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Help! My teenager does not want to go on a booked trip!

Help! My teenager does not want to go on a booked trip!

Oct 21st, 2002, 02:14 PM
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Last year we pulled the "You're going and that's the end of it." line with our son. He tried to be miserable and pouted the entire first day in France. However, he soon came around when he realized how neat it was to be in another culture and see new things. Or maybe it was the threat of eternally looking like a big crybaby on the home movies? In any case, he's now glad he went and perks right up when he hears mention of any place he's visited. I knew it was the right decision when he suggested that he would like to spend a semester in Germany next year. It was hard having a crabby, sulky brat sitting next to us on the plane, and I was contemplating locking him into the hotel room, but then who said parenting was easy?
Oct 21st, 2002, 03:17 PM
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After years of dreaming about a trip to England, we were fortunate to be able to take our very first trip this summer - our 17 yr old daughter came with us. We'd been married 25 yrs and could never afford holidays, let alone trips abroad. I was constantly reminded by my daughter about how "deprived" she was that she had "never been anywhere" since most of her friends had travelled (Disneyland, Hawaii, Mexico, etc.) So, much to my surprise, when we happily announced that we had bought the tickets and we were actually going, I was blown away when she said (and I quote) "but I want to go to Italy, NOT England." I was so shocked that this came out of her mouth that I started laughing. TEENAGERS DON'T THINK! And when they do, it's usually about themselves. Anyway, I think teens in our society are spoiled, regardless of whether parents can afford to indulge them or not.

It's tough to keep the peace, but stick to your guns on this one. Remind him that he's blessed beyond belief and to have the opportunity of visiting a European country is a gift and privilege that most people in the world will never, ever know. Whether he joins you for every museum or art gallery visit doesn't matter, his own memories and experiences will stick with him for a lifetime - he'll grow from it.

Oct 21st, 2002, 05:04 PM
Dr. Laura
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Honey Babe, the little twit goes. Now go do the right thing!
Oct 21st, 2002, 06:07 PM
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When my son went on vacation with the family at age 16, he had the time of his life picking out the most perfect gifts for each of THREE girlfriends. (Not quite what it sounds, only one was "romantic" the others were good buddies). Tell him he'll get to pick out a present for her from Paris that will blow her away. Make sure he knows things like her favorite colors, and take him to the Marais to some of the coolest, hippest little shops. Or a second-hand silver shop where he can pick up a bracelet shaped from an antique silver fork. (My 24-yr old New Yorker daughter still wears hers! It is that unique!) And promise he can stop at an internet cafe to email her little messages every three days while he's gone.
Oct 21st, 2002, 06:49 PM
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My faith in American parenthood is restored by this post! I've never seen this degree of consensus on the board. Way to go, parents!

Oct 21st, 2002, 06:57 PM
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This reminds me of a trip my parents planned to Hawaii when I was 18. I didn't want to go and leave my boyfriend for a week on Christmas break! There were many tearful scenes, believe me. My parents laughed at the suggestion that I wouldn't go. Of course, I had a great time and this is one of my fondest memories as it is the last vacation I have taken with my parents. More importantly, if I hadn't been 'forced' to go, I know that I would have regretted it to this day. Not simply because it was a great vacation, but it would have hurt my parents tremendously if they had gone without me. They saw this as something special to give to me and to share with me. Your son will eventually regret this if he doesn't go.
Oct 21st, 2002, 07:31 PM
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I can picture this scene, having a 15-year-old girl, although I must admit she hasn't pulled this particular one yet.

It's very easy. You put your hands on your hips and stick your chin out and say "I understand this will be a horrible, trying time for you and for us, having to go to Paris and all, but the plans have been made and we're sticking to them. End of story. Now go clean your room. And if you don't like it, if you even think of pouting and trying to make our trip less than deliriously happy, you're grounded for the month of July."

Piece of cake.
Oct 21st, 2002, 07:38 PM
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Send him to Grandma's house instead.
Oct 21st, 2002, 10:33 PM
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I vote that he goes with a very clear understanding of the consequences should he bitch and whine the entire time. At this age "friends" come and go, but a trip like this, that is a once in a life time experience. In the words of Anna Nicole Smith to her 16 year old son Daniel " Quit your bitching and eat your pizza"... his sorry ass is on the plane, end of story. Have fun and shame on hubby for trying to get out of this trip too...its in the dog house for both of them...
Oct 22nd, 2002, 06:01 AM
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It is a very difficult age. Even if they sort of want to go they can be very difficult. We went to Greece two summers ago and my 15 year old decided he didn't like the beach and stayed in the room watching TV. Take your son along. Some things he will enjoy...somethings not. He may drive you crazy at times...but that is just what they do even when you are home.
Oct 22nd, 2002, 01:36 PM
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Is this his first girlfriend? True, he's probably not going to marry her - or even be with her six months from now - but he (and she) might as well use the opportunity to learn what relationships are like. People are individuals and need to spend some time apart - no healthy couple has to spend every day together. What's he going to do when he's 30 and he has to go on an extended business trip? Tell his boss he can't go because he can't be separated from his girlfriend/wife?

It's be one thing if this was a permenant move, or a year away, or something like that, but when you say "the holidays", I assume you mean December/January - most schools don't get more than a couple of weeks off anyway, do they?
Oct 22nd, 2002, 03:24 PM
not a Mom
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Maybe I lack common sense because I didn't get taken to Europe as a teenager. I actually had to wait until I was an adult and able to afford to pay for the trip myself.

And although I am not a parent, I certainly was raised by decent ones.
Oct 22nd, 2002, 04:26 PM
The Good Kid
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I think you should let the kid manipulate you and control what the family does. That's what my parents did with my brother. He graduated from childish tantrums to teen-age sulks and nastiness, and every time he got what he wanted. My parents always had an excuse for him. And he grew up to be a nasty, selfish, manipulative adult. Thanks, mom and dad.
Oct 22nd, 2002, 05:32 PM
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While I too agree with all the posters, I sympathize with the original poster. I have two teens and one once made a vacation pure misery for us--it's amazing how passive-aggressive even "nice" teens can be when they're going through a phase.

Some suggestions:

The most important thing is to make sure the trip includes plenty of things that he's likely to be interested in. If he's not interested in reviewing tour books or Web sites himself, you know him--pick out some things he's likely to enjoy. Come up with a tentative list of ideas and ask him about them. If he misses American fast food, include a couple of McDonald's lunches to humor him.

Second, don't insist that he be with you every single minute. Teens need time on their own occasionally. I wouldn't let him loose in a foreign country, of course, but if he occasionally wants to sleep in or watch TV in the hotel while you take in a museum he's not interested in, that's fine.

In addition to others' suggestions about paying for a phone card or some time at an Internet cafe, help finance a souvenir your son can give to his girlfriend when he gets back--and once you set a budget, don't interfere with his selection, however much you disagree with it.
Oct 22nd, 2002, 05:47 PM
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My son didn't want to go on the 22 day grand USA tour the summer after graduation before he left for college.
I had agreed to it before, so we made him go. I will admit he was a pain for the first three days but once we got to Yellowstone he changed his mood and even now he says what a great trip it was. Some people just have to be "forced" to have fun.

ps you could tell you son that even though you agreed to pay for college earlier you changed you mind because you wanted to buy a new car instead.
Oct 22nd, 2002, 06:14 PM
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hmmm had it right. He is sixteen. His hormones are raging. He is thinking of having the house and privacy and his girlfriend over and finally appeasing those not so pleasant uncared for hormones. Maybe an invite over for movies to his girlfriend, will finally persuade her that it is okay to go further. We've all been there.
Oct 22nd, 2002, 06:48 PM
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God, that makes me sick! It's about time the kid learned something about 'keeping your word', making a commitment, doing what's expected of you, and growing up." If he were my kid and he misbehaved whilst on a trip, I's leave him in Naples, (or whereever) and let him find his own way home."
Oct 22nd, 2002, 08:48 PM
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Boy- what I would have given for the opportunity to go to Paris when I was 16 . . . . I have 7 years until my youngest goes off to College. The oldest is 16 now. We have a whole list of places we want to visit before everyone goes to College. Greece, Rome, Australia, . . . . I don't think it has ever crossed anyone's mind that they would choose to miss the next adventure. . . . And if anyone ever did . . . . They would still go!!!
Oct 23rd, 2002, 05:16 AM
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I think a lot of people are being unnecessarily hard on your son. I remember being 16 or 17 with a boyfriend and not wanting to go away for a weekend. In the flimsy world of teenage crushes, a lot can change in a weekend apart. However, I had to go, and once I got where we were going, the time flew because my parents made sure we had fun.

I agree that he may need or want time alone. Let him sleep in if he wants or wander the neighborhood near the hotel. But I WOULD NOT under any circumstances let him stay home alone. Trust me, bad idea.

15 years later, I can barely remember the boyfriend I left behind, but those trips are some of my fondest family memories.
Oct 23rd, 2002, 06:15 AM
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He needs to go with you - my 16 year old son loved europe and just think, he can send his girlfriend postcards of the romantic spots with "wishing you were here" on them! Who knows, by the time the trip rolls around, she could be history.

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