The summer holidays. Six weeks of fun family time where every day is a new adventure and you all go off happily for endless days of family loveliness. Not always the case when your family includes teenagers. Their idea of a summer holiday is completely different, they have a whole different plan to yours and a very different agenda. I can’t talk about teen girls yet, but I think I am getting there with the male variety. These are a few ways you can guarantee an almost happy teenage boy this summer (well, let’s face it, they are never happy all of the time are they?)
Let them sleep until lunchtime
Let’s face it, you try and get them to bed at a reasonable hour, but I’m usually asleep before I get to that point, so I have no idea what time the teen finally stops communicating with the small people in his phone. The offset it that if you want them to get out of bed before midday, you have no chance.
Keep the WiFi coming
Teen minus WiFi is a creature not even worth contemplating. They can’t survive without it. End of. Even if you go away on holiday, teens have a sixth sense and can sniff out free WiFi a mile off. Although, that can be useful if you don’t want to end the summer with a large data bill.
Keep the kitchen cupboards stocked with food and drink
Holidays seem to make the teen boys even hungrier than ever. How is it that doing less and sleeping more can make them so hungry, where do they put it all?
Don’t involve them in any plans without prior consultation
Those family days out you want to have? Definitely sit the teen down first and discuss it with them. My teen has a much busier social life than mine and I can guarantee that if I make plans including him without talking to him, he will already have plans or simply won’t come as it sounds too boring.
Make sure they are listening
Always, always ensure that any conversations you have with them that they are listening. Check for hidden earphones, get them to look away from their screens and try and get eye contact (yes I realise that is a big ask) and ask them to repeat what you have said. Otherwise, trust me, you will be wasting your breath.
Relax the rules
My teen and almost teen would be happy if I could remove the rules but as it is the summer holidays, I am willing to relax the rules rather than abandon them altogether. But I do relax the normal term time rules regarding Xbox time and bedtimes as it is their holiday and I do want them to enjoy themselves. I do however expect some quality family time every now and then in return.
Accept that you will have to do some things without them
This is the hardest one for me. They are teenagers, with their own friends, their own interests and their own (much busier than mine) social lives. They won’t want to do everything you have planned, so sit them down and discuss what you would like to do and get them to choose a selection. Taking a teenage boy somewhere he doesn’t want to go can be a very unpleasant experience, trust me when I tell you that I have learnt that one the hard way.
Take them on a foreign holiday
The last couple of UK trips as a family have been rather painful thanks to the teen’s unhappiness at being dragged somewhere “boring” against his will. This has impacted on everyone else’s enjoyment, so this summer we decided a trip to somewhere hot and sunny was in order. It would appear that this is far more acceptable as the teen actually thanked me and smiled a lot both before and during the holiday and wants to repeat the experience again next year. He was even heard to mutter the words that he wanted to do things as a family. Result. He can pay next year though.
So there you have, my guide to a stress-free holiday with a teen boy, it seems to be working for me so far but we are only halfway there. What would you add to the list?