"Should I buy this kid a screen, a phone or a video game when I feel he is on screens too much?"
"This girl treats us so poorly, do I really want to buy her that expensive gift?"
"Grandma and Grandpa are coming over, can I trust you to come out of your room and join the family?"
"Kids, Christmas is not about gifts...Now remind me, have you updated your Amazon Wish Lists?"
After you spend 5 hours making an amazing dinner, your kid says, "Why did you make this? I hate this! Can I just have a Hot Pocket?"
As they say, "It's complicated."
As I say, "Friggin' kids."
Parents will make a lot of choices this Christmas, but here are three good choices to make.
When you have a salty, mean or defiant teen in your home, family life can be very painful.
You feel like you are constantly fighting with this kid, pep-talking them, or you have given up fighting and pep-talking because it becomes too much.
It's all so stressful and painful.
Here at Parenting Modern Teens we specialize in showing parents how to overcome/break painful patterns of meanness, defiance and entitlement in their teenagers, and giving parents tools on how to get their son/daughter to a place of obedience, kindness and teamwork...
...and one of the many tools we teach is called "Making a Good Deal".
Most parents want to buy their kids presents on Christmas. This is normal. It's fun to give out gifts on Christmas...no strings attached. No deals. We have been buying them Christmas gifts since they were little and it feels normal to do so. "Merry Christmas my love."
Yet Christmas gifts become more complicated when you have a cycle of bad behavior, meanness, entitlement, or defiance in the house.
Parents may think,
"This kid doesn't deserve anything the way he/she treats us."
"If I buy them this Christmas gift, it may even make things worse."
So instead of giving coal...
Instead of buying that expensive present...
make a "Good Deal".
It may sound like,
"Son/Daughter, I'd love to get you that Christmas present you asked for. But instead of buying it for you, I felt it would be better if we made a deal. Let's work together here. You give me something I want, and I give you something you want. Win/Win."
"I am open to buying this for you, but before I do, I'd like to make a deal with you."
And then take the time to negotiate a Win/Win with your child. Sharing feelings and desires and negotiating Win/Wins is a part of every healthy relationship.
Your kids are not entitled to...anything. So help them see that by working with them.
Making good deals is a simple way to foster teamwork, hard work and gratitude in your home.
Teenagers can be filled with selfishness, self-centeredness and entitlement. This is a normal part of their psychology.
They can also be selfless, servants and express extreme gratitude. This is also a normal part of their psychology.
Having a holiday time of prayer, Scripture reading, or "gratitude sharing" is a great way to both teach teenagers about gratitude, but to also give them a platform to express it.
If you have a tween/teen then reminder: Your Tween/Teen is a young adult.
They are not a young child.
They are young adults who are capable of doing many, many things.
In the old days tweens/teens would help on the family farm. Go to war. Work hours in a factory. Get someone pregnant or have a baby.
Tweens/Teens are capable of so much!
So doesn't it makes sense that we would require/ask our children to contribute to Christmas in the same way we ask adults to contribute?
Yes, this is a good choice.
We want our kids to be Christmas Contributors, not Christmas Consumers.
If you don't include your kids in the effort, and you allow your tween/teen to be Christmas Consumers, you are planting seeds. In time, these seeds may blossom into entitlement, selfishness, childishness, avoidance, and immaturity.
You don't want to wake up one day with a spoiled, entitled teenager and ask yourself, how did we get here?
Christmas is a special time. A time of sharing, giving, love and family. So start them young...and keep it going!
Enjoy your kids, your family and make good choices - Happy Holidays!
Founder of ParentingModernTeens.com
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