We all need a break–a nice, long vacation–every now and again. It seems that adults just don’t get that very often. This time of the year, the lucky ones get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, and maybe New Year’s Day. I could go on about the lack of balance in our lives, but I will leave it to the many others working diligently in that area.

However, the annoying lack of vacation time around the holidays becomes truly problematic when our children have, in my case, three weeks off from school. Today (well, tomorrow actually, since I’m writing this really late on Sunday night) is my children’s first official day of Christmas Break.  And I am one of the lucky ones. I work mostly from home, and I work for myself.

There are plenty of parents, however, who are stressing about leaving their children and teenagers home alone for the next two or three weeks. This is hardest as children reach the cusp of adolescence. With 17 and 18 year olds, it’s pretty easy to leave them home alone. (They’ll sleep most of the day anyway.) But what about your almost-teenager? The 12 year old who is too old for a babysitter, but too young to be home alone for 10 hours a day? Or what about the 15 year old with the girlfriend/boyfriend who you don’t trust?

These are times when balance and communication may not come easily.

Nevertheless, balance and communication are truly the only ways to get through these hard situations. Talk about expectations. Talk about trust. Talk about the consequences of lack of trust. And know that it will all work out in the end, one way or another. (Even if it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped for.)

How have your dealt with these situations with your children? How did your parents deal with you when you were a teenager?