Whether you like it or not, it’s about to happen. Your little girl is about to turn thirteen. You wonder how this happened. You wonder where the years all went. And seriously, when did she start acting so grown up? You might not be able to answer those questions, but one thing is clear: when it comes to celebrating her birthday, you’re not getting away with a Dora the Explorer theme, a pony petting zoo, or a princess party.
Nope, you’re entering uncharted territory, and let’s face it, you need help. Because as grown up as she might look and act, there’s an emotionally volatile child in there. Throw her an embarrassing party for little girls or buy a present she wanted when she was eight and heads will roll! I think we know whose head we’re talking about, too.
Good thing we’re here for you. We’ve been there with our own teenage daughters and made every mistake in the book so you won’t have to. So, take a deep breath and read the following suggestions for celebrating your teen daughter’s birthday.
· Turn your backyard or living room into a dance party. It’s easy enough. Just hire a DJ for a few hours or do it on the cheap with an iPod and home stereo system. Rent a disco ball, a strobe light, maybe even a fog machine, then throw on a little T-Swift, and you’ve got yourself a makeshift nightclub—without the booze and older men! Your daughter and her friends will love the dancing, the presence of boys will make things seem a little bit adult and a little bit dangerous (you’ll be there, of course, if anyone gets fresh), and a good time will be had by all.
· Try a sleepover. Maybe dancing and boys aren’t exactly on your daughter’s radar yet. No problem. Perhaps a sleepover’s the thing for her. It’s a classic birthday solution. Load up on desserts and sugary coffee (because isn’t coffee very adult), rent a few scary movies or rom-coms and then let them talk into the night, which they will after all that sugar and caffeine.
· Pool party. Believe it or not, this works, even with a teenage daughter. You’ve just got to approach it differently than you might with a younger child. For instance, have it in the late afternoon and invite boys. Provide pizza, soda, chips, etc., and let the kids do their thing. Get some fun inflatable pool toys for them to use. Maybe some will lay out in the sun for a bit. Maybe others will get a game of water volleyball going. And maybe still others will relax in the hot tub while they talk. Once it starts to get dark, send the boys home and turn the pool party into a sleepover.
· Spa night. This one culminates in a sleepover, too. But instead of a pool party with boys to kick things off, make it a night for makeup tips and pampering. If you’re willing to spring for it, you can hire a nail professional to visit the house and do all the girls nails. If not, the girls can do each other’s nails and makeup. Maybe even turn it into a contest. Most talented beautician wins a Starbucks gift card. Once everyone’s all dolled up, take the girls out on the town for dinner or a movie.
· Pre-party with just the family. Parties are all well and good, but you’ve still got to squeeze in some special time on her birthday for just the family. Maybe take her out to her favorite breakfast spot, and while there give her one of her gifts. For teenage girls, remember it’s not all about materialistic things. Often sentimental, she’ll want something that touches her heart and shows how much she means to you. Maybe you can start a fun tradition and get birthday gifts for her like chocolate covered strawberries. Give her the same number of strawberries as the age she is turning, and give her an extra one every year. She’ll look forward to this special tradition year after year.
There you have it. Five ways to not only survive your teenage daughter’s birthday, but to really celebrate it and the young woman she is becoming. Taking the time to do it right will go a long way to building that loving bond we all want with our daughters as they journey through those tumultuous teen years.