Why do we give gifts to teenagers?

As Mother Teresa said “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Let’s lay it out there; gift giving hunts most of us, especially when the recipient is indeed a teenager.

But why do we shudder at the thought of purchasing a gift? Why is it even more difficult when our target is a teenager?

To uncover this mystery let’s delve deeper into our thoughts. In understanding the reasons compelling us to give out gifts, we can far better reach the heart of the matter.

Below is a list of reasons as to why we do give gifts to teenagers which will help us to comprehend the issue at hand when we face such situation.

To bring about a sense of happiness

We are always trying to do our best to put a smile on our child’s face. Isn’t that so? In whatever we do, we aim at a sense of happiness or well-being for our kids. With teenagers, this can be a little tricky.

In giving a gift, we want to show them that we love them and care for them. It also signifies their importance in our life. In a way, we are showing them that we appreciate them. All human beings need to feel appreciated. It gives them a sense of pride and belonging. In doing so, we boost up their self-confidence.” Appreciation matters,” as stated in Psychology Today (The many benefits of showing appreciation).

Teenagers are somewhat a complex group. “According to many recent studies, teen brains really are unique.”-NewScientist. Therefore our challenge here is to know how to please them.

It’s all about mindful giving. Know your kid. Get the right gift.

Tip: Get to know your teen to know what makes them happy.


To reward or show gratitude.

Who wouldn’t be proud when one of our kids walks through the door with a certificate or medal of some sort from school? Who can resist the urge to compensate?


But do teenagers need rewarding? It’s the question most often asked. The answer is yes, they do. We cannot just turn a blind eye when teenagers put efforts in doing something or achieve certain goals. Instead, we have the tendency to feel proud and optimistic, thus leading to the need to compensate them. This comes as a positive reinforcement- very well family (create a token economy system to improve your child’s behavior).

Great expectations are drawn on good grades and so children expect to be rewarded for doing so.

For a service rendered, we want to show our gratitude.

In giving a gift, we want to steer good behaviors and at the same time sending the message to the teen that it was indeed worth it.

Above all, we are simply saying “thank you for making me proud of you.”

Tip: Make the gift as meaningful as you can to the teen.


To apologize

I remember once I went to Prague to attend a Miss Deaf beauty pageant. I was accompanying my country’s deaf association’s contestant. The duration was 10 days and I left behind my 5 year old. It was our longest time apart. I felt so guilty for leaving her behind that I was bent on bringing her back something special. On our very last day I managed to buy a gift for her. Upon my arrival home, she couldn’t contain her delight once she saw the pink and purple scooter I brought back for her. At that point I felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest.

My point is that sometimes, we as parents feel sorry for our kids; for not spending enough quality time with them or for being away often. Therefore, in order to make us feel less guilty for our shortcomings, we tend to fill up the gap with gifts. At least this is what some of my acquaintances tend to do. (At one point, I did it too).

It’s common knowledge that teenagers are not very good listeners. Youth workers say that they rarely do active listening. Therefore, in order to compensate for the talking which enters in one ear and exit through the other, we have to take action. That action may take the form of giving gifts. It’s one of our ways of showing them that we want to amend things.


Tip: Sentimental gift is worth a try.


To make use of it

We often give gifts in the hope that it will be handy. For example book, watch, phone, bed sheets, etc.

Often times we try to think of what a teenager needs. What will be useful to them at this age? Can they make use of it at school? Can they experiment with it? Is this appropriate for their bedroom? So along these lines, we select and buy things as gifts.

In doing so, we are giving them gifts that will provide for their needs.


Tip: Consider buying educational things.

To keep up the tradition

The most common reason for giving gift is because of the element of tradition. According to statistics there will be a continuous increase in gift buying for the holiday season (NRF survey). It has become a culture to give gifts especially on special occasions such as birthdays, Valentine day, Christmas day, etc. Even upon visiting a sick person or a faraway relative, we tend to bring a gift along. So, we parent see it as a must, to give our kids a present on such occasion. In doing so, we are marking the occasion or simply sending out best wishes.


Tip: How about giving a durable gift?


As an act of selflessness

We all know that there is great joy in giving. If you don’t, try it out and you will see what you’ll reap. “It’s better to give than to receive.” –Acts 20:35 (King James Version). What pleasure we have to see a face light up upon receiving a gift.

In giving a gift to a teen or any kid we don’t expect to be given anything in return. The knowledge that the kid cannot really give us anything back is the real beauty here. Kids don’t have their own money and that also apply to most teen. This is all what giving is all about; selflessness.

In a way we are investing in them to become better persons.


Tip: Give memorable gift (like a trip).


So as you can see, the reason for giving a gift to a teenager is not as alienated as to giving a gift to anyone else. You just need to pay a little more attention to the recipient at hand so that you can come up with the appropriate gift. The trick here is to know the real reason as to why you are giving a gift. These are the points that we went through above:

1. To bring about a sense of happiness

2. To reward or show gratitude

3. To apologize

4. To make use of it

5. To keep up the tradition

6. As an act of selflessness

In understanding all the above you now have a clearer picture as to which gift you want to give. Now that you have the reason as to why you are doing this task you can move on to the “what to choose for?”

If you have any comments or suggestion kindly leave them below.

Thank you for reading.

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