This Holiday Season, Let Them Be Kids

Filed under: Extreme Childhood, Opinions, Teen Culture, Development: Teens, Social & Emotional Growth: Teens, Behavior: Teens, Activities: Teens, Expert Advice: Teens

A woman who attended my workshop took me aside to tell me about her son and his friend. They are 15, and the friend was dealing with some really upsetting issues at home. He felt comfortable and safe at her house and she and her son had taken this boy under their wings. What she found remarkable was that in his overly stressed state, he found refuge in the simplest video games from his youth.

She explored this further and began to closely observe more of her son's friends. She noticed that all of them, when they were relaxed and comfortable, loved to revert to playing the games they enjoyed when they were 10. Her theory is that these boys are under so much pressure to behave older than they feel that it is a complete relief when they can allow themselves to let their hair down and really relax with their friends. And sometimes it makes them feel happy and comfortable to play like kids.

This is true whether your teen is a boy or girl, in middle school or high school, in the "popular" crowd or not ... teens often feel as though they are on a stage performing when they go to school. They feel evaluated and judged, and if they don't measure up they feel worse.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your teen this Christmas vacation is the opportunity to relax and be a kid. When the snow comes, encourage sledding, skating and have the hot chocolate ready. Rent old movies from when they were little. Get out old fashioned games -- even board games. And if they get silly and act like they did when they were 10 -- all the better. To be able to relax that much, to feel that comfortable with family or a few chosen friends is a great gift. Not just this vacation, but anytime.

Your teens have a lifetime in front of them to learn to be an adult. And these days of their youth are fading fast. Help them make a few more memories.

Reprinted with permission from Sue Blaney. Read more of her two-minute parenting tips on


Flickr RSS



AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.