Use Christmas 2019 to surprise and encourage your teenager!

At the heart of each of us is the need to be loved, accepted and to belong.

In 2019 giving environment friendly Christmas gifts is important. However, equally important is using Christmas 2019 as opportunity to show how much we love and appreciate our child in a unique way which connects with them and it isn’t about the money.

Unfortunately for my family, “gifts” is not one of my “love languages” and I can’t say that buying Christmas presents as ever been a highlight!  So I started thinking about how could we use Christmas presents to invest in building up and encouraging our children rather than just spending money on a quick fix present which is appreciated in the moment and then forgotten…

My suggestion is a “Christmas Love Box”.

A Christmas Love Box is not about money, it is about thought and time. Each of our children is unique and we often don’t tell them how much we love or appreciate them, particularly as they get older when sometimes we may not even like them at times.

The research on building positive family relationships focuses on how we should be more encouraging than negative, nagging, criticising, reminding, shouting etc. Being encouraging can be difficult, particularly through adolescence and often our children do everything they can to undermine our relationship with them.

Therefore, this Christmas is your opportunity to tip the Christmas present scales in your favour and hopefully open a door to building a more positive relationship with your child in 2020.

So, what is a Christmas Love Box:

  1. Get a box – you can either buy a ready-made box or use a shoebox and cover it.
  2. Spend time thinking about each child, list what they mean to you, what their interests are, what you appreciate about them, how they receive encouragement.
  3. Write a letter/card to them summarising the above.
  4. Write a list of small gifts that really mean something to them e.g. special chocolate/sweets, can of their favourite drink, unique pair of socks, notebook + pen, voucher, stationery, tickets to the cinema, 1-2-1 special day with you, gloves, moisturiser, hair gel, photos of you together + family photos, charger cables, headphones, torch, hat/beanie, special pain, aftershave/deodorant/perfume, shower gel, soap etc. Most of these don’t have to cost a fortune – it isn’t about the amount you spend it is about the thought you put into it.
  5. You can wrap up each present or not – your choice and then put them in the box, wrap it up with your card/letter and wait for Christmas Day.
  6. You could also do this for any significant others e.g. your parents, partner, best friend etc.
  7. Surprise them on Christmas Day

Here are some ideas for your letter/card:

NOTE: Final tip, please make sure that all your words/comments are authentic and genuine – children see through tokenistic comments/disingenuous words of appreciation etc. Try to focus on how hard they worked, their approach, perseverance etc. rather than simply listing achievements as this will help them develop a Growth Mindset.

Dear…

I have put this Christmas Love Box together for you because I/we just wanted to do something a little different this Christmas to show how much I/we love and appreciate you.

I/we know that life has been challenging at times, however, I/we are proud of how you have coped/managed etc.

I/we love seeing how you… (Help your sister… Play football with… Help around the house…)

I/we appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness to…

I/we enjoy your positive outlook and life and appreciate your enthusiasm for…

I/we know how hard it is been for you to…

I/we enjoy seeing you grow and develop into the person we always knew you could be…

I/we see the potential within you and appreciate how you have worked to…

I/we were proud when you achieved… However, we were more proud of how hard you worked and how determined you were to…

I/we know how you struggled with… But are proud of how you coped/persevered etc.…

I/we would like to say thank you for being you for your…

I/we enjoy spending time with you – think about what you might like to doing 2020 as a family

I/we would like to have a regular (activity) – think about what you might like to do together and we will book some dates in

We hope you have a great 2020!

Happy Christmas everyone and let me know how you get on!

About Ruth James

I am a mum with 3 daughters who runs workshops for parents of teenagers. In 2019 I launched the Taunton Parenting Cafe and will be developing new and innovative workshops to support and encourage parents of children from 9yrs+
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