Understanding teens can be difficult, especially when you are planning a vacation.
Your teen will likely want to stay home rather than vacation with the family, and even if you are lucky enough to have a mature teen who enjoys spending time with you, he or she will still likely be moody, easily embarrassed, and uncooperative at times.
Do not worry - you are not doing anything wrong as a parent! Vacationing with your teen might be difficult, but in the end, the effort is worth the lasting memories you will make together. That said, you do not want to spend the whole time fighting. Here are five tips for planning and enjoying a peaceful family vacation together:
Tip #1: Cater to your teen's interests
One of the hardest parts of planning a vacation if you have children of all ages is finding activities that everyone can enjoy. On one hand, you have to make sure that your younger children are not bored and throwing temper tantrums. On the other hand, if you want to avoid arguments, it is important to cater to your teen's interests. Luckily, there are often a number of activities on any vacation that allow children and adults alike to have fun. More specifically, though, do not just find teen-friendly activities. Look for places you can go that specifically will interest your teen. For example, if your son likes music, stop by a vintage record shop or a store with music memorabilia. If your daughter likes water sports, arrange for some jet skiing or sailing. Even if your teen pretends to look apathetic, when you arrange for interesting activities, he or she will have fun.
Tip #2: Respect your teen's space and give him or her some alone time
On a vacation, it can be a challenge to coexist in such close proximity to everyone else in your family. Teens especially need space, and on vacation, they usually do not get much privacy. Consider the ways in which you can give your teen a little time alone without ruining the vacation for everyone else. One idea is to allow your teen to stay in an adjoining hotel room (with the door open) or his/her own tent if you are camping. You can also consider inviting one of your teen's friends on the vacation with your family. That way, they can do some activities on their own, but still make use of the buddy system for safety's sake.
Tip #3: Get your teen involved with the planning
Although some teens will not be interested in the least, many young adults will be much more willing to cooperate if they get to make some of the vacationing decisions. You might be surprised at the activities your teen really wants to do versus what you would have planned. Maybe your teen really wants to go to the zoo, or maybe your teen would rather spend some time at an amusement park. Be ready to be surprised! Of course, you may not be able to allow your teen complete vacation planning freedom, but it is a good way to get him or her on board. As a bonus, this helps teens learn about budgeting and travel preparations.
Tip #4: Give your teen choices
Beyond planning, try to give you teen choices on a daily basis while you are on vacation. Saying, "what do you want to do," can be dangerous, as your teen may want to do activities that younger children in your family cannot enjoy (or even worse, their answer may be "nothing!"). So, instead, come up with two choices and let your teen decide between them (ex. "would you rather go shopping or spend time on the beach"). Teens like to know that their opinion is valued - and they are more likely to enjoy themselves when they have had a hand in the decision-making.
Tip #5: Choose your battles
Lastly, choose your battles. Remember, you are on vacation. Instead of fighting about everything, try to relax a little and only argue about the things that are really important, like the skimpy bathing suit your daughter wants to wear, rather than the things that are insignificant, like the fact that he or she brought a cell phone to text friends while on vacation. If there is a major problem, sometimes it is best to suggest that you both calm down and deal with the situation when the vacation is over. There is no sense in ruining a fun day for the entire family because of a dispute between you and your teen.
In general, you may not be able to stop every disagreement from happening, but you can lessen the blows a bit by following the above five tips. No matter where you live or where you are traveling on vacation, some teens will always be challenging, but that does not mean that you should skip a potentially fun and relaxing family vacation.
You are not doing anything wrong as a parent! Vacationing with your teen might be difficult, but in the end, the effort is worth the lasting memories you will make together. you have to make sure that your younger children are not bored and throwing temper tantrums. Teens especially need space, and on vacation, they usually do not get much privacy. You might be surprised at the activities your teen really wants to do versus what you would have planned.
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