We’ve just come back from our hols in Spain and we all had brilliant time so here are some of my top tips for enjoying not surviving your Summer Hols with your teenage kids.
1. Daydream and visualise it going well.
Spend just 5 minutes a day, last thing at night, focusing on the holiday going really well. See what you are doing, what your parents are doing, and notice their smiling faces, their laughter and the feelings of relaxation and pleasure you are all feeling in this daydream. Imagine I have waved a magic wand and all your family’s dreams have come true – what would you see, hear and feel and just enjoy these lovely pictures in your head each night.
This gets your unconscious to help you find solutions that will come to you as you sleep and as you dream as if by magic. So jot your ideas down when you wake up.
2. Include your teenager in the planning
If there is one thing most teenagers really enjoy, it is giving you their opinion! So use this great opportunity to ask your teenager for some ideas of what they think would be enjoyable to do on your holiday, where they would like to go and why, and even if you decide where your family is going, ask them what they would like to do some of the time. It is after all their holiday too and a happy teen is a pleasure to have around!
3. Create some “me” time for yourself and your partner
Ironic as it may sound, holidays can be exhausting, especially for parents. Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, exhaustion can set in from trying to accomplish too much in such a short amount of time. Make sure you take some time out from the kids to relax yourself because if you are relaxed the whole family is relaxed.
4. Create some “our time” for you and your teen.
Even if you are going on holiday with friends or your extended family, make it a point to spend time 1-2-1 with your teenager. You don’t have to spend lots of money or climb Kilimanjaro but having a chat over breakfast or going for a stroll through a market looking for earrings can be magical and special and can build bridges not walls.
5. Allow your teenager to have time alone
Today’s teenagers live busy, hectic lives full of studying, clubs, and activities so respect the fact that they too may need some time alone to relax, chill out and listen to their ipod.
6. Avoid too many expectations on your holiday
Many parents unintentionally place expectations on their teenagers and family that are rather idealised , harping back to the “good old days “ when the kids where happy with just a bucket and spade and an ice cream. Don’t try to over control the holiday as this can lead to disappointment and resentment when your expectations are not met. Just relax, take it as it comes, without too many “rules” or expectations and go with the flow.
7. Agree to put all old conflicts and arguments aside for the time of your holiday
If there is a major conflict between you and your teenager, then agree to put the matter aside until after your holiday and genuinely mean it and stick to it. Don’t get drawn in to old arguments or remarks. Stay grounded, centred and focused on everyone having a good time. No one wants a holiday filled with tension and conflict. You’ll probably find you have moved forward by being on holiday together naturally anyway.
8. When conflict arises between you and your teenager, talk about it.
No doubt there will moments of frustration between you and your teenager. It is unrealistic to expect otherwise but as a parent, make it a point to pick your battles. Don’t pick up on every single thing they do wrong or that annoys you. You will be damaging your relationship.
One simple question is to constantly ask yourself is:
“Is this going to bring me closer to or further away from the relationship I want with my teenager long term?” It helps you keep a bigger perspective.
9 Take lots of pictures!
They will mean so much when they’re gone!
10. Play “Around the Table Games.” I discovered these brilliant conversation games only recently but they are so simple to carry round, they get you chatting, laughing and learning more about each other and are great fun. Check out => http://www.aroundthetablegames
How to give your kids the gift of self-esteem by clicking here
About the author
Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert who offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children. She is also the author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the famous black and yellow series published worldwide and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and her parenting articles are published all over the world.
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Sue Atkins the Parenting Expert
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