Teenagers can be a difficult bunch; one minute they’re happy and entertained, the next minute they’re moody and irritable. Trying to cope with the mood swings this particular age group goes along with can be whiplash-inducing at best, but we love them regardless.
Going away on holiday, and travelling in general, can be difficult if your beloved teen isn’t feeling the love for it, so how can be we reduce the problems, keep everyone calm and serene, and make the travel experience actually pleasant in the company of a moody teenager?
Keep calm. Travel in general is stressful, but when you’re in the midst of trying to get everyone from A to B successfully, and dealing with a teenager in full flow, you could be forgiven for feeling a little stressed out yourself. The key is remain calm, take a deep breath, don’t be tempted to shout or lose your temper, and just try and remember that this is nothing personal, it’s simply the joys of teenage-dom.
Give them space. One of the main factors in being a teenager is the need for personal space. This is of course because they are finding their feet in the world, figuring out what works for them, and deep in their own personal thoughts. It is important therefore to give them their own time and space. If you’re travelling as a family, why not book a hotel room with adjoining rooms? This way you feel safe enough that you’re keeping an eye on them, but that they also have their own space to call their own. This will cut down on the feeling of living in a fishbowl, which then breeds arguments and stress.
Give them input. Give your teenager some input into where you’re going, what you’re seeing, and how you’re getting there. Teenagers are, again, as we mentioned, finding their way in the world and they are more likely to be responsive and upbeat about plans if they have had a say in them, and feel that their opinions and thoughts are being listened to and respected. Of course if what they’re suggesting is totally out of the question, then make this clear, but maybe compromise a little and input some of their ideas into the plans, so they don’t feel alienated and ignored.
Stay somewhere with wifi access. We all know how important social media has become in the world, and this is even more so in the world of a teenager. Staying in touch with friends, boyfriends, girlfriends etc when on the move is like the right and left arm of a teen, so if you completely cut out that connection then you’re likely to get mood-inducing behaviour. Instead, book a hotel that has wifi access, or let them have an hour on the iPad at the airport. I’m not suggesting you let them sit there on Facebook for the duration of your travels and holiday, but a little bit of access will smooth the waters.
And the most important tip of all? Remember that this is a difficult time for your teenager, and whilst it can be frustrating for you, they will feel it all the more. Stay calm, stay grounded, stay serene, remember – deep breaths!