Parenting Teen/Tweens over Christmas - part two

How to ease the stress, manage expectations and enjoy the big day.

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For Part One click here

Tip Three - Allocate Roles

So, you have now got clear what you want and made a plan not to have to do it all by yourself. Yes, you do have a family and yes, you can all be a team!

Here is what I suggest, if you want people’s buy in then you need to give them ownership of something, so they also feel they have some control over the day. This is where you get role allocating.

First thing is to let them know you need some support; a question like, “I want us all to have the best Christmas including me, so I think we all need to be responsible for something on Christmas day, what would you like to take responsibility for? I think you would make a great entertainments officer for the day, what do you think?” You know your teen/child the most, what would they love to be in charge of?

Let them know in advance what they will be responsible for and get agreements from them. Given a choice, your teenager may want to sit on the settee all day and drink and eat things that they are previously not allowed; let them know that, as a member of the family, they are responsible for something.

If you have not done this before then it may feel strange at first, but given advance warning your child is much more likely to play ball and just gentle reminders on the day will help to gee them along….

Really appeal to your teenager here from where they are, not what you want doing. Could they be responsible for contacting all family members over the internet, perhaps setting up a video conference, something they will enjoy doing? Lets face it, telling a child they are responsible for cleaning the dishes is never going to go down well!

Tip Four - “Me Time”

Yes really, it is possible and you deserve it but like everything, you have to plan for it. There is no use running yourself ragged before Christmas, only to be exhausted on the day and just needing sleep. I know this may sound impossible but it only has to be for ten minutes.

  • In all the planning of the festivities, make sure that you put some time in for yourself and book it in, take a long bath, read a book, go shopping out in the car, whatever you need to do. Make sure you let everyone know that this is your time and you are not to be disturbed. If they keep disturbing you then it is because you have not been consistent enough in telling them that you are not available!
  • See where in the day you can get some time alone and to yourself, even if you just lock yourself in the bathroom! Decide, know when and where you are going to do this; we all need to collect our thoughts and be alone just for a few minutes. Respect that other family members may need this too so when your teenagers storms off to their room, don’t make them wrong. Accept that this is their Me Time and just ask them when you can expect to see them downstairs again.
  • When planning your Christmas day also make sure you sneak some Me Time in there too. You are important and don’t you forget it!

    Tip Five -Have Fun and Lighten Up

    OK, so I know Christmas has a serious message and I will be at Church celebrating that, but for me it has another message and that is about having your family around you enjoying them and having fun…so where have you planned for fun?

    Have Fun - I cannot say this enough, make this a fun day.

    Maybe you need to let go of your rigid plan and lighten up a little.

    Over Christmas breakfast, ask everyone what fun thing they would like to do today, tell them what you want to do. Make someone the fun manager; give them the responsibility for ensuring you do all the things that everyone wants to. In our house we have a fun bowl and we each put in a fun thing we want to do. At intervals throughout the day the fun manager picks one out and we all do it. You do not have to be as regimented as that, but give fun a go. If you cannot make a fool of yourself at Christmas, when can you?

    If you cannot let loose at Christmas Time, when can you let loose?

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    Sarah Newton

    Author, Speaker and Youth Coach

    Sarah Newton has shared her innovative wisdom with millions who have tuned into her TV and Radio shows, followed her writing and listened to her unconventional talks. She has been described as a catalyst, daring all she meets to break out from social norms and follow their own path. She has worked in youth empowerment for over 30 years, first as a police officer and then eventually running her own business, via a stint at Disney World in Florida. Sarah has a no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to solving most youth-associated problems, based on tactics that work, not rhetoric out of a book. She often is the only one in the room to stand by her viewpoint and tends to think the opposite from everyone else. Star of ITV’s “My Teen’s A Nightmare, I’m Moving Out” and author of “Help! My Teenager is an Alien – the everyday situation guide for parents”, Sarah has just teamed up with her daughter to write a novel to help girls with their body image issues, she has also written for The Guardian, The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail. Sarah also sits on the UK board of the Arbonne Charitable Foundation and is an ambassador for Girls Out Loud.