart
It is very common to have more tension around a day filled with expectations. Look at what couples often go through as their weddings draw close. So, my question would be, have you talked about how you want to/like to celebrate? It is vital there is an agreement of some sort. Now, we of the female type would love for our loved ones to read our minds and hear our hints and know us well enough to know these things. Most want to be surprised and often fantasize about what will happen. Often, it doesn't and - boom - disappointment. We hear stories from friends or read on Facebook amazing things loved ones do, and they are glorified in commercials and movies. So we get set up or set up ourselves for disappointment. Instead, decide on what you want that is in the budget and discuss it. Sometimes the sweetest experiences come from getting out of ourselves and doing nice things for others. How about take a lonely widow out to dinner together? Or volunteer at a local animal shelter or homeless center together? My vote is to work on romance and consideration for one another everyday – with surprises and acts of kindness that are not anticipated. This can work with groups of friends and family as well. You don't have to be in a couple to be a true Valentine to someone.
This may sound weird for a fairly successful, professional parent of three good kids to say, but I have a teacher's conference coming up and I feel intimidated by some of my middle-schooler's teachers. They are good teachers, don't get me wrong, but they seem so perfect and I get the vibe perfection is expected. My seventh-grader does fairly well and is pretty independent with her school work, but the last conference left my knees shaking. I felt as if I was being judged as a parent and a person because my daughter had failed to bring in some - completed by the way - assignments. Yes, I'm sensitive, but usually am really OK. What's up with this?
You are not alone in these feelings. But realize, they are feelings, brought on by thoughts, conscious or subconscious, that can even stem from a failure of your own at that age, or problems with teachers when you were in school. We as parents are emotionally invested in our kids, and as our kids become a little more obnoxious in middle/high school, it allows us to let go some - in a healthy way - and allow them to eventually leave home. As for the teachers, be clear about the purpose of the meeting, make a list of your own questions and prepared to take notes. Listen. Ask for clarification. It sounds like you are doing a great job, as is your daughter. Do not give up your “OK-ness” to anyone. Just get their professional advice for your child's school success, appreciate them, help your daughter follow through, and keep your head held high. You are actually on the same team.
Contact Liz via firstname.lastname@example.org. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.