3. A couple of weeks before you go, have a family meeting to talk about the holiday. Allow each member of the family have their say without interruption, set some mutually agreed ground rules (e.g. curfew time whilst away) and involve them in the planning. Discuss how certain jobs will be shared, particularly if going self catering, e.g. produce a washing-up rota to avoid conflict once you are there.
4. Discuss mobile contact whilst away, will they take their phones with them and stay in touch with their friends and if they do? Sometimes teenagers need a break from their friends and the pressures of constant social networking – a topic on which I will focus on the next few weeks. I know I do not particularly want to take all their friends with me 24/7, so rather than arguing on the holiday I do talk about this before we go.
5. Get a balance between what they want to do and what you want to do, for example, give them a day each when they decide what you all do and eat. We have done this over the years and the girls love dictating what I do and eat and they enjoy reflecting on excellent family days we have had over the years.
I do think the most successful holidays do take a bit of pre-planning and discussion. Also, do not pre-judge your teenagers. We cover how to have a family meeting on my Surviving Teenagers Programme and much to my amazement, teenagers tend to respond positively to the idea. I thought they would find them cheesy and toe curling, however the reality is they enjoy being listened to and having the opportunity to have their say so don’t underestimate them and use the opportunity to build your relationship with your teenagers.