Sherri's blogs about the Grinch have caused me to think about all the traditional holiday shows that we watch this time of year. My favorite is "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." As I thought about the show, I was struck at the issues played out and how those issues are the very ones that our teens cope with every day.
Rudolph starts his life by being different - and his difference ( shining red nose) causes his father to feel embarrassed to the point that Rudolph's Dad tries to cover the difference. Rudolph leaves home because he feels he does not fit in with his family or peers. Through his struggles Rudolph develops confidence and finds a way to use his difference in a positive way.
All teens are like Rudolph in that at some time they feel they don't belong or that they are different from their peers. Feeling different is a part of trying to determine who you are - which is one of the main tasks of adolescence. As parents we have to think of how to help our teen with these feelings - and Rudolph's Dad could have handled things differently by not trying to make his teen cover his difference. None of us want our teen to feel he has to leave because he does not fit in with the family. Helping our teen think through how he or she is "different" is a way to help him feel supported.
I encourage you to help your teen talk to you about his differences. Watching Rudolph might be a way to stimulate that conversation.