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How can we have meaningful 24 hr. drive w/ 14 & 16 yr. old?

How can we have meaningful 24 hr. drive w/ 14 & 16 yr. old?

Dec 17th, 2001, 11:25 AM
  #1  
Judy
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How can we have meaningful 24 hr. drive w/ 14 & 16 yr. old?

We are a family of four - (16 & 14 yr. old sons)driving from the Northeast to Florida on Thursday.

I would like take advantage of our time together to engage in some meaningful, thought provoking, quality time together talking and sharing.

Does anyone have any suggestions of a book that could be a basis for discussion. It could be very short stories, anecdotes, spiritual in nature? I thought of " Chicken Soup for the Soul". Please don't suggest the bible or anything religious.

Thanks alot. They can only be plugged in to their headphones listening to their own music for so many hours.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 11:32 AM
  #2  
jes helpin
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You'll want to post these types of questions to the Traveling with Kids section (Special Interests forum)...

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=136
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 12:29 PM
  #3  
travellyn
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If this is a serious post (or even if not), I heartily recommend having on hand a variety of unabridged books on tape. We make a couple of really long drives a year with kids who are now 9 and 12 years old.

Adventure-type stories go over well with our son. Older classics are often a lot more interesting to listen to than to read for kids that age. Ask a librarian or knowlegable book store clerk for recommendations of titles you might all enjoy.

We never start with a goal of meaningful sharing; we're just trying to survive the trip, but some good conversation does often occur.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 12:34 PM
  #4  
Rachel
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I don't have any suggestions, but sure will be watching the answers. 12 hours is my limit for a family drive for vacation. we have a small tv/vcr combo that plugs into the cigarette lighter in our car (well worth the $200 it cost). we have traditional car movies that we only watch on long journeys. the kids aren't usually in a meaningful mood when driving for long stretches. sometimes we talk about our destination or things we see along the way, but that only goes so far. I'm really interested in what others do to pass the time. Drive safely
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 12:44 PM
  #5  
NJgirl
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We drove from NJ to Sanibel Island one year with our teenage son.I took a bunch of books on tape , James Patterson,murder mysteries,old radio mysteries,old radio comedies.That and music were all we could do,he gets car sick My husband lived for a time in India and our son loved to hear stories about life in India,living on a houseboat in Kashmir,that sort of thing...instead of a book with someone elses ideas, how about just talking to your sons about your own lives? I wish I had heard more stories about my fathers life, he died young and I would have loved to have heard from him the stories about his growing up...
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 12:56 PM
  #6  
Dad
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Judy,

There have been several very funny questions today, but yours is GREAT!!!
"Meaningful, thought provoking, quality time together talking and sharing"....What a riot. Your head must be in the clouds or somewhere.

If you intend to do this on a 12/24 hr drive, you have already LOST.

Dad

Dad
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 01:11 PM
  #7  
S
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I make regular 12 hour trips with 2 girls, 12 & 7. Books on tape. TV/VCR Combination. Game Boys (we don't have these). Personal CD players. Regular books. Have a variety of options.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 01:17 PM
  #8  
Michelle
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I travelled with my two sons, ages 11 and 15, last week on a four-hour flight. I had brought along a book I got from the library called "If...Questions for Teens" by McFarlane & Saywell. It provided "some" opportunity for talking and sharing on our flight. My younger son was keen to query his older brother, and I learned a lot just listening as they both answered questions. They were even curious to hear my answers to a few!
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 01:23 PM
  #9  
Marcya
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Judy, your sons are going to mutiny very quickly if you plan to program all their time in the car. You're in danger of turning it into a jail-on-wheels, and think about whether ANYONE can handle being locked in a small room with the same 3 other people nonstop and being told they MUST talk MEANINGFULLY. They will crave some time to their own thoughts (or their own CD), esp. at this age, so give them a break from time to time.

A book on tape is a good idea if it's not more than about 6 or 7 hrs. (maybe two books if the first works okay), but I'd recommend a) break up the listening and talking part of the trip with some solo time.

As to subject? Anything philosophical or essayistic will put everyone to sleep quickly, and you certainly don't want the driver to do that. Much better idea would be science fiction, which often poses questions about the nature of mankind and the future of society, in the guise of fiction. I open it up to Fodorites for favorites -- Orson Scott Card? Ray Bradbury?

Otherwise, maybe a mystery -- stop after each cassette and talk about what's going to happen, who dunnit, etc.. And I often bring along some humor, like Steve Martin, George Carlin, etc. Passes the time and, again, may raise some social issues if you want them to.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 01:55 PM
  #10  
travellyn
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Some books we have listened to together:

Holes - good for parents, 8 year old boy, 11 year old girl

Pride and Prejudice - good for all but 8 year old boy, who listened to own tapes on walkman

Around the World in 80 Days (abridged) - good for everyone, but made parents drive too fast

Hobbit / Lord of the Rings (dramatization)- good for everyone but mom, who didn't like all the yelling and couldn't tell voices apart

Apollo 13 (abridged) - good for everyone

James Herriott stories - good for all

Ann of Green Gables - good for all

This year we are listening to some of the Redwall series.

We rarely listen to 2 tapes back to back, but finish one and drive 20-40 minutes to the next gas station, etc., before going to the next cassette. This is when the "meaningful" conversation occurs. It's rarely directly about the book.

P.S. These drives are up to about 20 hours each way, but broken up by visits to various family members' houses for up to a couple of days at a time. We have actually gotten to the point that we enjoy parts of the drive at times.

 
Dec 17th, 2001, 02:58 PM
  #11  
diane
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We traveled from MD. to California with a 7-year-old girl and two boys 9 and 13. I took several books on tape, but the only one ALL of us enjoyed was Jack London's "Call of the Wild." That was 16 years ago and the selection of books was more limited then.

We always played travel games, which got harder as the children got older, but I don't know if you could suddenly establish that. We kept a written record of all the state license plates we say and asked each other questions about their capitals, what states border them, nearby bodies of water, etc. Later we branched out into countries all over the world (without being there). It got to the point that the only kind of challenging question we could ask my husband was, "If you fly from Brussels to Bangladesh, name all the countries you fly over."
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 03:43 PM
  #12  
Fay
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When I would take car trips when my son was young, I would have him plan some of the schedule and some of the stops along the way. It was a way to get him interested and not know he was "learning". Also he would look up interesting aspects of the towns we were passing through. Such as the "raison capital of the world". We would plan short side trips to visit places he found interesting in his research.
He turned out to be an intelligent young man with varied interests and has told us that he always liked being included in the planning of our car trips. We never talked "down" to him or expected him to be bored or boring, and he wasn't.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 03:44 PM
  #13  
Fay
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Um, that is raisin capital.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 06:22 PM
  #14  
oh yeah
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I assume that the 16 year old has at least some license to drive? Let him take the wheel for a while, it'll make him feel like a hero. Stop at South of the Border and let them pick up some fireworks. I used to HATE trips with the family when I was a kid precisely because of all of the rules. If you let them figuatively stretch their legs you will find much less resistance. On the journey give them freedoms usually denied at home, and maybe they will start to talk.

Please post a trip report when you get home, I'll seriously be interested to hear how the ride went.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 06:26 PM
  #15  
weed
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your 16 year old is going to seriously miss smoking pot - seriously. I recommend toking spleefs to gain a level of spiritual consciousness. No religious talk will be required. Also, wake and baking makes the time fly. Be sure to bring lots of peanut butter.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 06:27 PM
  #16  
Kathy
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You one funny lady!!!!!! You are wrong tho, they CAN be plugged into their headphones with their music for way more than 24 hours. Don't force them out of their headphones. 24 hours in a car is a nightmare, anytime. We're leaving tomorrow for florida from the upper penninsula in Michigan and got amazing $243 air fare. I drove it once with my "sweet" children. Will NEVER do it again.

Good luck
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 06:34 PM
  #17  
oh no!
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You have great intentions! Just remember not to force anything on the kids. During the 24 hours, you'll have time to talk to them, it's inevitable. But, keep in mind that they are going to be more cranky, more upset, and more distant than usual. Good luck!
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 06:39 PM
  #18  
Judy
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Thanks everyone for your own experiences and some great suggestions. I am going to the library tomorrow and will pick up a variety of books/tapes. I like the idea of the "If..Questions for teens" book. I was also told about a book " Would you Rather". Sounds fun.

I try and collect interesting articles that I think would be interesting to talk about, like an article in the Sunday Parade section one week - "What to teach your child before they are 18".

My son's theater teacher was telling us about a bunch of different improv games that will pass the time. Ex. You are having a dinner party - who do want on your guest list ( anybody from history, or fictional characters) and why?

Thanks again. I am looking forward to solo time, music, talking and most importantly making memories - even on a long car ride.

 
Dec 17th, 2001, 06:46 PM
  #19  
californiagirl
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Judy-when I was small, my dad drove my mom and I across the US from San Diego to North Carolina where we would be living.I remember taking pictures in the mountains and playing with the little farm animals they bought me in their own little barn I also remember being really bored and sometimes car sick...I hope your trip makes better memories than mine
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 07:32 PM
  #20  
No, Really
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Judy Judy Judy. (I always wanted to say that.)

Either you've spawned some weird young men or your "talk to a teen meaningfully" project is going to strike the rocks badly. Maybe a 14-yr. or 16-yr. girl would be willing to participate in "what to teach your kid before 18" or "Questions for Teens," but I predict your boys will get fed up with that pretty quickly and give you blow-off answers.

On the other hand, if you get the idea right out of your head that this is a great Teaching Opportunity and shift gears to having fun, MAYBE you have hope. Games like "who would you invite to dinner" will work well IF the timing is right.

And let me point out that I assume you will stop from time to time for a sit-down meal and that's a much better time to go for actual conversation, not when people are looking at the backs of other people's heads or zoning out listening to music and looking out the window.
 

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