Some Tips for Getting Through the Holidays With a Troubled Teen

By Ronni J. Gillenson

ACS Program Director, On-Campus Counseling Progra

Just because there is ‘holiday cheer’ in the air doesn’t mean that life for a teen has changed all that much.  In fact, the holidays can be a trying time for them.  During the season that everyone is to be happy and giving, this could prove to be a very challenging and difficult time for those teens in need and struggling with issues of depression, family stress, grief and loss, etc.  In fact, many symptoms may become exacerbated during these times which makes keeping your expectations of them both realistic and minimal.

Continue to check in with them and help them to feel that they have the freedom to talk to you about what is going on, even if it doesn’t fit into the ‘holiday schedule’.  What is important is that they feel seen and heard during this busy time and accepted and loved even if they are struggling.  Keep the lines of communication open and engage them in asking how they would like to spend the holidays and what is important to them.  Let them know that their opinion matters and you want their ideas to be part of the decision making.  As always, empathy goes along way with our teens and, the holidays call for even more!

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