What are some life skills that you can impart to your children this time of year?
One Christmas, half of the family had the flu. We opened presents while holding buckets in our laps and rushing periodically to the bathroom to vomit. Our friends, who were bringing half of the meal, wisely canceled joining us for dinner. So, we had a very different Christmas, but we adapted and adjusted our expectations, but definitely an unusual Christmas.
When something goes wrong, let your teen in on the problem solving process. Explain the problem to your teen and brainstorm together ways to turn the challenge into something positive. Look at different options and choose one to work with.
There never seems to be quite enough money at Christmas time, something that many encounter at least a few times in their lives. Teach your teenager the art of stretching money. Look for bargains together at stores and in sales flyers in the paper. What is the wisest buy? When you find a bargain, share it with your teen and how much money that you have saved. I went to Kohl's last week with "Kohl's cash" from the day after Thanksgiving shopping and hit an amazing sale. I also brought a card that had come in the mail that took 15% off the entire bill. With all my "savings," I ended up spending $75.00 and saving $183.00. I was so excited. I took the time to share all the details with my teens so that they will save money in the future and on their own Christmas spending now.
Doing Without & Making it Fun!
Ask your teen to come up with ideas for substitutions when your family has to do without. You may be surprised by their creativity and enjoy their ideas very much! You and your teen will be drawn close together as you brainstorm together.
Christmas is the time when extended families get together with peace and harmony, along with reminiscing about old times and good memories. Well, truthfully, reality is more likely to involve conflict, old wounds uncovered. Stressful moments often come after the weariness of spending lots of money and being tired from extra activities. Peacemaking skills will be used for an entire lifetime.
Help your teen walk out conflict in a biblical way. Use Matthew 18 as a pattern of conflict resolution. Learn to talk things out calmly and lovingly. If you are around the conflict of others, model being a peacemaker for your teens. Your teen can learn to be a peacemaker too!
Diplomacy with Difficult Relatives
"if you would just lose weight, you would be so attractive. You have such a pretty face," a family friend said to me at our church's Christmas Eve service.
"Have you tried Ivory soap? That's what I used when I was a teenager and I never had an acne problem," an aunt said to me when I was a teenager at a holiday dinner.
Thankfully, I had a wonderful mother, who affirmed me and helped me to be polite to those who were insulting without letting their hurtful words damage me.
Along with good manners, talent and kindness are skills that give a person favor with people. If you are like most people, there will be relatives around at Christmas that require extra grace. Learning to be diplomatic will help your teenager to grow up able to get along with difficult of people. Another Christmas life skill to learn!
Responding with Grace to Unpleasant Surprises
The holidays always bring some kind of unpleasant surprises with them. Maybe the oven will catch on fire or Aunt Matilda will show up unexpectedly. Vacation plans may have to be canceled. Respond with grace so that your children learn the right way to respond with a heart that trusts in God and submits to His perfect will. Encourage and pray with them when they feel disappointed! Praise your teens when they respond with grace.
Your job is to equip your teens to grow up to be joyful, productive, healthy adults. Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself as a life lesson to make this the best learning season in your teenager's life!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)