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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Teen Health and Holidays

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I want to take a moment and wish everyone a happy holiday season. No matter which holidays your family embraces, the winter months bring opportunities to spend time together, as well as to reflect on our lives, choices, and futures. I send blessings to all the readers of this blog and hope that your lives are joyful, thankful and healthy.

In addition, remember that the natural tendency to retreat from the cold and dark, spend time at home, and be thoughtful, can bring comfort, but also sadness in people not happy with their circumstances. Especially during the busy holiday season, it is easy to let teens pull away from family gatherings, traditions, and rituals as they struggle to find their place in our families, deciding whether they belong with the adults or the children. Teens also may have lost some of the magic associated with the holidays, and depending on your family, may not have started to assume some of the responsibility for the activities of the holidays, which in the doing, also bring joy.

When preparing for this holiday season, remember your teen has many talents and plenty of energy to share, and s/he may need extra help getting into the spirit and feeling like they are a part of the holidays. I encourage you to include them in the planning and to find activities they enjoy and can be responsible for - creating the family newsletter, preparing and addressing cards, planning and preparing for parties, planning and cooking meals, baking, decorating, making gifts for teachers, shopping, wrapping, mailing, even cleaning. I realize not everyone thinks of these activities as fun, but consciously choosing the activities you will complete, remembering what is important about them, and doing them with your teens can provide you both with some quality time, as well as providing your teen with an understanding of how the holidays come about, the energy and love that go into the preparations, and an opportunity to make a contribution she or he can be proud of.

Slowing down and thinking through your priorities, the activities you will participate in, and remembering to find the joy of the holidays will not only help your teens, it may help you find a little extra joy, too! During the holidays - be well, laugh often, love well, and play well!

Photo credit: sylvar

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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