Teenagers and Holidays - Not Always an Easy Mix!
Teenagers are adults-in-training. They crave independence, but they still require guidelines. Vacation planning can be a daunting task for any parent of adolescents.
Make your job easier - involve your teenagers in the planning process. Arrange a family brainstorming session and decide on a holiday that everyone will enjoy.
A vacation plan should take into consideration each teen's likes and dislikes. A teenager who participates in science fairs may enjoy touring scientific exhibits. A history buff will enjoy museums. A budding musician might like a tour of Graceland. Ask for specific feedback. Teenagers sway from requiring guidelines and curfews to believing that they know everything - and insisting on doing everything their own way.
Here is a partial list of activities that you might want to use as a springboard for your initial vacation-brainstorming session:
* Laser tag
* Paint ball
* Amusement parks
* Theme parks
* Skateboard parks
* Adventure tours
* Dude ranch vacations
* All-inclusive family resorts
* Horseback riding
* Mountain biking
* Whitewater rafting
* Hot air ballooning
* Scuba experience
* Water skiing
* Jet skiing
* Factory tours
* Farm vacations
* Mountaineering and hiking
Family cruises are frequently cost-effective. Everything is included - and parents can relax knowing that their teens are involved in nearby activities. Some cruiselines even sponsor special youth clubs. Recreational opportunities may include arcades, bungee trampolines, and outdoor movie theaters. Your teens can associate with other teens and participate in the family vacation - while retaining a degree of independence and freedom. Try to locate a cruiseline that provides walkie-talkies so that you can keep in touch.
If you decide on a land-based holiday, give your teenager(s) a feeling of autonomy, space, and privacy: consider reserving adjoining hotel rooms instead of a family suite. Don't get frustrated if your teens want to sleep in! Instead, make use of the time to go shopping, swimming, or for a walking tour of the neighborhood.
Most teens nowadays are very internet savvy. Don't isolate them from their friends. Allow them to remain in contact via cyber cafes, hotel guest-computer systems, or laptop computers. If they must leave the hotel to access a computer at a cyber cafe, insist on a buddy system. Teenagers should never venture out alone.
Not the hotel-room type? Family camps are like traditional summer camps for kids - but they have activities for the entire family. Some operate all summer. Others provide functions on selected weekends throughout the year.
Some teens will feel more comfortable if they are permitted to invite a friend. Of course, there will be budgetary concerns involved with such a holiday. Invite the other teen's parents to pay for their teen's expenses.
Older teens who insist on a vacation by themselves might enjoy a backpacking/biking escape - travelling with a friend and staying at hostels along the way. Hostelling is very popular in Europe, and what better way is there to experience a country than by bicycling through its countryside? Another activity an older teen might enjoy is a language immersion program abroad.
When the vacation has finally been arranged, the rooms have been reserved, and you are ready to pack, prepare a list of necessary clothing and accessories - but let your teens pack their own suitcases.
Utilize your vacation as a time to reconnect with your teenagers - both during the planning phase and the actual vacation itself.
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