Teenagers and holidays
When it comes to teenagers and holidays, there are difficulties in every direction.
Problem one: teenagers don't want to go on family holidays. Or they do go, but they moan and complain and want to do something else. Or they spend a fortune, or try to spend a fortune.
Problem two: they flatly refuse to go, and you leave them at home. Then they proceed to have one of their famous 'gatherings', which results in a police investigation into the noise emanating from your house, and a large insurance claim from a neighbour who says his car was damaged by someone leaving the party.
Problem three: they ask, and you allow, them to go away with friends. It sounds the perfect solution, but for many parents it so, so isn't. They get drunk (monumentally so); there are injuries (in Newquay, a famous teen rave town, there have even been deaths); they cause trouble; they upset the local community.
But we're not going to cancel having holidays, so through this list of nightmares we must negotiate something that works.
- Do take baby wipes, binbags, wellies, raincoat
- Don't try drugs for the first time if you've never taken them before
- Don't camp right next to the toilets, hedge or path
- Don't leave anything in your tent you don't want stolen or mutilated
- Do take sunscreen, hat, warm clothes for sunset
- Do have the best time ever!
Festivals can be a good starting point for a teen getaway. If you feel your child is too young to be staying away overnight, suggest a day at a festival (hinting that if it goes well, next year you might consider letting him stay over).
Leaving teenagers home alone while you go on holiday
Be very, very careful about leaving teenagers unsupervised at home while you go on holiday. There's no law against it, but you could end up paying heavily in terms of a damaged house – and the damage done to neighbourly relationships after a party may be irreparable.
"Personally, I wouldn't leave a 16 year old alone, no. And you are being very naive if you think that she won't ask the boyfriend around." Janeite
The best idea is to holiday en famille, but to look for somewhere with some 'teen' element. Or offer to take a friend or two along with you for your adolescent.
Dos and don'ts if you're allowing your teenager to holiday with friends
- Don't give your child alcohol to take to any teenager holiday
- Emphasise the fun aspects of a holiday away alone, but make sure there are activities and that they're not just planning an alcohol-fest
- If your child is travelling as part of a group, make sure everyone knows the importance of staying together and of looking after one another
- Make sure you have the mobile numbers of all the youngsters in your child's party, and numbers for all their parents - it's a good idea to make contact with the parents ahead of the trip
- Don't kid yourself that because it's a holiday in the UK, it's safe - the dangers of holidaying without adults are as great in Newquay as in Greece or Spain
- Plan for emergencies, specifically everything getting stolen or lost: photocopy your teen's passport, bank card and health insurance forms, and if they're on regular medication, make sure they have the names of their medicine written down in case they need to get more in a country where they don't speak the language