5 Reasons to Observe Family Traditions with Your Teen

Get your teen involved in family traditions.
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Family traditions are things that families do together on a regular basis. These things can be patterns of behavior, enjoyable activities or a certain food that a family likes. Family traditions can be as simple as talking about your day over dinner or they can involve more elaborate activities you only observe on holidays.

As your teen grows older, it's likely he'll want to spend less time with family and more time with friends.

And while that's a healthy part of growing up, keeping your teen involved in family traditions is a great way to keep your family close.

And if you create meaningful traditions, your teen will want to continue observing them with his own family someday. Here are five reasons it's important to observe family traditions:

1. Family traditions create lifelong memories. Established rituals are something that your teen will be able to look back and remember from his childhood. Whether you pick apples in the orchard every Fall or you go camping together every summer, the positive emotions stirred up by family fun will be remembered forever. 

2. Family traditions give every member of the family a stronger sense of belonging. Being a part of a family is more than living in the same home or having the same last name. It is about relationships and family bonds. Since family traditions are something you do together, they can strengthen your relationship.

3. Family traditions help your teen with his/her identity. It helps to know that you ‘belong’ when you are trying to figure out who you are, which is a main job of the adolescent. A family that encourages a teen to be a part of it and its traditions provides a strong foundation for teens to stand on when they’re searching and defining their sense of self.

4. Family traditions help parents impart the family’s values to their children. To start, you get more time to model your family values to your teen. Show your teen what is really important to you and practice being a good role model. The traditions you choose will speak volumes about what is most important to you--such as time together as a family. 

5. Family traditions offer your teen a sense a security. Everyday your teen faces some very difficult issues. Knowing that he/she is secure and has a family to turn to is a powerful tool to use against negative peer pressure and the stress of adolescence.

Tips for Creating Family Traditions

You can create new family traditions at any time. Sometimes, families who are going through a divorce or perhaps when two families are blending, there's an opportunity to create new traditions as well.

Anything from a once a month family night to a Saturday morning pancake breakfast can serve as your traditions. If you struggle to think of what you'd like to do, get your teen involved.

Ask what your teen would like to do to help you celebrate being a family.

Sometimes, the simplest traditions are the best. And if you can create traditions that help other people--like baking cookies for a neighbor--you'll get the added benefit from performing acts of kindness. 

If you struggle to keep traditions due to time constraints or because everyone grows bored easily, you can make a flexible tradition. Perhaps once a week one family member gets to pick an activity and you can rotate activities--and perhaps even days and times that you observe it--each week. Do whatever feels comfortable for your family, but make sure you get your teen invested in participating.

Edited by Amy Morin.

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