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Over The River and Through the Woods: Involving Teens In Family Holiday Celebrations

It's so sad for parents as our children grow up and begin to lose so much of the sense of magic associated with the holidays.  Unfortunately, it's hard for teens, too.  They often find themselves in a no-man's land between the child for whom the holiday is just one long celebration and the adult who is in charge of making it happen.  Here are some ways to help your teen make these in-between years more fun and meaningful, too.

  • Help him focus on the bigger meaning behind the holiday.  Teach him about your family's values as they relate to special times of the year.  If you are celebrating a special day that is associated with your religious beliefs, help him explore ways in which he can more fully embrace those beliefs in the midst of gift giving, cookie baking, etc.
  • Give your teen ownership of some part of the celebration.  Begin the holiday season by inviting each person in your family to pick one thing they'd like to contribute to the celebration. Teach your teen the importance of sharing. Not only does it give teens a chance to show off their own talents, it's also makes your life easier because you don't have to do as much.
  • Look for opportunities to give back to others as a family.  Teach patience and acceptance. This could be by serving at a soup kitchen or wrapping gifts for underprivileged children.  The point is that by focusing on making someone else's holiday better, the teen becomes less focused on himself and his own ambivalence.
The important thing to remember is that holidays are special times for everyone in a family.  By involving your teens in the celebration, they can feel secure in knowing that, even though they are growing and changing, their place in your family, and your heart, remains secure.

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