Camping, Or Any Other Family Vacation With Teenagers!
Does this sound like the title to a scary movie?
It shouldn’t. Taking a vacation with the kids can be an amazing bonding experience. Even just a weekend trip to the lake can bring you closer and give you a real opportunity to make an impact on them. However, this is one of those times you might have to give in and let them do things on their terms.
I am in no way a child phycologist, do not pretend to even be good at parenting ( we let our 10 year old basically roam free at the lake, or beach ) and you should not take any of my parenting advice. But I’m very good at enjoying life! This article is about the later.
As adults we know the value of time, especially free time! When we finally get a vacation there is a need to cram as much fun into it as possible. Wake up early, schedule every minute of the days with fun and exciting activities. Never waste a vacation.
And this is the problem
We spend all of this time planning and scheduling everything, then the freakin kids won’t wake up in time to see the sun come up over the water. WTF! So you resort to yelling at them to get up. Maybe force them out of bed. She against her will, comes out, takes a selfie with the sunrise and goes to the couch to play on that stupid phone. Why did you even let them bring electronics? You are so annoyed that the rest of the day is shot. Everything you want to do is a battle of you against the kids. Your attitude is lost and going home is starting to sound like a good idea.
Does it have to be like this
So what if you tried doing the opposite? What if you made your family vacation about all of your family? Do you ever stop to think that what is fun and important to you might not be so fun and important to a 14 year old? We know that teens need a lot more sleep than adults, they work a lot harder than you will ever give them credit for, and possibly could use a few days of sleeping in and naps. Catching up with friends on social, showing the world the selfie they just took with their family and the sunrise.
Lets try something a little different. Before you go to bed say ” Want to get up to see the sunrise with us? You can go right back to bed after.” If they do cool, wake them up, if not, cool enjoy your peaceful morning.If they do get up with you it is a great chance to slip in a life lesson, like “wow isn’t this an amazing world we get to live in.”
Now go on with your day. If your son doesn’t want to go fishing with you, go by yourself. Show him some pictures later, or just some stories. What do you think will be a more impactful conversation with a 16 year old, “If you don’t get off that computer and come fishing I will throw it in the water!” Or “what a great day I had out fishing, didn’t even get a bite but it was so peaceful and refreshing”
Our goal as parents is to raise good adults, not so much good kids. When we punish argue and force them to do something it is going to create a long term impact. When we show them how happy and excited we are, that will make an impact as well. How do you want your trips to be remembered by them?