Posts Tagged ‘Teens’

How To Connect with Your Teens through Travel

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

By Luisa Frey

Creator/editor of www.teentraveltalk.com

What’s one of the biggest issues facing parents of teenagers?

Disconnect between parent and child.

We all know the feeling of wanting to be closer to our young adult yet mostly we end up butting heads because of their desire to be treated like an adult but not really acting like one. Inevitably, we often feel the void that this disconnect causes.

However, I’ve discovered one sure-fire way to connect with my teen – through travel. While we can’t be on the road 24/7, I’ve found over and over again that when my teen daughter and I are away from our daily routine, we turn into different people – ones who don’t see each other as a “parent” or as a “teen” but instead as a complementary duo. And we actually have real conversations instead of those which escalate into shouting!

So what are my secrets to selecting a trip that facilitates connecting with my teen?

LET THEM OWN PART OF THE PLANNING PROCESS

Last winter my daughter and I were going through a very difficult time. However, one day she walked into my office and said, “I want to go to Salem, MA with you next month since I’m doing a history paper on the Salem Witch Trials.” My first reaction was, “No way, we can’t afford that.” But then I realized that she actually wanted to spend time with me and that I was going to move heaven and earth to make this trip happen!

So I gave her ownership of the planning process and told her to choose a website to help her plan it; find out which attractions were open in the winter; price an affordable hotel; and decide how many days we needed to stay there. The next day she marched in with an itinerary she had created and an affordable hotel suggestion.

Needless to say, I booked the trip and it proved critical in getting our relationship back on track.

TURN “CAR RIDES” INTO “CONFIDES”

Our road trip from New Jersey to Massachusetts gave us plenty of time to talk, listen to music, or just be in the same space for a period time without one of us having to run out the door like at home.

Since then, I have discovered that my daughter opens up most when we are in the car and I am driving. Perhaps it’s because teens do not always feeling comfortable looking an adult in the eye when they talk about deep matters. With me behind the wheel, that scenario is facilitated.

USE THE POWER OF THEIR PEERS

Let’s face it – teens are most influenced by their peers and not as much by mom and dad. Why not use teen influence to help you plan a trip that your teens will enjoy? What parent wants to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a family trip that their teen labels “lame” ahead of time? Instead, you can nip “baditude” in the bud by getting your teen enthused before you even leave the house.

One way to do this is for you and your teen to check out www.teentraveltalk.com. This blog is written by teens for their peers and parents and details trips that get the teen stamp of approval. It also features articles that are written by teens and their parents regarding trips that had some tension around them. These articles give advice from the teens as to what they would have liked to have done differently on those specific trips. Lastly, it includes teen and parent forums for asking family travel questions which are answered by teentraveltalk.com’s teen bloggers.

ACTION IS A MUST

When you check out teentraveltalk.com, you’ll see a recurring theme: teens love trips that feature ACTION! They do NOT want long car rides, sitting in a cathedral in Europe, nor too many museum visits. They want to be out there doing cool, active things. This can range from horseback riding in Costa Rica to walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.

However, action needs to be tempered with time to “hang out.” This is not the same as down time on a plane or in a car. Instead it means unstructured time to listen to their iPod, watch a movie, munch on some snacks, or hang out at the beach.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO KEEP THE MEMORIES ALIVE

During and after your trip, use the alluring power of social media to keep the trip memories alive. My daughter LOVES taking photos – thousands of them. The photos are great documentaries of what we did and what we saw. They also are the impetus for us to stand around her computer after a trip – her little brother included – and laugh at some of the fun moments of our trip.

Of course these photos then turn up on my teenager’s Facebook page. While some of us parents are not privy to our kids’ Facebook pages, you should feel honored that the trip you went on with your child actually landed up on her/his wall. Sounds like your teen might actually want to take another…and another trip with you after all!

What Do You Do?

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Thursday, April 24th marks the 16th annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day.

It is so much more than a career day. It demonstrates to our children why education matters, but more importantly, our children can be inspired to learn what it is they might love to do. You can only be really great at something with passion and persistence and that begins by doing what you love.

Now for the bad news. If you’re negative about your current job then I recommend you don’t pull your children out of school for the day since you’ll be doing more harm than good. Instead use this as an opportunity to think about the advice that you would give to your grade school age child so that she is not in the same position.

Here are some ideas:

Do what you love. As a young child, spend the time finding what it is that you love
Test the waters. You can’t know if it’s right until you try it. And then if you think you like something, try it again.
Talk to people (as many as you can) in the field you think is for you. Even be courageous enough to talk to people who have left the profession so you could understand why.
Think about the kind of a life you want to live. Do you want a family? Would you love (or hate) to travel? What if you had to constantly relocate? Do you want to be home for dinner every evening (if this is important to you, don’t even think about politics).

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure;
Where your treasure, there is your heart;
Where your heart, there your happiness.
-Augustine

Teenagers – Like Rodney Dangerfield, They Just Need Some Respect

Friday, January 18th, 2008

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An article in The Patriot-News reminded me of a situation from a few years ago. We went to a movie theatre and just before the movie started, the door opened. The manager looked in, scanned the crowd and found a small group of adolescent kids who were eating popcorn and sipping soda, just like everyone else. The manager glared at them and yelled, “If you do anything, I’ll throw you out!”

They weren’t doing anything. I don’t know if some other incident happened earlier or another time, but at that moment, they were well-behaved.

I thought the manager was disrespectful and wondering how kids learn respect if they’re treated that way. Don’t get me wrong, there are adolescents and teens that behave badly, but stereotyping is wrong and unfair.

Let’s teach by example.

Have We Really Evolved?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

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Parents Say Online Bullies Caused Daughter’s Suicide

When your children are little, and when they fall and hurt themselves it’s easy to kiss the hurt and apply a band-aid.

But as they get older, the world can be cold and cruel, and situations that can’t be fixed with a band-aid and kiss.

The story in recent news is incredible and makes me wonder if we’ve really evolved at all. Parents posing as a teen age boy befriend a 14-year-old girl online. The girl’s parents took all the right precautions regarding Internet safety, but after ‘Josh’ befriended their daughter, he began to say cruel and hurtful things.

The intention of the parents pretending to be Josh was to see if the girl said anything bad about their daughter. That in itself is unreal. But the story gets worse because the teenage girl was on medication for ADD and depression, and hung herself because of the cruelty.

When it was realized that this was a hoax, the girl’s parents confronted the neighborhood family that created Josh and after losing their tempers did some damage to their property, and called the police.

The law cannot do anything to the family that created this hoax, while there is a family that no longer has their little girl. She had a name – it was Megan Miers.

Please remember her name because Megan’s parents are working on legislation to change the law so this doesn’t happen to someone else’s child. When they need support, I’m sure they can count on every parent that wants to protect their children.

My heart goes out to this family, along with my support.