After the Invitation (Before the Conflict)

christmas-party-invitations4Here’s an end-of-the-year refresher course to help you enjoy holiday celebrations with your teen/preteen:

Expectations 101
Go over your expectations for dress, behavior, language, and acceptable topics of conversation before a family gathering.  Don’t assume teens already know what’s appropriate.

Bubble Trouble 102
If your child is over 10, he’s living in his own bubble.  Much of what you say sounds like those adults in Charlie Brown cartoons.  After you tell him the coming week’s schedule, be prepared to tell him again.  And don’t be surprised when the day comes and he says, “Wait, what?  Nobody told me about that!”

Gratitude  103
She won’t be thinking about Grandma’s feelings when she opens Grandma’s gift and says, “Red mittens?  With my pink coat?  I don’t think so!”  It’s part of that same bubble trouble.  When it happens, don’t overreact; try a gentle reminder, like “I think you meant, ‘Thank you, Grandma,’ didn’t you?”  Or catch her alone later and explain how she hurt Grandma’s feelings, then ask how she’s going to make it right.

Cell Phone Etiquette 104
Don’t want to be looking at the top of your texting teen’s head at the party?  Discuss before you go why it’s not polite, and work with your teen to set some limits.  Instruct him to explain to his friends that he’ll be at a party and unavailable.  Try agreeing on a time – and a time limit – for checking texts: “Leave your phone in the car, and two hours after we get there, you can go out to the car and text  for 10 minutes.”  (Agree on a consequence if he stays out there too long.)

Before you leave for your holiday gatherings, spend at least as much time prepping your teen as you do deciding what to wear, and everyone will have a better time!

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