Teenagers go through puberty and think they know everything. They don’t realize they’re just on the cusp of knowledge, that they know less than nothing, and by thirty they’ll realize they know nothing, and finally be ready to truly figure out what life is all about.
This is all well and good to think about from a distance, but if you’re the parent of a teenager, their appalling lack of knowledge and respect mingles into a cornucopia of irritation requiring every bit of your life experience to handle even in small part. Of course your teens also are amazing kids, they remind you of yourself, and you want to spend time with them, even if and when they’re trying to shut you out.
When you travel, you want your teenagers with you for many reasons. With Spreak Break season upon us, the following are a few tips to make family travel less painful.
Remember who is boss
Teenagers are big and sassy, but they still mentally think of themselves like the pup they were. Some teenagers, anyway. Others are too busy making a pretense of adulthood. But who is paying their phone bill? Who is giving them food? Who makes the Internet available? You’re their lifeline, and they have no clue how hard it is to maintain such a lifeline in the real world.
When you’re traveling, they may want to control the radio, force you to stop when you shouldn’t, and fight with their siblings. You need to sit down with your teens and explain their position and yours. Think about the things you pulled on trips, and how you could have been stymied.
Next, prove you mean it. Cutting off that phone can be the perfect measure. Now granted, you don’t want to have to do this if you can avoid it; but cutting that bond to the web will separate teens from their friends—and, most significantly, whatever crush they’re exchanging texts with presently. Keeping such lines of communication open represents prime incentive for obedience.
If your teens don’t have smartphones yet—which is actually very good parenting, in the opinion of many—then you can’t use this tactic. But if you’re bringing a teenager to adulthood without a smartphone in this tech saturated age, you’ve probably got a few techniques of your own that are already more effective than any general advice column!
Take a strategic approach
Something else you might want to do is reduce time spent in close quarters with your antsy teen. You can save a lot of trouble in terms of travel issues just by taking a flight; but that can be costly. Still, finding good flight deals can be easy as well; you’ve just have to make sure you look in the right places.
If you have a responsible enough teenager, you might send them ahead of you on their own to save money in terms of travel expenses. Some teens will jump at this idea, and seek to prove just how responsible they are to you. This is a risky choice, but it can be a good parenting decision—depending on the teen, the travel, and their personality.
Give your teen responsibility
Traveling with your teen can also be a lot of fun. This is an age when they’re looking to discover new things, and be seen as an adult. Primarily, they’re looking for recognition. Consider making them your navigator, or giving them something to be in charge of such as picking the family’s eating places. This can make the trip enjoyable for everyone.
Don’t forget to have fun
Remember, a family vacation is great bonding time. Ignore the moodiness or the attention your teenager pays to his or her smartphone. Distract your teen with new adventures and enjoy the time you can spend together!
Guest blogger Stephanie Bates contributed this helpful post. She is author of MilitaryTravelMama.com, a blog that promotes a family life full of adventures, but on a modest budget. Follow Stephanie on her social platforms:Facebook I Twitter I Instagram