The beginning of the holiday season is here, and teenagers across our nation will soon be heading to family gatherings.  Unfortunately, many will be wishing they were heading somewhere else.  What are the answers for families facing the upcoming celebrations with a reluctant teenager?

  • Realize it is natural for any teenager to want to spend at least a portion of their school vacation time with their peers.

As a parent it is important to be aware of and sensitive to the feelings of your teenager.  That does not mean she is exempt from all the traditional gatherings, but it does mean it might be a wise decision to make some appropriate adaptations as your child get older.

  • Look for ways to compromise with your teenager. Most individuals appreciates having some degree of control in a situation.

Take a look at your holiday schedule. Are there events she can attend in part – either arriving late or leaving early? If you find that is the case, your teenager should know that she is to attend (not skip out all together) and to be amiable and pleasant to all who are gathered.  Then you, mom and dad, need to relax and allow your teenager to make the good choice to operate within the parameters.  No hovering or harassing!

  • If a teenager is given a certain responsibility during the holiday gathering, he or she is more likely to enjoy the time.

For example, she could be assigned to amuse the younger kids – organizing a game or craft.  If the party is farther from home, perhaps your teenager could be responsible for driving part of the way.

Making her the music director for the evening might also be fun.

  • The key is to avoid treating your teenager as a child.  Remember, he or she is an “emerging adult.”

Once the expectations are set, she then has a choice how she will respond.  And of course if she makes a poor choice, the predetermined consequences should be delivered.  Never surprise your son or daughter with the consequence.

What things have you done to eliminate hostility from your teenager during the holidays?

Here’s an interview with John and Kendra on this subject

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