Children or adults?

Jan 22nd, 2004, 04:31 AM
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Children or adults?

Have read several posts recently here and on the US board about people traveling with "children" who it later turned out are 16 to 18 years old. And many of the answers seem to talk about these children as if they were about 7/8 years old. Am I just too old/old fasahioned to get this? Or are we infantilizing our young people? After all these people (young adults to me) are old enough (or within a year) of going off to college or to the military. Surely they're old enough to take an active part in planning a trip - and even taking some of the hassle of searching for air, hotels etc off the hands of very busy adults. If you're old enough to pick a college, live by yourself and select a career path surely you can manage organizing a hotel. Or am I being a curmudgeon?
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 04:34 AM
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Dear Curmudgeon,

Of course you are correct.
ira is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 04:37 AM
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He/She is correct, but I am sure childless...
Tat is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 04:55 AM
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I am inclined to agree! Any parent who has dragged teens on an "FFO" (Forced Family Outing, as they would have you know) has no doubt that they might be off to college shortly, that they might be driving the family car, that they might be holding down jobs, etc. etc. etc, but they are STILL children when they are on the family vacation! Just listen to them whine about being dragged from their friends, dragged to "boring" places, made to eat in funny restaurants...yes, they are STILL children.

And yes, even though they are older teens, you absolutely must drag them along with you because the consequences of leaving them alone in the house are worse than bringing them!

BTW, this is all theoretical on my part because my teens are angels...
Jan 22nd, 2004, 05:03 AM
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Sorry just had to jump in here. Maybe I was just a mature teen, but I loved travelling with my family. Exploring museums, doing new things. It was never forced or torturous.

I think people put too much credibility in the stereotypes portrayed on TV. Most teens are very responsible and trust worthy. And surprise surprise they are actually interesting people if the busy adults would just take the time to actually talk to them and get to know them.

Sorry for the rant but it really bugs me when people treat teens as infants instead of adults. If they are immature or child like it's because that's the way our society has made them.
Matrexx is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 05:18 AM
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We think that today's teenagers are no different from the way they were when our sons were in their teens.

Adam & Eve
ira is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 05:45 AM
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Well, I have a 16-year-old daughter who is getting ready to visit colleges in various parts of the country, and she's definitely involved in the planning - checking the maps for distances between places, calling to make reservations for campus tours, etc. And she's traveled with us for years all over Europe - but would I have her make hotel reservations in Italy or Austria, e.g? Probably not. Would I trust her knowledge of the various airline ticket sites or hotel sites on the internet to find us plane tickets, or even know what a good fare to Europe is or a good rate for a hotel? Probably not. I could certainly hand her some guidebooks and ask her to see what hotels or B&Bs were located near places we are going to and have her help me narrow down the decision, but actually book rooms on an overseas trip? No.
My kids' input in every trip we take is invaluable, but a 16-year-old is not equipped to do the planning for an overseas trip. At least mine is not.

I agree with Tat - nytraveler doesn't have kids.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 05:56 AM
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In my experience, teens will live up (or down) to your expectations. At this stage of their development, they're kids one day, grownups the next. I wouldn't rely on them for planning crucial trip elements like hotels or flights -- these boards are testament to the fact that ADULTS find that process challenging.

But when it comes to planning the itinerary, kids are perfectly capable of doing plenty of online research to choose things to do and places to see. If you treat them like adults, consulting about how to spend the travel time, the trip can be a joy. Our teens' plannig experience began with delegating each of them one day during hte vacatoin in which they were in total control of the day's itinerary -- what we did, where we ate, etc.
Anonymous is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 06:04 AM
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I don't know what specific instances nytraveler is referring to. However, we have seen parents planning their college age kids' solo trips. There are a number of parents who don't really want their kids to become independent, which is completely unfair to the children. That said, not having older children (yet) I suspect planning a trip that involves teenagers requires a lot of effort on the part of the parents, b/c the kids are busy with other things, would rather stay home with their friends, and/or maybe do not have the experience (sense of history, etc.) that sparks many of us to get involved in trip planning. Ok, that said, I would contend that when it comes to traveling, parents and children (adult and otherwise) alike sometimes act and/or are treated like children!
Bitter is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 06:21 AM
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My first trip to Europe was with my parents, when I was 16. It was for about six weeks during the summer after I graduated from high school and right before I started college. (My father had qualified for very cheap airfare for the three of of us.) We went to London, to Italy all the way from the north by car through to Sicily and back up through Italy and part of France to Paris. I was a very good student, had started taking French in high school and loved it and couldn't wait to see France, was eager to learn Italian and in fact started studying it a year later, loved history and wanted to study it, loved art and used to draw almost every day, was easily thrilled by scenery, and had a lifelong curiosity about old Italian folkways. In short, I had great interest in the trip.

I had absolutely no input in the planning, either before or during the trip. There were no activities planned with my 16-year-old preferences in mind. For example, I tagged along in Milan when my father met old friends who insisted on going to dinner at 10:30 p.m. and staying out until 2:30 a.m. My parents absolutely had a fit when I took a 20-minute walk by myself on a country road while my father was picking up the VW car he had ordered. It was a less than ideal situation, obviously, and the drives and hotel stays were not always pleasant. Nevertheless the things I observed on this trip fired up my imagination and the images remain with me, the exposure to foreign cultures motivated me even more to study history and languages, and the visit to a very poor, but very beautifully situated and traditional little mountain town in Sicily was a life-changing experience.

Kids survive all sorts of quirky parenting. The ones who are coddled or given too much responsibility or too much freedom or nagged or ignored may all end up being OK. I love to travel. I may not plan perfectly, but I always have a good time and learn a lot.
cmt is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 07:02 AM
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Interesting question. It appears that nytraveler might be right that parents are infantilizing their children.

Just read a newspaper article that in our community more and more young adults are graduating from college and coming back home to live with their parents despite landing lucrative positions. Mom will cook, do laundry for them while they either save money to buy a home, or spend it on car, clothes, or even private physical trainers. Psychologists interviewed explained that, because this growing trend appears to be nationwide (US), many young adults in their mid-20's seem stuck in an in-between stage; neither adolescents nor adults.

Having said that, while I expect my 16 yr old daughter to do most of the leg work with her upcoming college search and I also expect her to come back home ONLY for visits after graduating from college, I really don't think she's yet equipped to take care of the logistics of most of our family vacations. She and her sister do have lots of input, but the pesky details are left to my DH (I am being polite) and me.
Lorena is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 07:51 AM
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I'm well into my 30s and my brother is older and my parents still think of us as children. My mom thinks anyone under 50 is young.

However, when Mom and I went to Europe a couple years ago, we planned the trip together (though she 'won' all decisions) and I hauled the luggage.
ncgrrl is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 07:57 AM
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Can you be more specific about which threads prompted your question?
obxgirl is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 10:23 AM
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Interestingly enough, when my daughter was in 3rd grade, one of her team projects was to plan a trip. They were given a budget and then required to do an internet search on a city, and prepare an itinerary complete with hotel room, rental car and selected restaurants. They were given a scenario such as 4 adults traveling or a family of 5 traveling etc. They then wrote a group report, complete with an itemized budget. I was impressed!
wsoxrebel is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 10:38 AM
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I always thought it was foolish to rely on the schools to completely prepare out children, so my wife and I, for example, made them handle our checking accounts, and get their own checking accounts as soon as possible (despite the reluctance of our bank) so we would be confident in their abilities when they left for school.

In this vein, I can think of no better training that to tell the child we have X amount of dollars for our vacation this year, we are thinking of going here or here, make arrangements for it. Always assuming, of course, that the planning would not interfere with their schooling.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 11:27 AM
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For perspective, the reason I asked this is that one of my job responsabilities is developing entry level staff. And over the last several years we have had increasing difficulty locating appropriate candidates (college graduates and this is rarely their first job so they're likely 23/25 or so). And while many are great hires and do very well the number that turn out to be shockingly immature (and trying to treat their boss as mommy or daddy) seems to be constatnly increasing. I read somewhere that 25 is the new 15 - and compared to my generation (mid 40's) it seems to be not completely untrue.

I agree that a 16 year old is not equipped to arrange a european trip by themselves. but they're certainly old enough to contribute -at a minimum by doing the research and deciding what they really want to do/see and reasonably to help do the upfront resarch on flights and hotels - although obviously not make the final decisions.

I'm thinking back to when I was a teen and naturally we wanted to spend most of our time with fiends but there were also regular family vacations. We contributed ideas and helped with planning from the time we were 13/14 and out last big familly vacation (MontrealQuebec) before I went off to college my sister and I did most of planning - and had a great time doing it.

Don't want to be too specific about the threads - but they were on this board _ europe and US - and also AOL board. The "children" seemed to be viewed as objects that must be entertained and moved from place to place rather than as other people - although not fully adult people.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 11:41 AM
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Sorry for the typos - I'm doing this while on a really boring conference call. And while many of them were "fiends" we really wanted to spend time with our friends.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 12:46 PM
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I think you are being a curmudgeon. The only ones I find unusual are the ones where parents are planning minute details for children over the age of 18 or so. I don't mean all details, but I remember one parent on here wanted to find out names of stores where her son could buy deodorant in Italy, that was the worst.

I think children on trips should contribute to planning or what to do, but I imagine some parents don't want the children to be deciding what hotels they stay at, etc., because it's their money. I would never allow teenagers to be picking hotels, choosing airfare, etc. Maybe the parents don't want to stay in hotels picked by 16-yr olds.

YOu seem to think someone 16-18 years old is not their parents' child any more. That is just a factual term of relation, so I think you are getting bent out of shape about terminology that you object to which is just normal. Do you seriously think parents should never refer to their own children as their children any more after age 16? I don't think their is a good substitute term, only longer explanations (ie, "my young adult son and daughter")
Christina is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 02:45 PM
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You make a good point. I'll make the switch. My wife and I will be taking our adults on vacation this spring and are looking for a house that will comfortably house us and our adults where the adults (and us) can have some personal space.
bardo is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 02:48 PM
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You're mistaken - it's not the terminology I';m objecting to - of course my parents still refer to me (at may age) as their child and worry about me as any parents do. I'm just wondering if this treating of a 16 to 18 year old as a helpless thing that can't contribute something worthwhile - their own fair share - to family actvities is what's leading to 23/25 year olds that are still so immature and seem to expect parenting behavior from coworkers.
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