If your teenager has a difficult time interacting with family members at Thanksgiving, here are some tips to ease that awkwardness.
Thanksgiving season is without a doubt one of the most pleasurable times of the year. Whether it be the break from school aspect, the getting-together-with-family aspect, or the actual dinner itself, there’s something in it for everyone. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t downsides, especially if you’re a teenager.
As it turns out, we teenagers often don’t have the easiest time when thrown into situations where we’re uncomfortable. Although family is family, seeing people we haven’t seen in a long time (especially when we’re expected to be able to hold conversation with them) can be downright tricky. However, with the proper expectations set and a few given prompts, your teenager can be steered in the right direction and improve their entire Thanksgiving experience. If your teenager doesn’t suffer from these issues, have them go ahead and skip to the final paragraph.
Tip 1: Preparatory Sleuthing. Know what you’re getting yourself into. Ask your parents what and who you should expect. If you or your family is expecting anyone to be in attendance with whom you are relatively unfamiliar, or have never truly built a relationship with, ask your parents for a brief backstory on them. This way, when you’re encountered by said persons, you can have some sort of information to pull questions from for conversation starters.
Tip 2: Conversation. If you’re dreading the idea of having to go through the various stages of familial interrogation: first, feel better knowing that your dread is justified. Having to deal with answering the same basic questions over and over and over again by alternating family members is something we teenagers must deal with at any family function, but it’s exceedingly more prominent on Thanksgiving. It’s easy to let this prospect drown you, but don’t let it. Remember: adults are often just as awkward as we are. It’s inevitable for them to ask questions such as “so, have you started driving yet?” or “what are your plans for college?” or the most dreadful of them all, “what do you plan on doing with your life?” They ask these questions because they’re questions that they know will begin some sort of discussion. It’s their sincere way of attempting to strike up a conversation with their family. If you find it overwhelming, refer to the next step.
Tip 3: Relating. Conversation is hard, but finding a way to actually relate through conversation is the real difficulty. It’s easy to talk about yourself, or listen to someone else talk about themselves. It’s an entirely different endeavor to be able to get something out of it. What’s the key? Be sincere and pay attention. When you’re answering a question, be creative and include the motives behind the answers you’re giving. Ask your relatives why and how they decided on being who they are today, and listen. Take what they tell you and turn it into something that will be beneficial for you.
All in all, Thanksgiving is a time where you have the opportunity to relate with those you may not often get to see and create new relationships or strengthen old ones, all while having some amazing food. In fact, if all else fails, talk about the food, the awsomeness of which is something everyone can agree on. M