Smiling teenage girl sitting next to a christmas tree.

Helping Your Teen Find Meaning During the Holidays

The holidays can be the most wonderful time of year for some, and the trickiest for others. As kids grow into teens, they might still struggle to separate the holiday season from gifts and sweets. But in reality, the holiday spirit is about so much more: spending quality time with loved ones, unconditional giving and the magic of the season. So, snuggle up with some hot chocolate and don’t forget the marshmallows! We are diving into ways to help your teen find meaning during the holidays and the teen mental health resources that can promote positivity and purpose all year long.

Showing Love

The holiday season promotes feel good vibes and offers us the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the ones we love. Whether or not your teen thinks of showing love as a crucial part of the holiday spirit they are almost definitely yearning for it. Think about how your teen likes to receive love. Do they enjoy hugs? A kind complement or word of encouragement? Maybe they prefer spending quality time together. Listen to their needs when they express them and don’t be afraid to ask. Set an example for your teen with the rest of your family and friends, so they can learn to show love this season too. 

Embracing Differences 

While the classic holiday movies and picture perfect posts on social media might make teens feel like they, or their family, isn’t normal, it is important to help them realize that every family is different. What they see on their screens is a cleaned up and decorated version. In fact, they might see the same thing at their friends’ houses too. Sit down with your teen and explain that the love and care family members have for each other is what is important, the rest of what they see is completely unique for every family. Encourage them to notice what they love and embrace the differences that make their family special this holiday season.

Rediscovering Memories

Take a moment to think about the best family memories you have during the holidays. Maybe you loved to go for a walk around the neighborhood with the most spectacular light displays. Or an all day family movie marathon was your jam. Whatever it might be for you, consider recreating them to bring back nostalgia and offer a new (or old) tradition for your teen. Don’t forget to ask them what was most special for them during the holidays when they were younger. Invite them to take part in those activities this year to reinvigorate the holiday spirit in your teen. 

Feeling Appreciated

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, teens might feel forgotten. Between wrapping gifts, decorating, baking, and getting a boat load of work done before the end of the year, teens can too easily sink into the background. Make It a point to set aside time each day to ask your teen how they are doing, if they need anything, and whether they might like to help you out with a fun holiday task! Showing them they are needed can make them feel appreciated and involved. If they helped out, don’t forget to thank them by telling them how much their work and company means to you. 

Giving Together

While presents are often seen as the showstopper of many winter holidays, the season is far more about giving than gifts. Remind your teen that it is not about what they get but what they offer to others, especially those in need. Show them the true meaning of this time of year by getting them in the holiday giving spirit. Teach them the value of helping others by opting to do something kind together, as a family. Whether it is finding clothes or toys to donate, volunteering, or simply helping out in their community, consider making a plan as a family to give, as much as to receive. 

At Tilly’s Life Center, we believe that discovering and embracing the holiday spirit is a crucial part of helping teens find joy and meaning during the winter season. If your teen is struggling, the holidays can be an especially tricky time, as they feel the pressure to show up happy every day to match the decorations and the mood of the season. We believe that providing teen mental health resources is crucial to help them cope with life’s challenges. Our mission is to offer a social and emotional learning curriculum to assist teens in gaining skills that help them live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. To learn more, visit us at Happy Holidays!