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Do your teenagers need cool things to do in the hols? Or do you need you teenagers to do something in the hols? If you don’t know the difference, ask your teenagers!
Mumsnet had a little discussion about holiday activities for teenagers a while back. They came up with a bunch of ideas. The kind parents everywhere would probably suggest, with the purist of intentions. A raft of teenagers signed up to Mumsnet so they could wade in:
“Right, guys you might want to listen closely, all this rubbish about yeay lets go on a treasure hunt is pure bullshit, no offence parents. Swimming?? Seriously??”
“I’m 15 and these ideas suck, sorry J”
“The important point I think parents should know is that most probably your teen already has activities planned. So let them have some freedom and let them decide for themselves how to spend their holidays.”
That’s us told then!
Of course, teenagers are people. Some might like treasure hunts and swimming. Some would rather chill with friends and, importantly, away from parents. And of course, there’s a difference between a 17 year old and a 13 year old.
If a teenager is needing something to do here’s some thoughts. Let them reject them out of hand, ridicule, adapt or embrace at their leisure:
If a teenager just wants to be left alone here’s a thing:
“A few years ago, I took three teenagers camping: one son, one niece, one friend of niece. I went for walks, read my book, had leisurely pub lunches, painted, cooked. They slept, festered, flirted with other young people on the campsite, festered some more, slept some more, played with their phones til the batteries went flat. I could have forced them to join my activities, but they’d have been grumpy and I’d have been cross. As it was, we all had a bloody fantastic time.”
Lets face it, what teenagers mostly want is autonomy and adult-free time. Give them a summer budget. Set some mutually agreed ground rules (curfew, how far you can go, communication etc). Get them to plan some activities. Hand over the dosh.*
*Obviously some teenagers are more vulnerable than others. Some may need more guidance than others. Be sensible. Be a parent!