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Tips for Peace and Harmony
What do you like to do on family holidays? Go to the
beach or spend a week in the country? Maybe you like camping
or visiting relatives. Whatever you enjoy, family holidays
are a chance for everyone in the family to get reacquainted
and spend quality time together. It's a chance for parents
to really talk with their teens and find out what's going on
in their lives. It's important to keep the communication
lines open, and a family holiday is a good time to do that.
Having a good relationship with their parents is one of the
most important factors in keeping teens out of trouble.
Studies have shown that when families take holidays
together, they are more likely to eat together and are less
likely to argue. They do not watch as much television
because they are involved in doing things together. Kids
even report that their parents seem to act differently while
While family holidays are a good time to connect with your
kids, communication problems that are already there will not
automatically disappear. Especially with teenagers it is
important to listen and be flexible. Find out what the kids
would like to do and eat and plan accordingly. While even
teenagers need boundaries, it is important for parents to
try to avoid needless confrontation. Explain why you make
the decisions you do and show them positive attention.
Kids will appreciate being included in travel plans. There's
a good chance they will choose a theme park or the beach if
those are among the options. Sometimes it works well for a
teenager to take a special friend along on family holidays.
While this might increase the parents' load, the teen is
likely to really appreciate it. Also, sometimes it works
well for kids to go on holidays with their grandparents
instead of their parents. Sometimes there is a special
relationship here that can help kids open up and communicate
about their concerns.
While on family holidays, if teens are uncooperative or
behave improperly, try to deal with the problem in private.
Teens are very aware of embarrassment and it is needlessly
mean to exploit this sensitivity. In fact, you might explain
to the kids how their behavior embarrasses you, and they in
turn might work harder at getting along and acting
Kids will be happier on family vacations if they have
snacks, drinks, and entertainment. Few kids enjoy a long
ride in the car! Try to provide individual CD players or
hand-held video games, and don't forget to take plenty of
bathroom stops. Sometimes kids enjoy the ride more if they
can help you follow the map. This is an educational activity
for them as well. By following these suggestions, your
family holidays can make a happy memory.