Tag Archive for: Christmas with teens

Christmas Memories

This has been a year to reflect on our family Christmas memories. With the death of my daughter this year the details of Christmas are more pronounced than ever.  The glaring reminders that it is time to celebrate even though I’m not quite in the mood. 

I’ve found that I am over-consciously aware of my surroundings.  The trees are greener, the decorations more detailed, and I have a sense of every Christmas smell.  Yesterday we had an extended family get-together and someone wrote nutmeg as a reminder of the season.  I could almost smell it in a pumpkin pie even though there wasn’t one in the house.  It is as if my senses are on steroids aware of every particular aspect surrounding me– especially the vacuum deep in my soul.  The hollowness of something missing.  Someone is missing.

As the children’s choir stood on stage this year, I saw our daughter as an 8 years old be-bopping to the music.  As I shopped I saw her as a 13 year old spraying all the scents at the perfume counter deciding which was the best.  I remembered when she came home from college one year and we went Christmas shopping on Black Friday.  We could barely carry all the bags to the car because of all the outfits we bought her for under $50 at the Macy’s sale. 

Memories are everywhere I go with all the details.  And I will admit that not all of them are good.  The things I got upset about.  The frustration I showed in my voice.  The things I could have said differently or the hug that I could have extended in a difficult moment.  You see, at the time, the details weren’t so vivid.  They were lost in the commotion of everything else that had to be done.

And if I can convey anything to you as a mom, “Please don’t let everything else around you be more important than the details with your kids.  The table might not be perfect or the pie might be a little burnt.  You might forget to buy the nuts for Uncle Ted’s favorite cranberry sauce.  But-none-of-it-matters.”

The only thing that matters is what they will remember–what you will remember.

  • If we’re tired and worn out, they’ll remember us yelling at them for the umpteenth time. 
  • If we have one more thing to do, they’ll remember that we didn’t have time for them.
  • If everything isn’t perfect and we let them know, they’ll think they never measure up.
  • If impressing our extended family is more important than our kids’ requests, they’ll feel they aren’t as important as others in the room.

We have the power to change all thatBut it takes looking at the details.  It means we have to look in the mirror at us.  What do we want our children to see?  What do we want their detailed memories to be?

Even though our loss is heavy, I choose to see the flip-side.  Now instead of singing on stage as an 8 year old, my daughter is singing with a choir of real angels glorifying our heavenly Father in person.  She has a front row seat to what the season is all about.  She smells the sweet aroma of sacrifice as she’s dressed in white.

The details of all the Christmas hymns seem to have more meaning to me now.  Even though there is a void, I long to hear the words of the carols.  “We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!”

Now that the crazy busyness is over in preparation for the Christmas season, I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on what this season really means to you and what you want for your kids.  Even if your teens and tweens are in a stage where they are tough to love, try to extend grace in the midst of their struggle.  These are times when we need the strength of our heavenly Father.

Someone sent me an email earlier this week and the words have resonated with me all week.  It’s what I want this Christmas season.

I hope your Christmas is filled with silent moments with the King, and love overflowing to family and friends. 

Silent moments with the King!  That’s what I want.  

Now that Christmas is here, I hope you will rest in Him.  May He be your guide and strength during the season.  And may your silent moments with the King reveal the details of His everlasting love.

Luke 2:14

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

May His favor rest on you as you create memories this holiday season.  May you find peace in Him today and be sure to find time to carve out silent moments with the King.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Want to learn how to keep conflict to a minimum with your teens and tweens?  Tired of the mouthiness and fear of what the future may hold for your child?  Maybe you just want a closer relationship and a way to maintain it during the coming years?

We can help you Deflate Defensiveness with your tweens and teens.  You’ll be amazed at the changes these skills will make.  The skills you will learn at our Deflating Defensiveness Training Retreat will help you see a different perspective of the relationship bond.  It is taught by professional trainers who want to help women improve their relationships for the long-haul.  Join us in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio in June.  And be sure to register before December 31 to get the greatest savings.  We promise you’ll be glad you came!

 

 

 

Will Your Teen’s Christmas be Filled with “FOMO”?

Walking through the mall yesterday I was marveling at the beautiful teen voice that penetrated the massive hallways.  Barely able to walk through the throng of people to see who this incredible girl must be, the music stopped and the next set of performers were beginning their dance moves to a different holiday carol.  The magic of Christmas filled my mind with memories of my own kids participating in holiday performances several years ago.

The parents were no different today than they were when my kids were in middle and high school. Cameras were held high capturing the events.

And I paused wondering how many of those pictures and videos would end up on social media platforms.

It’s natural to want to share to the world our children’s success.  Facebook and Instagram make it easy to share pictures with Grandma who is hundreds of miles away.  It’s a way to help her feel connected to her loved ones.

Yet, as we go into the Christmas season,  I hope you’ll stay with me for a moment as I share some results from recent studies reported by CNN, KQED, and The Guardian that have come from countries such as UK, Denmark, and Germany.  

  • We dare to compare and so do our kids.  All the success we see on the social media platforms says “we aren’t measuring up” or “our kid isn’t measuring up” which can instill envy-inducing incidents.  Teens who are on social media on a regular basis are three times as likely to get depressed around the holiday season because they are comparing themselves to others and envy becomes a constant struggle.
  • Our kids feel a sense of “FOMO” — the fear of missing out.  In addition to a feeling of missing out,  Instagram in particular was shown to have a negative affect on sleep patterns and body image as well.  Snapchat, too, seems to rank a close second to Instagram in negative impact on the mental health of our teens.
  • People who took a break from social media for a week felt less sad and lonely. 

Let’s face it.  When our kids were younger they could be content because they didn’t know what they were missing out on.  Now that they can see what everyone else is doing with the touch of a screen, they are developing an over-desire to be like their friends and have what their friends seem to have.  Teens can turn a simple picture they receive into an idea of something that they can’t live without.  And because our teens have been sheltered from disappointment they aren’t just disappointed when they see their friends together smiling and having a good time, they tend to be devastated.

And here’s where the sad news becomes a problem for us as parents.  When teens have an infatuation for something they think they need, they fixate on it to the point that they are willing to become someone different to achieve it.  In other words “Instead of enjoying what they have, they obsess over what they think they might be losing out on and seek to get it no matter what the cost.”

So here are some things to consider as you are going into the holiday season:

  1. Be proactive and talk about the problems with social media.  Let them know that social media fills a void.  What void is your teen trying to fill?  As a parent, try to understand what that is for each of your children.
  2. Let your kids know they can talk to you when they are going through “FOMO”.  During those times take time to listen and commiserate with them. 
  3. Take a family break from social media.  Yes, Mom and Dad as well.  Even if it is just around the table playing board games, take time where you are all fully engaged.

We live in a digital world and taking the stance that our kids can’t have access to it could become devastating to their social interaction; however, as parents, we can put limitations on it in a way that says that social media has its place in moderation.  In fact, one study pointed out that YouTube is one of the few platforms that seems to have a positive affect on our teen’s mental health.  

Ecclesiastes 4:4

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

John 10:14; 27

I am the good shepherd:  I know my sheep and my sheep know me…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.

Dare you to pray and listen to His voice as you decide how to handle social media with your tweens and teens during the Christmas season.  Be sure to have discussions about the pitfalls of envy and the fear of missing out.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Want to learn how to keep conflict to a minimum with your teens and tweens?  Tired of the mouthiness and fear of what the future may hold for your child?

Register now and join other women who want to learn how to Deflate Defensiveness in their relationships!  We’re professional trainers who want to help women improve their relationships and we’ll give you the skills to do it.  Join us in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio in June.  And be sure to register before December 31 to get the greatest savings.