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Managing Holiday Stress for Teens

As December rolls around each year, the stress and demands of our everyday lives takes a dramatic uptick. The holidays create increases in shopping, social demands, and financial pressures on top of the extra stress of COVID-19 restrictions and distance learning. There is also the planning for school breaks, and juggling work and family calendars. With all this pressure on adults, and parents in particular, we need to recognize the extra stress on our often-overextended teens.

Here are a few ideas to help teens prepare for the holiday season and ways to find joy instead of pressure, for all in the family:

Say “No” – Be a Marie Kondo and say no to things that don’t bring joy or add value. When everyone is overtaxed and running on residual energy, it’s best to pick what will refuel you — so be selective in your commitments for your family and teen.

Manage Company – Be a strong role model on how to manage relationships and reduce being overextended during the holidays. This year’s holiday season will be a lot different than we are used to and changes in holiday traditions can be difficult for adolescents. Tune into your teen’s need for quiet or alone time. Practice self-care, and share that example and expectations with your teen. Help them find the right self-care techniques to help them manage stress.

Give Back – It seems counter to our advice, but find time to volunteer as a family. It’s a great way to bring perspective to our life’s blessings, and teach empathy and compassion!

Take Time To Talk – Remember to take time during the holiday season to touch base with your family. 2020 was an intense year of change, how are your family members coping? Ask them! Keep the lines of conversation open between the family.

The holiday season can be a wonderful bonding time with your teen. Set associated limits to manage stress and keep a balance for a joyous experience for all. Establishing your own holiday traditions can set the tone for what works best for your family – and as parents, keep true to your family’s agreements and commitments for the happiness of everyone! COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives temporarily and as role-models, it is our job is to help show our teens how to manage the uncertainty while still enjoying the holiday season!

From all of us at Newport County Prevention Coalition, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!