Teens and Complicated Christmas- Special Replay

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This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast- Teens and Complicated Christmas- Special Replay.

Teens and Complicated Christmas- Special Replay

Teens and Complicated Christmas

Some years are just tough! What if you or a family you know has experienced: illness, divorce, financial or family loss, or other difficult situation?

Though the rest of the year might be challenging, when Christmas comes along, it can be really hard for teens (and adults) to know what to do with their feelings. It is hard for them especially if their feelings are not such “Christmas-y” feelings.

How do you help teens (and the rest of the family) in complicated Christmases?

The first way to help teens (and parents) deal with complicated Christmases? Start with getting rid of “musts”.

One must is the need to have fancy, expensive Christmases. It is good to talk to teens- be real with them. They are old enough- after all, lots of them are taking Financial Literacy courses.

One way Sabrina’s family has handled financially tough Christmases, it to share with each other the gifts they would love to share together. They can even draw pictures, make collages or other creative ways to have fun with the “wish I could give you” gifts.

Next, Christmas can get complicated with scheduling. It is good to over-communicate about it.

Teens often have jobs that keep them busy during the holidays. Not only that, but they often have special events and performances…along with their siblings (and their parents). SO much going on.

  • So, over-communicate. Keep a calendar and talk about it.
  • Also, give and model grace about all the schedule juggling (and help teens remember to give and model grace also).
  • Help them remember to ask about what they want or need to do. AND we parents can try to frame our requests as questions, not demands.
    • They need to learn that when we say “yes” to something, we are automatically saying “no” to something else.

What if the complicated Christmas includes someone being sick?

Help your teens understand that it is okay to rest if they are sick. It is okay for it to be hard. Help them to think creatively and resiliently on ways that the family can make something good happen- despite (or after) the sickness.

It is really hard for teens if someone they love has died.

Well, truly, loosing a loved one is hard for the whole family. Teens often feel the loss during the holidays acutely because they are in the developmental phase where they are thinking and feeling deeply.

It helps to understand how to grieve as a family if we use the metaphor of concentric circles:

  • The person in the most center circle is the one who is most deeply affected by the loss of the loved one.
    • That person will need to have the most input on what they will need or can handle during this Christmas season.
    • Let them know that “NO” is a complete sentence. If you or your teen cannot handle a Christmas event this year, it is okay.
  • People on the outside circles, are less affected by the death of the loved one.
    • They need to tell those in the inner circles how to grieve or to put their grief away so that “Christmas isn’t spoiled”.

What if your family has experienced divorce?

While we may wish it had never happened, sometimes families experience divorce. Christmas are always complicated after a divorce: where will the kids be on Christmas day, what will happen with the old, family traditions, how will everyone feel because there are two places kids need to be during one holiday?

Sabrina, who has been through a divorce, recommends:

  • Have a no-slam policy.
    • It does NOT help kids feel good about Christmas, when a parent talks ugly about the ex. This is really important for teens.
  • Create new traditions.
    • Some of the old traditions must be put away. See if you can start a new tradition.
  • Make safe spaces.
    • If one of the kids get upset and cry, allow it and love on them.

Join Sabrina, Kym and Vicki for a discussion on helping teens through complicated holiday seasons.

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