A Better Relationship for Valentine’s Day

A Better Relationship for Valentine’s Day

What Not To Give To Your Troubled Teen This Christmas

Vicki Alexander

Is your teen in counseling due to their participation violent, risky, or dangerous behavior? If so, choosing Christmas gifts for them can be a bit tougher than normal. You want to give you teen a great Christmas, but you don't want to buy them a present that is going to contribute in any way to their negative behavior, or one that might worsen whatever emotions are fueling that behavior. If you're dealing with a troubled teen who is currently in counseling, here are 4 Christmas gifts you should avoid giving them, as well as some smart-choice alternatives. 

Violent Video Games

When a team of researchers from Iowa State University conducted a study on how violent video games affect child and teen behavior, they found a definite correlation. A large pool of American and Japanese students were divided into 3 different age range groups (12-15, 13-18, and 9-12), and their level of physical aggression vs. amount of time spent playing violent video games were assessed. In every single group, the longer students played violent video games, the more physically aggressive they became. Why? Simply put, video games are stressful

If you've got a troubled teen, avoid sticking any video games labeled "M" for mature in their stocking this year; it could make them act out more. Instead, opt for a family-friendly video game that relieves stress by encouraging plenty of body movement. You can find "exergames" for all interests including dancing, skateboarding, golf, soccer, and martial arts.

A Hunting Rifle

If you're in one of the 30 states that allow teenagers to legally own guns, you might think it's a good idea to combat your teen's dangerous and/or risky behavior by sticking a rifle under the tree and planning a hunting trip. While embracing the wilderness is great for a troubled teen, the fact that your child is in counseling means that they're facing an internal struggle, and struggling teens are at greater risk of suicide when they have access to a firearm. 

Do get your child involved in an outdoor activity, but don't let it involve a dangerous weapon until they're in a better place emotionally. Instead, sign them up for a non-profit wilderness therapy course. There are plenty of these courses available at outdoor locations across the country; many even have scholarship programs to assist families with low budgets. Look for a program that specializes in catering to trouble teens, and make it a bonding experience by finding one that encourages parental participation.

A Pet

If your troubled teen is aggressive or abusive, there is a chance that their behavior could escalate to animal cruelty. Until you've gotten to the root of your troubled teen's behavior, they shouldn't have unlimited access to an animal of any sort. 

Instead, give your teen the opportunity to share somebody else's pet through a pet-share program, and print out a certificate with all the details to place in their stocking. Make sure to only schedule your teen's time with the pet when you'll be available to supervise the visit. Spending some time with a dog or cat could be great therapy for your troubled teen, but you don't want to make a long-term commitment until you can witness first-hand the level of compassion with which your teen responds to a pet.


It's no secret that some rebellious teens will do anything they can to get their hands on drugs and/or alcohol. If your teen is engaging in either of these things, providing them with pocket money in the form of cash will make the task of scoring their fix that much easier. 

Instead of putting bills in their Christmas card this year, get them gift cards to their favorite places to shop. They still get the perks of selecting their own gifts, but you won't have to worry that they money is being used to fund harmful activities. Keep in mind, though, that your teen could sell their gift cards if given the opportunity, so it might be a good idea to visit the store with them so you can actually see the funds being spent.

If you have a teenager that is exhibiting aggressive, dangerous, and/or risky behavior, you need to be careful when selecting their Christmas gifts. Use the above list as general guidelines, and ask your teen's therapist or counselor, such as those at Albano Fischetti Counseling, if there are any other gifts that may trigger negative emotions or fuel negative behavior in your troubled teen.


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A Better Relationship for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. My husband and I always shower each other with gifts and affection at this time. But, for some couples, this special day is another sad reminder of their unhappy relationships. If you and your spouse have hit a rough patch in your marriage recently, why not take Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to invest in your relationship? You can accomplish this task by visiting a local reputable marriage counselor. This professional can work with the two of you on communication skills, division of household chores, issues of forgiveness, and many other problems. On this blog, you will discover how to utilize a counselor this Valentine’s Day.