The holidays aren’t always happy, especially for teenagers. Dr. Mary Larew , medical director of the University of Iowa Adolescent Health and Resource Center, says when there’s a conflict, family members need to talk about it before it blows up into something bigger. Dr. Larew says “Good communication is always the key to positive relationships.” Parents should start the conversation, she says, beginning with the positives, then zero in on the most concerning issue instead of including the whole “kitchen sink” of negatives. Larew says both parties need to search for common ground. Parents need to try and understand the teen’s desires and vice-versa with some compromise between both side’s expectations. Larew says it’s natural for teens to -not- want to take part in some family events during this time of year. She says deep down, most adolescents -do- want to be connected to their families but they also want to spend time with their friends. Larew says to lower expectations of “universal happiness” and recognize that people struggling with poor moods, depression or anxiety may not feel happy during the holidays. Also, know where your teens are, who their friends are and if events are appropriate for their age. For more information, surf to “www.medicine.uiowa.edu/isciowa” or call the resource center at (319) 384-0847.
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