During the holidays, when your teen is out of school and you’re spending more time together as a family, actively set an example of the ideals you hold dear. The holidays are a wonderful time to focus on traditions and love. You can teach without preaching—simply by setting a standard of the kind of behavior and thoughtfulness you would like to see reflected in your teen.
Go ahead and enjoy second helpings of that big home cooked meal. But during holiday gatherings, avoid indulging in too much alcohol. Your teen will be watching you and looking to you for social cues, and the last thing you want to do is demonstrate binge drinking. It might be tempting to hand your teen a glass of wine as an indulgence, but the holidays are no time to make exceptions to important rules. Bear in mind the risks of underage drinking and try to model a healthy relationship with food and drink. Keep in mind that the holidays may be a time of depression and stress, and check in with your teen.
Respect Friends and Family
At holiday parties and gatherings, you may encounter friends and family you rarely see during the rest of the year. Make introductions and approach them cheerfully. Take time to make polite inquiries. If conversations lull, help direct the topics and involve your teen. She’ll learn by example. The holidays are also an important time to show love and respect to elderly family members. Demonstrate patience and compassion.
Support the Community
Even if money is tight during the holidays, you can find small ways to show your teen the power of giving. Make a small food donation or donate time at a local shelter or assisted living facility. Ask your teen to join you in volunteering. Find out what social issues your teen is interested in and help find ways to focus on them together during the holiday season.
Reduce the Focus on Commercialism
Don’t get too wrapped up in the latest gadgets or hottest presents this year. Help your teen understand that the holidays aren’t dictated by the sales and presents. Teach by example by putting the focus on the time you spend together and the holiday memories you make. You may want to work on holiday cards together or involve your teen in a frugal craft project to help take the focus away from the commercial aspects of the holiday season.