You may find as your beautiful child has grown into a teenager, they are cantankerous, unpredictable and don’t seem to want to be involved in family life anymore – even at Christmas.
Christmas is about spending time with your family, so how do you engage your teenager without conflict? Try these strategies for an argument free and family filled Christmas!
Tips to help survive Christmas with a tempestuous teen
Understand what’s going on
Your teenager’s brain is going through some massive changes right now in preparation for adulthood.
Recent imaging research suggests that the brain rewires itself during adolescence which results in using emotions to make decisions rather than logic, cognitive reasoning or trial and error.
As their pre-frontal cortex is still being developed, they haven’t got the adult ability yet to process information and consider consequences.
Be the parent
Rest assured this period won’t last forever! Work on being the parent – this means engaging with your teenager which can be difficult with the stresses of life and the festive period putting pressure on you.
Try to listen to what your teenager has to say. Show interest in their life and ask questions about how events have affected them.
By enquiring about your teenager’s thoughts and feelings, you convey the message that you are not prying for information about their life but are invested in their wellbeing.
Your teenager will most likely not be forthcoming with a conversation at first and don’t push for it, just let them know you trust, love, and care for them. Showing them this means more than you know and more than they will admit!
No screen time
This will be a hard one to enforce however if you’re serious about involving your teen in the family festivities this Christmas get rid of phones, computers, and TVs.
If this is met with too much resistance than you can handle then just put limits on screen time to certain parts of the day.
Give them a novel job
Teenagers actually love to be given responsibility. Give them a choice of recipes to choose from that they can cook for Christmas, allow them to shop for the ingredients and prepare the meal in the kitchen by themselves.
Obviously hang around so you can supervise and assist if needed, however, your teenager will love the fact that you trust them enough and consider their contribution important enough to cook on Christmas Day.
The results may be hilarious but this will also be an experience you all will remember no matter the outcome.
Learn to let go
Unfortunately, some family traditions may not be appealing to your teenager anymore and instead of trying to force it on them, learn to pick your battles and let go.
So those annual Santa photos or going door to door carol singing may have to go no matter how much it breaks your heart!
This is the perfect opportunity to create new traditions as well; put your teenager’s favorite music on and get them to help decorate the Christmas tree and house; or get their hands dirty and ask them to make cookies for their friends and family.
Teach them gratitude
Gratitude is an amazing characteristic to learn and take with you into adulthood and an invaluable thing you can teach your teen. Teach them to be thankful for what they have and what they have received.
After Christmas get their creative juices flowing and involve them in making ‘thank you tokens’ to those who gave them presents.
You could get them to paint a picture, make and paint a box or write a song or poem for that person. Leave it in your capable teen’s hands and reassure them constantly along the way that you are there to help.
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