Attitude is in your face, isn’t it, when you’re raising teenagers?  And one attitude that seems to surface during the holidays is that of not wanting to hang with the family.  Or maybe your teen feels too old to participate with the younger kiddos present, or uninterested in the older folks, or unwilling to help out without a gripe and a long sigh… I suppose attitude comes with the teenage years, but having it surface during the holidays is not fun for anyone, especially Mom!

Maybe, just maybe, a few tips can help out with making the season merry and bright, whether you have a mix of ages in kiddos, are visiting an aging grandparent, or need help with the baking, or are hoping that Christmas morning is all smiles from everyone!

  • Sit down and have a family talk.  Communicate what is expected from each family member, and the attitude you’d like to see go with that action.  Let them speak and tell how they feel, then you share how you feel, and come to a family agreement.  Communication helps.

  • Give teens a task.  Don’t just assume he/she will hop up and help you set the table, or clean their room, or show up for the Hallmark movie watching.  Let them be in charge of a few things, give them ownership.  Maybe they can put together a food board, or create a centerpiece, or plan a family night.  If they help plan, maybe they’ll smile when the plan comes together!

  • Make schedules.  It might help to have a calendar with dates and even daily times, where teens are allowed to retreat to their rooms for down time, and other times where they are required to be present with family.  Hang a family calendar, so teens know what’s coming and what to expect. 

  • Listen to them.  If he really stomps about and she throws a fit when you tell them you need help, or an event is about to take place, listen to their feelings.  Maybe there’s a real problem you can all address, together.  Listening is half the battle.

  • Pray together.  They might snarl at this one, but bring the family together and pray about the upcoming weeks.  Ask each family member to give thanks, as you pray together for others and thank Him for the opportunity to give, expecting nothing in return.

  • Plan to Give.  Don’t exclude your teens when you give.  Include them.  Let them wrap the bread you’re delivering, find the directions to that elderly person’s home, make cards, or do something – so that they feel a part of the gift as well.

  • Thank Them.  Thank your teens when you see them get a job done, hold their head high, bite their tongue, or smile through a less than exciting event.  Tell them how much you appreciate them and love them.  I promise, those seeds are being planted, and they are taking root, even if you can’t see the fruit just yet.


Holidays are a blast, but they can be ruined with a foul attitude from our teens, our spouse, or ourselves!  And for sure, someone is bound to slip up, so offer grace, pull together as a family, and look around at the lights, the hope, and the glory of Christmas.

Holiday Happiness
by Marcy Lytle

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