Here is February’s installment of “Ask Shelby” from Chester County’s own Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Shelby Riley.
I hate to say it but I hate Valentine’s Day. It just seems so over-commercialized and I feel fake being romantic just because it’s Feb 14. Is it okay to skip Valentine’s Day or will I be sending the wrong message to my kids?
Dear Over It,
I think a lot of people feel like holidays are over-commercialized. And you and your partner have the right to boycott Valentine’s Day, if you like. That’s the great thing about creating a family. You get to be thoughtful about what values you prioritize and how you live your lives.
I will issue this challenge: traditions ground us and mark our lives in special ways. Valentine’s Day can be a great tradition to keep. If you want to teach your kids positive lessons about loving and honoring people, Valentine’s Day can be a lovely way to crank up the intensity once a year. Instead of “buying” into the notion that the day is about chocolates, cards and flowers, you could start a tradition of writing each other poems, or singing each other self-written songs. You can make cards for one another using only paper and crayons, or find a small way to spread love to your community by volunteering somewhere, or passing out lollipops to strangers and wishing them a happy Valentine’s Day.
Many of my clients tell stories about their childhoods and what they learned in their families while growing up. Yearly traditions and holidays stand out as meaningful times, in both good and bad ways. You certainly don’t have to celebrate every holiday on the calendar, but I will urge you to think about what stories you’d like your children to tell as adults and make choices now to give your kids the experiences they will need to grow up with the ideals you value.
No matter what, I hope you enjoy Feb 14 this year,
Shelby Riley, LMFT is the owner of Shelby Riley, LMFT and Associates, LLC and she is the President of the Pennsylvania Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (PAMFT). Remember to check out Shelby’s website http://www.shelbyrileymft.com/ for useful information about therapy for individuals, couples, and families.
Don’t forget! Readers get a great discount on a marriage check-up! Call Allison Hopper, DO, marriage and family therapist, at Shelby Riley, LMFT and Associates, LLC for more information and to get started today: 610-547-5135.