You’ve been eagerly awaiting your summer vacation as a much-needed escape from the daily grind and exhausting routine of school, homework, sports, driving, cleaning, etc., …
...hold on a second!
Your teenager seems less than thrilled about the family getaway, preferring to laze around, hang out with friends, and bury their face in their phone or gaming console. Anything but spending more time with annoying siblings and boring parents!
It’s enough to make you want to give them a good smack upside the head for their ungrateful attitude and refusal to be a decent travel companion on a trip they didn’t have to plan and pay for.
You entitled, self-centred...
With just a few summers left before they fly the nest, you’re determined to make the most of this family time, creating life-long memories your teens share with their children. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get one photo to share on social that doesn’t look like the great unravelling or show the stress behind your smile.
Take a deep breath, I’ve got you covered!
So many parents ask me how to navigate their resentment of their teen’s resistance to something that feels so important, yet they don’t value or care about. Letting go of your expectations that your teen wants what you want is the first step. They aren’t a child anymore and they’re supposed to be individuating and differentiating from you as part of their adolescent brain development.
That’s a hard pill to swallow so give yourself space to feel and grieve. I’ve also put together 6 of my top tips to making the most of your summer vacation with your teen so you BOTH enjoy your time and create memories without having to slap on a smile and fake your way through it.
1) The "Cell Phone Dilemma": Navigating the Digital Age
You didn’t grow up with a cell phone permanently attached to your hand, so it’s no wonder you’re tempted to take the charger or throw theirs under the next passing bus. But let’s face it, teens today are products of the digital era where being glued to screens is the norm, albeit not healthy.
While it may be frustrating, be patient and reasonable in your requests. Instead of constantly nagging them to put their devices down, find a balance that allows them to enjoy their digital world and connecting with friends, while also engaging in family activities.
2) Connection Time: Listen Up!
Remember when your teenager was younger and loved sharing every little detail of their day with you? Well, those days are in the rearview mirror. Teenagers feel like they’re being talked at instead of genuinely heard so they find solace in conversations with their friends who understand their trials and tribulations.
Rather than grilling your teen to share their experience or favorite parts of your vacay, embrace the reality that your teen won’t be as eager to reminisce as you are. Ask a few open-ended questions and don’t take it personally if you get one-word answers.
3) Finding Balance: Negotiating Tech-Free Time
Before you embark on your vacation, have a heart-to-heart with your teen and negotiate agreements for tech usage including specific times when screens are off-limits, such as mealtimes, family activities, or designated family time. When discussing these boundaries, express the importance of spending quality time together and nurturing your relationship while listening to your teen’s perspective and understanding what’s important to them (even if you don’t agree!).
Finding common ground is key to avoiding unnecessary conflicts and making everyone feel heard and respected rather than fueling resentment that leads to blow ups and yelling.
4) Being Right: Managing Expectations
It’s natural to feel frustrated when your teen seems unappreciative or uninterested in the family activities you’ve planned. But remember, this might not be their preferred way of spending their summer away from the oppressive structure of school. If they’ve already expressed their dislike for certain activities, they’re going to prove you, and themselves right no matter what it takes. That might look like being rude to tour operators or other guests.
BREATHE! It’s their energy, not yours.
If they end up having a great time when they insisted your idea was going to be like losing a limb, resist the temptation to rub their enjoyment in their face. Let them create their own experience without judgment or reminders like, “Well if you just…’, or, ‘I told you it would be fun!’.
5) Permission to Prioritize Your Experience
This vacation is not solely about your moody, grumpy teenager; it’s YOUR time to relax, rejuvenate, and create your own memories. Give yourself permission to find joy, gratitude, and excitement, spending your emotional energy savoring the moments that bring YOU happiness. Trying to change your teen or resenting them for not enjoying their time will only drain you. It’s YOUR vacation too and they aren’t responsible for YOUR feelings.
6) Look for Small Wins: Show Appreciation
When your teen does make an effort to participate in family activities or adhere to negotiated tech-free times, acknowledge and appreciate their cooperation. Encouragement and positivity will foster better communication and strengthen your relationship, including a simple, “thank you”. Instead of dwelling on what they’re not doing, highlight the small victories and show gratitude for their efforts.
Family vacations with moody teens can be challenging, but they also present an opportunity to bond and create memories in a new way. By checking and adjusting your expectations, finding a balance between technology and family time, prioritizing your own experience, and showing appreciation for their efforts, you can survive and thrive during your well-deserved, hard-earned summer vacation.
Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and with a little patience and flexibility, you’ll create memories while reducing stress and conflicts.
Ready to discover the SECRET to getting your teen to like AND listen to you? Join my FREE masterclass now and gain valuable insights and strategies to strengthen your parent-teen relationship. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to unlock the tools you need for a smoother and more enjoyable vacation with your teenager. Enroll in the masterclass today and pave the way for a memorable summer getaway!
Let’s do this together,