Your teen's birthday is as much a celebration for you as it is for her -- or so you might think. In reality, your teen may be embarrassed if you show up at her school for a birthday surprise, according to Psychology Today. This doesn't mean you have to skip the celebration altogether. Instead, surprise your teen in such a way that will solidify your status as a cool parent without mortifying her.
Arrange to have a special birthday lunch sent to the school for your teen and her friends. Resist the temptation to include balloons and a cake -- unless you think she would like it -- and make it a more sophisticated affair. Consider ordering take-out from her favorite restaurant and highlight the food with a simple but sophisticated vase of flowers. Ask your daughter's favorite teacher if she and her friends can eat in the teacher's room, and sneak in ahead of time to set out the food. Then, sneak out before she and her friends get there. Or, if she has a car and school rules allow her to go to the parking lot at lunch, set up the lunch on her tailgate, complete with a card table and checkered tablecloth, or even a table cover with a university theme -- perfect if she is a senior and about to head off to college. Send her a text message and sneak away before she gets there. You may need to enlist the help of her friends to make sure all goes according to plan.
Set up a school-wide scavenger hunt. This takes some advance preparation, but the reward is well worth the effort! Slip a note into her locker that directs her to something in her first period class; perhaps a globe on the teacher's desk. Slip another note under the globe that directs her to something in her second period class, and so on. The note in her last period class should direct her to a gift, which you could place in her car, the school's front office, or a friend's backpack.
After School Limo
It can sometimes be difficult to pull off a birthday surprise during school hours. The teachers may not be all that thrilled to interrupt their classes or tolerate a disruption. You can still surprise your teen on school grounds, however -- just do it immediately after school. Send a limousine to pick your daughter and her friends up after school. Be sure to clear this with their parents beforehand, however. Stock the limousine with fun party favors and snacks. Have the limousine driver chauffeur the teens around the town while they celebrate, or take them to a restaurant for a birthday dinner.
Tips on Gifts
Many teens become uncomfortably embarrassed if they are singled out in any way, especially if they are introverts. If your daughter does not like a lot of attention, think twice before publicly presenting her with a big present at school. Instead, be discreet. Send an e-gift card to her phone, with a message, "Let's go shopping after school for your birthday!" However, if you are presenting her with a car for her birthday in the school's parking lot, she will probably forgive you for any embarrassment that may cause.