Navigating the holidays with tweens and teens is not for the faint of heart. This time of year, it’s easy to find ourselves and our families in a swirl of emotions, conversations, and activities. Many of these conversations can lead to big emotions in our tween/teen and us as parents. As we look forward to the upcoming holidays, get some helpful holiday tips for parenting tweens and teens this year.
First holiday tip to keep in mind is that tweens and teens emotions are no joke! Their bodies and brains are in a constant state of change and growth. They can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a very short amount of time. Add in the strangeness of this holiday season, changing plans, holiday sweets, time with or away from family and friends and sometimes it can be overwhelming.
Here are some holiday tips for parenting tweens and teens to bring more peace and calm to your home.
Talk Through Expectations
Everyone knows that things will probably look a little different this year, including much loved traditions. You may not be able to go to The Nutcracker or throw the big holiday party that you usually do. As an adult, you may have mixed feelings about these changes and chances are your child will too. Sit down and have a conversation about what will be different. Figure out what traditions are your child’s favorite. Talk about alternative ways to make them happen. Allow them the space to be sad or excited about the changes.
Focus them Outward
Involve you children in focusing outward this season. Help them identify family members or friends to send some extra love to. Maybe they can pick out and wrap Christmas gifts for family members far away. Or take a day to bake cookies and drop them off at friends houses. What about working together to come up with a unique way to thank their teachers this year. Including them in this process helps them focus on what they do have and can give rather than what they don’t.
As a parent of tween/teens this year I am learning to be just a bit more flexible, because everyone needs a bit more grace and breathing space right now. This might mean letting them stay up extra late for another movie night or letting them sleep in, even if it doesn’t fit your schedule. If they ask to try their hand at cooking (and possibly destroying the kitchen), maybe this is the year to allow them. Sometimes letting go of our own expectations can lead to beautiful moments of connection.
Want more help with big emotions any time of the year? Our course “Big Emotions and What Parents Can Do” is full of research-based teaching on the brain and emotions as well as practical tips for the whole family on understanding and responding to our big emotions.