How to Get Your Teens to Accept and Enjoy Family Holidays

Up until their teenage years, children tend to accept fatalistically that holidays are something that adults plan and visit upon you. For many, family holidays are a special treat, as they are often the only time they get to spend an extended period in both parents’ company. Holidays are usually equally important to you, in offering the opportunity to enjoy your family without the interruptions of work or school, and the strains that these can impose on you all. In the absence of stressful routine, families are often able to relax and appreciate each other as they cannot do for the rest of the year.

However, as adolescence progresses, young people begin to realize that leisure time off school, college or work is something they can anticipate and organize for themselves. Their increasing explorations in friendships and pursuits mean that they want or need to spend time with people other than their families. Young people live on a very short time scale. To you, an interfusion of a few weeks during summer may be trivial – you can return to take up any loose ends in your social life and resume as before. A teenager may well find a particular person or group has moved on beyond their reach, or a special and important event has taken place without them, and find this devastating. It is no use your saying that if a friendship is that fragile it isn’t worthwhile – to a young person; ‘length of service’ is not the standard by which they measure. A friend or interest can be vitally important at the time, even if your teenager then goes on to lose interest after a few months.

Teens enjoy family holidays

For this reason, teenagers may suddenly become argumentative about your holiday plans, and sullen and sulky during the time you are away. If they do ask permission to go on a separate holiday with friends or to bring a friend along, you may be tempted to refuse, insisting that the family stays together. Carrying an unhappy teenager under duress on holiday is like having a parcel full of rotten fish – not ignored easily, and difficult to transform into pleasant company. So, now may be the time to examine your attitudes to family holidays, holidays themselves and the basis of any fears you might have about your sons or daughters going their separate ways.

Our insistence on sticking together can often, and dangerously, is due to an idealized image of the joys of the family holiday. We are very good at editing our memories, keeping the beautiful, peaceful and enjoyable recollections and conveniently forgetting the arguments, the moments of boredom and the frustrations. We recall holidays with our own parents, and with our children when younger, in this distorted fashion. They may well have been glorious, but repeating an earlier experience can often fail, particularly when the participants and the surroundings have developed and moved on. Even if your early memories mere accurate, you could be in for a disappointment if you insist on attempting to recreate them. If they were not, you might be in for a disaster. Different times form different tastes, and your teenager may well have developed specific interests at an earlier age than you did, and want to use their leisure time to explore these.

Filed Under: Family & Relationships


About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.