The Gift Guide: For Teenagers
During a season that’s rushed and full of consumerism and stress, it’s easy to forget to slow down and focus on what’s important. The holidays can slip by without anything meaningful taking place. We can get wrapped up in the wrapping, shopping, and decorating and not take intentional time to focus on family.
When you Google “teens and Christmas”, you’ll find lists of gifts to buy your teenager so that they’ll have a memorable Christmas. These lists consist of expensive tech gifts, beauty products, and brand name clothing. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they’d love all that. However, what is the best gift you could give your teen this year?
Time. Relevant Conversations. Engagement in Their World.
There is nothing wrong with traditions, giving gifts, and going through the Christmas motions. However, take the time this year, if you haven’t already, to be intentional about your traditions. Gift-giving presents an amazing opportunity to teach character to your teenagers. Parents can help children and teens realize the internal rewards of giving by teaching them how to give back during the holidays and throughout the year.
Gift-giving is really important. The gifts themselves don’t have to be fancy, expensive, or plentiful; the act of giving has many rewards. Gift-giving builds empathy. Gift-giving shows others you care. Gift-giving is an act of kindness. Gift-giving increases well-being.
Set a time to talk together as a family about your gift-giving values and how to put them into action. Families are often so busy during the holidays that it’s easy to go through the motions of gift-gifting without connecting to the deeper meaning of giving. Yet these deep connections can shape their identities and teach them the gift of giving. By practicing your gift-giving values you are modeling a valuable behavior for them, giving them your time and having relevant conversations.
There is an alarming disconnect between teenagers and adults today because of the stark difference between what parents experienced in high school and the world their teens are experiencing now. Teens are craving understanding from you and other adults. They want you to see them for who they are and the recognize the struggles they face today. This is why it is so important, for adults, to engage with teens in their world.
Engaging in their world means to become a culturally savvy parent. It means to understand how social media works. We have some great posts on two of the biggest social media platforms out there, Snapchat and Instagram. The first step in changing a culture is to understand the culture. This understanding will help you switch from the unhealthy "us vs. them" mentality and join your teen in building a strong culture.
This season is a great time to initiate some very meaningful moments and create lasting memories with your teens. Don’t be discouraged if your teenager brushes you off or seems like they just don’t care. As the adult, pursue them. Don’t give up on them, or they may just give up on themselves. Give them gifts that will last forever - Time. Relevant Conversations. Engagement in Their World. These meaningful gifts express more than you know to your teen.