How to Enjoy your Holiday Vacation with your Teenager

Here we go! It's that time of year again - the family holiday vacation. Some families historically travel this time of year, while others will choose to stay home. Perhaps you are having extended family coming in for the holidays. Or maybe your family has decided to fly solo and stay home.

Regardless of the plans, many parents can find themselves feeling apprehensive about spending a vacation with their teenagers. "Is this holiday season going to be a disaster?" "What if he/she embarrasses me in front of everyone?" "We haven't been getting along lately, and what if this entire vacation is filled with conflict?" Here are 7 things you can do to help make it a great vacation: 1. Include your teenager in the planning If there is one thing most teenagers enjoy, it is giving other their opinion. This is especially true if someone is asking for their opinion. Ask your teenager some ideas of what they think would be enjoyable to do on the family vacation.

Even if you set the ground rules of where your family is going, ask them what they would like to do some of the time. It is after all there vacation also. 2. Carve out some alone time for yourself Ironic as it may sound, vacations can be exhausting, especially for parents. Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, fatigue can set in from trying to accomplish too much in such a short amount of time. Make sure you take some time to relax yourself.

A relaxed parent makes for a more relaxed family vacation. 3. Carve our some alone time for you and your teenager Even if you are vacationing with a lot of extended family members, make it a point to take some time to spend with your teenager one-on-one. It does not necessarily need to be a huge ordeal with a lot of fan fare.

Perhaps grabbing something to eat unexpectedly, or going for a walk in the morning. Even a conversation in the car while running errands can be meaningful. Find those rare teachable moments, and seize them! 4. Allow your teenager to have some reasonable amount of time alone As your teenager gets older, there is a normal part of you that desire to spend a lot of time with him/her. You want to cherish the time with your daughter, and make sure your son knows the importance of your relationship. Yet, today's teenagers' lives can be as busy as adults'.

Like you, they may need some down time to just sit and loaf around. 5. Avoid placing any expectations or ideals on your vacation Many parents visualize in their mind, and heart what they want their family vacations to be like. Their ideals are filled with holiday cheer, perfect children, and Norman Rockwell memories.

Thereby, they unintentionally place expectations on their teenagers and family members. While dreams are not a bad thing, disappointment and resentment can arise when these expectations are not met. Take your vacation a day at a time, without any expectations.

6. Agree to put all major family conflict aside for the duration of your vacation If there is a major conflict between you and your teenager, then agree to put the matter aside until after your vacation. Anyone can "agree to disagree" for a temporary period of time. No one wants a vacation filled with tension and conflict. Perhaps when your vacation is over, both of you will be in a better emotional state to discuss your conflict in a better manner.

7. When conflict arises between you and your teenager, talk it out No doubt there will moments of frustration between you and your teenager. It is unrealistic to expect otherwise. As the parent, make it a point to pick your battles.

Then talk it out in a manner that will resolve conflict, rather than placing blame. Avoid harboring grudges and resentments Oh and here is 8) Take lots of pictures! They will mean more later!.

Are you looking for more common sense advice, practical solutions and even humor for parenting your teen? I invite you to check out where you will find tips for parenting teens, school, curfew, and more! Terre Grable is a licensed professional counselor. She enjoys helping parents and teens become better friends when they feel like enemies.

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