Have a Stress-Free Holiday with Teens

By Cindy Springsteen and Lori Lite

As the Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa 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.

Holidays with Teenagers Tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Try to plan family events in the afternoon so teens can sleep in. Some teens may be cranky if they are up early on a non-school day.  Work with their strengths.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.  A relaxed teen will be sure to make your holidays bright!

 

For more articles and information regarding Holiday Stress:

http://www.doorwaysarizona.com/helping-teens-with-holiday-stress/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-imagination/200911/7-holiday-stress-busters-kids

 http://www.stressfreekids.com/48/holiday-stress

 http://www.apa.org/search.aspx?query=holiday stress

For more information regarding general teen stress, please visit http://www.rochester.k12.mi.us/hart-middle-school/pages/105338/stress