How Do You Guide a Teenager?
Posted by: Sue Atkins
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How Do You Guide a Teenager?
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Weird? Embarrassing? Fun? – Family Traditions & Rituals – Why They Matter
Your children might think your family rituals are weird, but rituals are how your family says, ‘This is who we are and what we value’
We always sat down to our Christmas Dinner at 5 pm as my Grandad used to visit his family in the morning so always ate later in the day.
So, my Dad used to do the same and guess what …. we always eat our Christmas Dinner at 5 pm & sit & chat around the table for hours too.
Family traditions are like the glue that holds & build memories that last a lifetime & get passed on down the generations.
I like family traditions as:
- Family rituals are the special & unique things you do regularly as a family.
- Family rituals give you and your children a sense of security, identity, and belonging.
- Family rituals can help children feel safe during uncertain or changing times.
- Family traditions build memories that last a lifetime
Some rituals might have been handed down from your grandparents or other relatives, like always opening Christmas presents after lunch other rituals just happen when your kids like something & it becomes your family tradition.
Your family’s rituals might include celebrating religious festivals like Christmas, Chanukah, or Ramadan. Your family might also have rituals for cultural festivals, like Diwali, Halloween, or Thanksgiving Day, as well as for birthdays, Mothers Day, and Fathers Day. At these special events, you might have invited extended family or friends to share in your family rituals but due to the pandemic, they’ve had to be changed. But these rituals will return as they connect you, bond you & create a sense of belonging which is hugely important.
Your rituals might be things that no-one but your family understands.
They might be:
- funny handshakes
- silly expressions or special names you use for each other
- a special kiss on the hand for your child at school drop-off so they can have a kiss anytime they touch their hand during the day
- board games or special games that always bring back funny memories that make you all laugh
- A ritual could also involve a common interest with someone in your family, like going to football matches, camping or baking birthday cakes for family members.
Family rituals: why they’re important.
Family rituals give you and your children a sense of security, identity, and belonging.
That’s because they’re special things that you do together and they have special meaning for you.
They create shared memories and build family relationships and bonds.
Rituals can also comfort children in unfamiliar circumstances. For example, if your young child loves listening to you read a bedtime story before bed, this ritual will help your child settle to sleep when they’re in a different place.
Rituals help children feel that the world is a safe and predictable place. This is especially important in uncertain or changing times like family separation, or when you’re moving house, or after a traumatic event like the pandemic.
Rituals can strengthen family values and help pass these values on to your children. For example, something as simple as Sunday lunch together every week says that you value your family and enjoy spending time together.
Tips for fun rituals
These ideas can help you create fun rituals for your family:
- Make regular meaningful time together as a family, when you can enjoy each other’s company. For example, you might make time each week to eat together, watch a film & eat popcorn, or get a takeaway. You might ride bikes on Saturday mornings & eat bacon sandwiches afterward.
- Think about your daily routines, and whether there’s a way to make them more fun or special.
- Consider making a ritual for special occasions. For example, everyone chooses a decoration to put on the Christmas tree, or everyone takes turns saying one thing you love about someone on their birthday.
The problems of boomerang kids are very real with parents often bemused and at a loss to know how to handle this new situation. Knowing how to cope and live together as a family again is about looking to the future and setting some simple, clear, and specific goals that can be achieved over time. It is important not to get stuck in the present or feel that you have taken a step backward in your lives but it’s important to set some new simple boundaries whilst also keeping the long-term relationship healthy and happy.
Here are my ten simple and practical Do’s and Don’ts that will make the transition to living together once again a harmonious one:
- Do remember that it is your house and your rules.
- Do insist that your children make a financial contribution to the home or at least cook a meal once a week, empty the dishwasher or take out the bins – this will teach them to respect you as well as themselves.
- Do draw up an agreement on household chores and basic house rules – then stick to them.
- Do accept that you have to go through a transition in behaviour with adult children.
- Do insist they tell you if they are delayed and explain why you need to know, e.g. peace of mind, security so you can lock the door.
- Do set boundaries – be firm, fair, consistent, and respectful.
- Don’t wait on them hand and foot.
- Don’t treat them like teenagers and don’t try to control them.
- Don’t forget that as parents you are role models. Make sure that both parents are on the same side, e.g. if the dad expects the mum to do all the household chores the adult child will too.
- Don’t let bad behaviour go unnoticed – if it upsets you then speak to them about it. Work out compromises, solutions, and ways forward. Don’t let resentment, anger, and arguments build up.
Boomerang college kids don’t stay at home forever. Whilst they are at home it is important to keep the lines of communication open and to talk about what everyone wants to gain from the situation. Compromise and thrive – a bit like all of family life really!
It’s all about the long-term relationship that you want to build so don’t always sweat the small stuff.
COMING IN JANUARY 2021
Whether you are in the middle of potty training, have a child with additional needs, are handling a monosyllabic teen, or need the magic formula to co-parent with your ex, one thing is certain:
You Want Answers ?
With the overwhelming amount of information on the internet and the massive amounts of parenting books that make their way on to Amazon, it’s nearly impossible to sift through the online bookshelves to find the help you need quickly and easily.
As an author myself, I get asked all the time, ‘Sue, what are your favourite parenting books?’
From general parenting advice to tackling specific struggles, this list of books will help you navigate many of the parenting issues you’re facing. with confidence.
You can be sure that each one is fantastic and will be worth your time.
Reading is a fundamental part of growing up – so from sturdy board books, to books that help your children explore, understand and express their emotions, to reading for fun, you will find a whole world of great books in my Book Club to accompany your children on their journey through life too.
I often interview the authors on my podcast so you can find out more about them and learn more about their books.
Coming in January – so I’d love to hear your recommendations
I’m building a new platform for parents called The Parentverse and I’m starting with my Sue Atkins in Conversation With …… experts from around the world.
‘The Parentverse’ is a collection of the very best of ‘Sue in Conversation With’…. interviews – with global experts from around the world, covering all aspects of parenting & child development.
I have interviewed Deborah McNelis from the USA who specialises in early brain development, Gill Connell from New Zealand who specialises in the importance of play & Dr. Swati Popat Vats from India about her alternatives to smacking.
I’ve chatted to authors & experts to get the very best advice around handling toddler tantrums, dyslexia, autism, bullying, and even moody teenagers.
I have it all covered in my down to earth, friendly interviews with lots of practical takeaways for busy parents in a pandemic.
Listen without limits & enjoy my Parentverse podcasts on the move – a wide range of topics and highlights available for you to download for free and to share with your friends –whenever you want.
ALL FOR FREE
In the meantime check out my:
- 20 Recommended Black Children’s Books
- Children’s Books That Celebrate Muslim Culture.
- 30 Children’s Books on Indian Culture & Festivals
- Books to help children learn about Jewish culture and antisemitism
9 Best Parenting Gift Ideas This Christmas
Don’t Stew – Ask Sue Parenting Q & A
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