By Cindy Springsteen and Lori Lite
As the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons are approaching us quickly, we are faced with our teenagers being home for the holidays and the question of how to have a stress free holiday with teens. This is a very exciting time for teens, as the stresses of homework and tests will be put aside for a short time. So what will they do with their time? This is something that should be discussed ahead of time and put into perspective. Parents will not want to spend the next two weeks arguing with their teenager, so if all the expectations are set forth ahead of time, there will be less chance of conflict and less stress during the vacation.
Should there be any family obligations such as visiting with relatives and special meals it is important to not wait until that day to spring this on your teen. They should be made aware of plans made; this is not to say that they have any say in what plans were made. This will just prevent arguments when they are told they must attend something with you when they would prefer to be with their friends.
- Let your teen invite a close friend to help decorate the tree or participate in lighting the menorah one evening. Friends are a great buffer and teens usually behave better in front of them.
- Let your teen know ahead of time when it would be appropriate to leave after a special meal or visit with relatives. This is a great trade off for a conversational and present teen.
- Go for quality not quantity family time. Let your teen know that if they spend 3 pleasant hours engaging with the family fun, they can then leave to spend 3 hours at a friend’s house or bring a friend over.
- Try to plan family events in the afternoon so teens can sleep in. Teens are cranky if they are up early. Work with their strengths.
- Give your teen a responsibility to pull them into the family commitment and holiday dynamics. Assign them cooking the potato latkes or decorating the mailbox. Let them do it their way and resist the urge to criticize or correct.
- If there are younger siblings in the family let your teen bring them to the movies or drop them off at a store to pick out a present for mom or dad. This is relaxing and fosters a bond between siblings. This helps teens realize they are a role model to their younger brother or sister.
Holiday time is a wonderful time of year to spend time with your family and friends. Parents will finally get to relax after the hustle and bustle of the last month. Teenagers on the other hand are not looking to sit and relax. Try to remember what life was like when you were a teen. The stresses on the teens today are much greater and they look forward to being with their friends. Make sure to allow for friend time, family fun, and lots of sleeping in.
Holiday downtime is an excellent time to introduce your teen to relaxation techniques. Indigo Teen Dreams was created specifically for teenagers to learn to manage stress, anxiety, and anger while increasing self-esteem. Help them catch up on much needed sleep with Indigo Dreams: Teen Relaxation Music . A relaxed teen will be sure to make your holidays bright!
Cynthia Springsteen is a published writer. She has been writing since she was in her teens. Most recently she was selected out of hundreds to write poetry for a screenplay, which is being filmed January 2011 in Los Angeles. She has spent the last couple of years researching and writing about parenting teenagers for various publications, plus her own personal experiences raising two teenagers. Follow on Twitter and FaceBook .
Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Face Book .