So, are you all out running around trying to buy everything on your teen's holiday gift list? There is nothing like fulfilling your kid's wish list, and readying yourself for that hug, and smile and real live thank you. Finally! But remember that hug and I love you lasts about a minute, and you will be left dealing with the consequences of this dream come true. If it's expensive clothes, sneakers, boots, coats, or other apparel, they will not have magically learned to "take care of their things." If you have given in to the smart phone movement, do not expect them to want to put it away to enjoy your holiday dinner, or shut it off so they can get to sleep before 3 AM so as to take advantage of every amenity of their phone, or not get distracted by it when school resumes, or even lose it by the end of the vacation. If you caved and bought the newest Call Of Duty, or other addictive video game, expect that you will find them in their pajamas, unwashed over the next 7 days, eyes glazed over after a week of 12 hours a day of gaming. Catch my drift.
It's all about the expectations. Your teen may have promised anything just to get this beloved and treasured new whatever. But have you learned nothing after getting the family dog when they were 8 after you extracted "the promise," that "I will walk her every day and feed her, and clean up after her, so please please please can we have a dog? And now here you are 5 years later, up at 6 AM walking the damn dog that you never wanted, but has now become your most trusted pal.
So whatever you choose to buy your teen, think it through. Think it past the moment of opening euphoria and into the near future. Because once the deed is done, and you find yourself a month from now at one of my seminars apoplectic because your teen is so distracted, addicted or you are just pissed at their lack of appreciation for the money you blew on their gift, you will have no one to blame but yourself. Don't get me wrong, there is not one ounce of scrooge in me. I love giving gifts, and I love seeing the people I love happy, but gift giving to teens is more complicated, and requires a thinking through process. And just like we say to them all the time: "What were you thinking" when they do something on the silly or stupid continuum, you maybe turning that around on yourself. So choose with love, but choose carefully, The holiday only lasts a day, but it is the first day of the rest of your life!