Holidays should be fun and memorable for your family, but unrealistic expectations can make them difficult. Add in a moody teen, and you could have a recipe for disaster on your hands. Fortunately, you don’t have to just sit back and wait for the holiday complaints and squabbles to begin.
Here are 5 tips for making holidays with teens more enjoyable:
1. Ask for their input. Your teen probably likes some part of the holidays more than others. Find out what your teen really enjoys the most, and ask for his or her input with that. Perhaps your teen enjoys creating the holiday table centerpiece or decorating for your big dinner. Maybe your teen has favorite holiday foods he would like to help plan or prepare. Seeking your teen’s input might make him feel like an important part of the festivities.
2. Keep the traditions. Just when you think your teen isn’t interested, you’re apt to discover that some of your holiday traditions are as important to her as they are to you. Talk with your teen about how your holiday traditions make her feel and which ones matter the most to her. Looking forward to her favorite traditions may help your teen get in the holiday spirit.
3. Build in downtime. Too often, the holidays prove stressful for adults. We are often so busy planning, rushing about, and trying to ensure that everything is perfect that we end up overtired and cranky. Don’t let that rub off on your teen. Find time to just sit around and talk, drink hot cocoa, watch a favorite holiday movie, or goof off in pajamas. If you can work in a day to sleep late, that’s all the better.
4. Make time for friends. Yes, holiday time is family time, but good friends often feel like family. Consider allowing your teen to invite a friend to your holiday dinner. If you have room, invite the parents too. Or plan time for friends to come over after the main event, such as for dessert after the big meal or game time the next day. You might even plan an outing, such as a pre- or post-holiday movie or shopping trip, and allow your teen to bring a friend along.
5. Postpone the heated discussions. Unless your teen is engaging in dangerous acts, such as doing drugs, you can probably leave the serious talks until after the holiday. Who needs the stress of arguing over hot-button issues and then trying to fake a smile for the camera? If possible, save the serious stuff for the day after the celebration.
What are your tips for enjoying the holidays with your teens? Share with us!