The holidays can be stressful. From unpredictable weather to the art of gift giving, coordinating school events to plotting out travel plans – managing the festivities can turn into quite the balancing act! Coupled with a child going through puberty, some frustrations may come out during the “most wonderful time of the year.” The following are some handy tips on how you can help your kid going through a ‘glow-up’ during the holidays.

Age eight to early teen years is the average timeframe in which adolescents begin the puberty process. This time can be challenging for both the child and parents due to both physical and emotional changes. The good news is that you can be there to support your child through the stress of acne, new hair growth, the desire for independence and the emotional roller coaster they may begin to ride.

  • First and foremost: talk to your kid! It can feel uncomfortable at first for all parties involved, but it’s very important and necessary. If these changes begin and your child doesn’t understand why, it can be scary and confusing. With the extra time off school over the holiday break, there’s a great opportunity for you to plan an outing with your prepubescent child to bring up these topics.

 

  • Your child’s skin might become oilier and acne more prevalent. They may feel self-conscious and embarrassed. After all, those holidays photos might be hanging out on the mantle all year long to be admired by every guest! Buying them a face cleanser and teaching them about nightly skin care before bed can improve clarity of skin. For severe acne, family doctors can recommend alternative treatments. Teaching kids how to properly wash can not only improve skin, but also overall hygiene. This may include talking to them about how washing is no longer a time for play, as bath time can be for younger children.

 

  • Hair will begin growing in new places. Some may want to learn to shave and some may prefer to leave it alone. Razors and shaving cream can make great last-minute stocking stuffers that young teens will appreciate. The most important piece is teaching them how to safely handle, wash and dispose of razors. It is also important for you to educate your child on why they should not share razors with others.

 

  • These changes can lead to your child feeling like they want more independence. During puberty, kids begin to assert themselves and may disagree with you more. This will be most felt by the parent they have been closest to. The shift in attitude can feel especially jarring during the holidays, when gratitude and cheer is supposed to take centerstage.
    • Listening to them is more important than ever, and don’t be surprised if opinions differ.
    • Give independence in stages – not all at once.
    • Allow them to make some decisions on their own but help with walking them through parts of decision making such as weighing pros and cons. You can also include them in some family decisions.
    • Provide guidance and create reasonable boundaries together.

 

  • However, often the biggest challenge can be dealing with a child riding the puberty rollercoaster of emotions. Don’t panic! You can do this, during the holidays and all year long.
    • Remember back to your own teen years to empathize and understand.
    • Sometimes they’ll still feel like a child and other times they want to feel grown up. Just take it one day at a time.
    • Talk to them! The middle of a hormonal outburst may not be the best time to say, “Are your hormones causing you issues?” but during calm times you can make a plan for how to deal with strong emotions.
    • Let them know you’re there for them, but don’t push it if they don’t want to talk.
    • Show them respect; recognize and appreciate their differences and treat them as an individual.

 

Remember: you’ve got this! If you’d like some more pointers, Bridgercare holds Puberty Workshops to help kids and parents through the process. Email Bridgercare’s Education Director, Cami Armijo-Grover, at carmijo@bridgercare.org for more info. Happy Holidays!