I absolutely love surprising people with fun things for holidays and special occasions because like most people, I enjoy making my friends and family happy. The problem with surprising teens during the holidays or on special occasions is that they aren’t as trusting as say a 5-year-old that still believes in Santa. Instead, many teens enjoy trying to figure out the surprise before it happens. If this is what happens in your family, read on for tips on how to pull off that surprise and get around your teen.
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- If you are looking for ideas for a surprise, pay attention to things he/she likes. Tune into what his/her friends are asking for and listen to what your teen is saying about things. If you do this, you will usually get a good idea in about a week.
- If the surprise is a gift or other ‘thing’, hide it at your friend’s home. Your teen has had all of your hiding spots scoped out since he/she was eleven. Be sure you can trust your friend not to blab.
- When your teen starts to ask probing questions, quickly find something else to do. Open communication is not necessary here. Make a phone call, leave the room – whatever! Just find a way out of answering. Your teen knows you as well as you know your teen. He/She will know when you are lying. Therefore, the best answer is no answer.
- Do not share the surprise with siblings. They are easily bribed.
- When giving the gift, hide it in plain sight. Do you remember Poe’s Purloined Letter? I’ve done this and it works. Once I placed a Christmas gift on the beds of eight teen girls, each having their own gift. The girls came home from school and I didn’t tell them it was there. Three of the eight found it after going to their rooms, the other five ran back to their rooms after hearing about it from the first three. They had totally missed it but had looked right at it. It was fun to watch.
- Do something to lead up to the day. For instance, a small treat for so many days up to the day of the event with a note about something is coming his/her way. If you do this, be prepared for an onslaught of questions - see step number three.
- Give the surprise at a different time. For example, if the surprise is a meaningful birthday gift, give it the night before so that it’s meaning can be considered rather than glossed over by all of the other gifts.
- While the surprise is fun, it’s the thought behind the gift that matters. So, if it doesn’t work, try not to be displease. You can always try again the next time.
- Warning: Surprises should be enjoyed by the giver and the receiver. If you find that isn’t the case, try something else instead so that there are no hard feelings.
- Do you feel you have open communication with your teen?
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Parenting Quizzes for Parents of Teens