The holidays should be a time when you and your teenager grow a little closer together. It’s not a time for battles or fighting or trying to get them to do exactly what you want. This holiday season be flexible with your teenagers. Talk to them about what they want to do and negotiate generous terms where you also get some of what you want. Make them a part of the process and let them have some limited control over their participation in family events. Teenagers often push against disciplinary walls that parents put up. Loosen the ramparts a little extra but still insist that your teenager be safe.
Keep in mind that you will not be able to force their participation in a few years. Express to them how much it would mean to you and how nice it would be for the family to have them participate in family activities but don’t force the issue. Try to keep the conversation about how they will be participating caring and gentle. Also, acknowledge that for teens family obligations can be experienced as tedious and painful. Allow them to choose a time when they can take a break from their participation so that they can have a more pleasant experience.
If teenagers appreciate anything its increased freedom and control so the chances are good that you’ll get a good reaction out of this willingness to negotiate. Hopefully this will lessen the tension and make them more open to participate of their own will. Without the feeling that they are being forced, the activities that they do choose to participate in should be all the more enjoyable for them. Also, it’ll be more pleasant to have them around without the sulking!
By Miguel Brown