Parent’s Checklist for Christmas Period

  • However busy you are, spending time with your teen must be high on your priority list, at this time of year as at all others.
  • Encourage your teens to make good use of their time once the school term is over.  This might include looking for a holiday job.
  • If a teen isn’t going back to school, show him or her how to draft a CV. Let them write it. Don’t do it for them!
  • You don’t have to micro-manage your teens.  But, it’s always important to know where they are, who they’re with and what time to expect them home.
  • Discuss holiday plans with your teens well in advance of Christmas.  Encourage them to share their thoughts on the subject with you. This will help avoid last minute surprises.
  • Show your teens a list of jobs that need doing around the house in the run-up to Christmas. Ask them to select which jobs they will do and which jobs they think you should do. Sharing responsibility is more likely to be effective  than simply demanding  jobs be done.
  • Ask your teens to assist with organising the family’s Christmas celebrations and/or with preparing part of the Christmas dinner.
  • Praise your teen’s efforts at helping around the home.  Don’t nitpick.  Build them up rather than knock them down.  Positive reinforcement can work wonders.
  • If you pay your teen for work done around the home, do so after the job is done. Do not pay first, on a promise that it will be done later!
  • Most New Zealand families, regardless of religion, like to spend Christmas Day together. If that’s your family’s custom, you have a right to expect your teenager to be there.
  • Your Christmas family gathering may well be the ideal opportunity for reconnecting with your kids after a fraught and busy year.  But it might also be the occasion when simmering resentments boil over.  Be prepared for both eventualities.
  •  Don’t expect buying expensive presents to buy good behaviour. Acknowledging your love for your teen will go much further towards strengthening the bonds between you. A well-worded, hand-written card will mend more bridges than will presents.
  •  If your teen is behaving unacceptably, you might chose to reduce the size of his or her present. If so, be prepared to explain why.
  • You may feel the need for a total rest but you’re still a parent. Use your holidays to explore new activities with your teens. They will learn new skills and your relationship with them will develop new dimensions.
  • If you’re at the end of your tether through unacceptable teen behaviour, give TOUGHLOVE a call (on 0800 868 445).  We have proven strategies for helping families in crisis and can provide guidance and support during the holiday period or at any other time.