SERVING CALIFORNIA TEENS & FAMILIES     |    

FIND US ON FACEBOOK

COUNSELING FOR TEENS     |    

(949) 394-0607

Having a Family Fun Holiday Season

Quality family time is hard to come by during the holidays. Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Quality family time is hard to come by during the holidays.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s the time of year when we all talk about spending time with family.  While we do spend time with family on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, we spend a lot of the other days around this time of year being very busy.  There are parties to attend, presents to buy, things to bake, and errands to run.  It feels like a flurry trying to decorate, get a tree, participate in the church play, and the other million things you might have on the list for November and December.

 

Before you even realize what has happened, the holiday season really isn’t time with family at all.

 

This year can be different.  If you choose to, you can make it a great time of connection for you and your teenagers.  Here are 5 tips on how to involve them.

 

1.  Include them in your shopping.  While I realize they can’t come with you while you shop for their gift, they can certainly help you think of what to get everyone.  They can then sit with you while you order it online, or go with you from store to store.

 

2.  Make baking a family affair.  Teens (especially teen girls) love to bake.  They will actually have some fun if you make cookies together.  Let them put on some music they like, and have a good afternoon together.

 

3.  Don’t be afraid to say no.  It’s truly fine to have limits around how you spend your time this holiday season.  You don’t have to buy everyone a gift or decorate perfectly.  Connecting with family and remembering to focus on your faith for the next 6 weeks is paramount.

 

4.  Teach your children why Christmas really exists.  We’ve made it all about shopping and giving.  It is really nice to give presents.  However, it also is a religious holiday.  I know it can be hard to remember that based on what is shown on TV, where they will say things like, “Christmas is all about family,” or “Christmas is all about giving.”  That is not the basis of Christmas and you have a chance to teach them this year that it is about the birth of Christ.

 

5.  Prioritize some special family time.  Perhaps plan a day to just stay home together, or go up to the mountains together.  Pick a few days out of this busy season to just be “not busy” with your family.  A lot of times you get resistance from your teens when you do this, but they secretly like it.  Trust me, I know because I hear it in my office weekly.

 

Have a safe, love-filled, enjoyable holiday season.  It’s my hope that you get in some quality time with your teenager- for the most part they love getting positive attention from you!

 

Helping families grow and teens improve connection,

Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

OCD: Intrusive Thought or Realistic Thought?

I once had an OCD client who had a teacher yell at her. She became fearful of this teacher and started having obsessive thoughts he would pull her out of class to threaten or scold her. Because he had yelled at her once, her obsession was based on a good-sized kernel of truth. However, as often happens to people suffering with OCD, the obsession was a gross exaggeration of the realistic risk. She struggled immensely with discerning what was realistic and what was intrusive. How does one begin to tell the difference?

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

Starting School During a Pandemic

It’s confusing. Life is not making sense the way it normally does because none of us knows what’s coming. We have no idea when things will return to normal, or if the normal we’re used to will even exist again. Here’s a 1 minute video of how to cope with the uncertainty.

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

Thank You Teenagers

Sometimes you teach me. You have been incredible throughout quarantine. Teenagers, you’ve been honest with your disappointment, loneliness and sadness, but you’ve also been amazingly resilient. Every one of you I’ve seen in therapy in the last two months have expressed reasons you’re thankful. You’ve all been thoughtful and you have all tolerated this with less complaining than the adults I know!

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

COVID-19: Don’t Languish or Be Anxious

“I can’t stand this anymore! I’m bored and I’m anxious. When will it end?” One of my clients was lamenting to me yesterday about living through this COVID-19 crisis. His feelings pretty much sum up all our sentiments. Because we all wish for a sense of control, and some of us are languishing on our couches without routine, here’s a quick video that might help a little.

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT