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Probably no solution to this - getting them to be grateful!(10 Posts)
DH & I want to plan a lovely family holiday abroad - dc are 10 12 and 16. Problem is a) holidays are expensive and b) ds12 in the past has struggled with being away from home / new environment / different food etc. We are a blended family who get on well at home, but holidays seem to take DS way out of his comfort zone (we do things a bit differently to his DM's household). By day 5 of a 7 day holiday he has generally settled but it takes that long to coax him away from his screen and out of a general moodiness which makes the holiday somewhat miserable for everyone else. He's very active and I think needs to be kept busy so I've found a family activity holiday which I think will appeal but it's not cheap.
Is there any way of engaging with him to get him to see that he needs to be cheerful and kind and get involved while we're away so as not to ruin an expensive treat for himself and everyone else? Or is that too big an ask at this age?
The alternative is simply not going anywhere, but DH works so hard and could do with a proper break. (DS is his) and it feels unfair to not have a holiday because of one person's mood.
I think your chances of having a good time will increase exponentially if you don't hold out for gratitude but settle for rule following and no active rudeness.
Make a joke of it with your dh, show everybody that one small personal 12yo rain cloud can't ruin your enjoyment. It's a typical age for moodiness and Weltschmerz; don't give it a significance it doesn't deserve.
Think of the money as all spent on your ticket, then you will resent it less. Don't waste your holiday on resentment: you have decided you are all going; now you need to make up your mind to enjoy yourself.
You may well find that years later, he remembers his holidays with fondness.
I think Cory is totally right - you just have to accept that your DS may not (appear to be!) having a great time all the time, but that you've done your best to find a holiday he'll enjoy, and not feel like you're failing or be stressed about it.
I've always taken the view that I go on holiday because I want to go - obviously choosing something that is suitable to my teen dd's age - and that so long as she isn't actively rude or unpleasant, that's fine.
If it helps, I think they do become more self aware quite quickly as they get a bit older. Last summer we went to a festival and things really weren't working out as dd had expected (a friend of hers was there, but just sulked in her tent with full on PMT and had no interest in hanging out with her). DD - then 14 - was massively grumpy, but then suddenly seemed to give herself a shake and decided to just go out and enjoy herself anyway. She definitely wouldn't have done that age 12, that couple of years more maturity makes a massive difference.
And yy to them remembering them very fondly in retrospect!
One of mine never much liked holidays and still doesn't much now that he is an adult. He wasn't grumpy or rude when we were away but he would have preferred to be home.
I used to try and stay in homely places but I got most of my mileage by saying that holidays were important for his Dad who works extremely hard all year and that could he go along with it for him. He accepted that and was happy to put up with the holiday for his Dad.
Thank you for the advice. I just want everyone to have a good time. I know I can't set conditions around someone's mood when they are 12 and just not capable of maintaining a sunny exterior if they are moping on the inside! So I will ensure there's plenty of opportunity to spend time separately so that I can sit in the sun drinking wine and reading my book alone, which would be bliss!
Just accept that if your idea of bliss is sitting reading your book that his idea of bliss maybe playing on his screen.
Maybe a breakfast have a family discussion to set the daily plan.
EG. we'll all go kayaking this morning and then sunbeds/books/screen after lunch.
Or we'll all visit (attraction) today and then books/screens at 5pm before dinner.
If he sees there is time allocated for screen he may be more inclined to join in (and hopefully enjoy) the other stuff.
One thing we try to do though, which might work in your case is we have a kid's day - they plan the activities, meals, events - whatever....putting your dc(12) in control for a day at the beginning, even half a day for each kid might knock him out of his mood.
It will be tough regardless if the main issue is he is missing his mum(?).
And true what a PP said 12/13/14 can be an awful age for suddenly becoming body-aware. So if your holiday involves a lot of swimwear then that'll make them uncomfortable.
Why don't you involve DS in the planning? If he shows anxiety / no enthusiasm, why not give him the choice of staying at home with his DM?
If he makes an active choice to be with you, that's down to him.