Guest Post by: Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC
The holidays are right around the corner, so now is the time to stress-proof your teen by talking with them about any potential friction areas.
The holidays can be the best times of the year. You get to see Grandma and Grandpa, mom and dad, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and old friends. You'll be sharing dinner, talking about the old days, and decorating cookies; it sounds like a greeting card. It s going to be wonderful, and you are excited to have everyone at your house. That is, until you tell your teen and they scrunch their face up and say, "Oh no, not Aunt June and Uncle Bob. Do I have to give my room up again?" You dread telling your teen because of the expected reaction from them about giving up their room.
Small children might find it exciting to leave their rooms and sleep in a different place in the house, but asking a teen to give up their "safe" spot, is usually a whole different situation.
Remember, the holidays can be stressful for everyone in the family for different reasons. Teens are often stressed about buying their friends gifts, being away from their friends, the lack of structure, and seeing family that they have not seen for a while. Having extended family around also makes Mom and Dad act differently. Teens may notice Mom and Dad acting more frazzled. Retreating to their own room is one way teens relax, but if you will be cutting off that escape, it is wise to help them prepare ahead of time.
Gentle ways to make help your teen feel less stressed during the crazy holiday season:
Your children won't remember who ate too much or what the dessert was each holiday. What they will remember is how you made them feel special. They will remember the little things you did to try and make it the best holiday. I have had teens tell me that their parents made room dividers out of cardboard boxes so they could have privacy or that their parents were sensitive to Aunt Jo's snoring not being too close to them. No teen wants to give up their room, but they will if they know Mom and Dad love them and appreciate their cooperation.
Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl's Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at www.StartTalkingBook.com and more about Rapini at www.maryjorapini.com.