Teens: Not So Happy During Holidays?

December 21, 2013

How to help kids thrive

shutterstock_69009877_12.21.13

Tweens and teens will tell you the holiday season is awesome.

That is the expected answer.

However, that is not always quite the truth. Almost half of teenagers feel some anxiety or worry during the holidays.

Why?

The “obligation” to be happy during this time. Family togetherness. Pressure to create happy memories. If this is not really the case, the feeling to be “out of the norm,” to be missing out on something important, can be heavy.

It is also the time of the year that reminds you that your life is not what you’d like it to be, and whether there is hope it will change.

There is clearly a struggle that many adults (not to say the majority of them) experience at this time, so imagine how tough it can be for the young.

Presents might not be sufficient to alleviate the holiday “blues.”

For those who have lost loved ones, the grief will strike deeper. Surely, this is one of the times in the year to strongly feel the loss of a loved one?

If a child has divorced parents, they can feel torn between both.

So, while for some tweens and teens, the holidays are a great time of year, some may need the attention from adults. Some need to be understood and helped.

But, this is also the time when many adults are stressed: the marathon of gift shopping, the extra spending, along with the inability to find the perfect gift (either through budget or time constraints, or simply lack of ideas), holiday preparations. Because of all this, adults are not at their best to pay attention to children (Though Christmas is meant for children….)

Parents, be aware and ready to help them.

How?

As always, the most important thing is for parents to express their love in word and deed. Spend time with them. Listen to them. Have fun with them. (And please, please, let them decide what is fun).

Reassure them, let them know that it is OK to have rough emotions during the holidays. If you think they are out of control, falling into depression, support them, encourage them to talk with a professional.

I write this blog about the young, because they are my focus, but this has made me realize that we all know adults who experience the same feelings during the holiday season. Close friends, acquaintances, neighbors. Is there a better time than now to help them by paying attention to them and showing that we do care about them? That might be the most beautiful present we could ever give to anyone.

Happy Holidays!

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