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Peaceful Vacation Scheme — 2 Comments

  1. Dear Minou,
    Good questions and it caught me just as I am heading for vacation, so my answer may not be as thought out as others.
    I have two completely different reactions to your questions. The first seems a bit playful and blunt, but is based on a lot of my experience.
    Don't do it! Years ago someone asked me, during a lecture on child developmental stages, “How do you manage a two or three year old kid in a fancy restaurant?” My instant reaction was, “You don't. Kids that age are not designed for a restaurant. They are built for a playground, a city part, a campsite. If you take your toddler to a fancy restaurant you will probably end up worn out and ashamed of how you had to act in public.”
    Well, your situation seems a bit the same. Teenage kids are, in my humble opinion, rarely designed to go on a vacation with their parents. Most often they are ready to go off on their own and continue the process of learning who they are in the world. Thus summer camps, schools, etc. seem perfect for them. That age kid (or young adult) seems to much more interested in their peers than in their parents – and I think that is just right. Taking them on vacation seems risky.
    Besides, these two don't seem to be marching to a similar drummer and thus probably would prefer a different vacation venue from you and each other.
    One of the thoughest messages I think I give to parents is to “back off, let your kids go, prepare for life without them.” If you just want to hold the “family together.” you might reconsider it. For you is the bigger task of learning to be peaceful partners with each other alone for the rest of your lives. Tis just my thoughts and …Well, that is answer #1.
    My other thought comes from working with kids in our household. As Sandra and I were learning to really take turns, we decided to divide the week up into 6 days (3 each) and one day off. Turned out to be Monday, that day off. We had notes up around the house reminding us of our duties. One of our grandkids noticed. She said, “Can I have Monday?” In those days we called the days, Encouragement Days.
    So my thought is that you might try rotating among you the title of Encouragement Day or its equivalent, but still you two alternate who makes the decisions for the day. Perhaps on Monday, your day, you interview the kid whose encouragement day it is first. Then when you make the decision, you put that kid a bit above everyone – make the day a bit special for that one.
    I am not sure about this, but it's worth a try. Let me know how it works. (I still prefer a romantic vacation for just the two of you. Send the gentle kid to grandma's and send the other to military camp. 🙂
    Told you this might not be worth much.

  2. What a nice way to share your vacation! I really like that.
    I have a question. How would this work if you each had one teenager from another mariage that go with you on holiday, would they too have a turn on decision making? Consider this, one teen is quite competitive and manipulative in a way that he knows how to get somebody do almost anything he wants (he has a brother and uses manipulation to get his way and sometimes is manipulated from his brother as well). The other teenager going on vacation does not have a manipulation bone in him, is straightforward and does not play games. When he had a turn in the past, the other teen rarely wanted to do what he chose. This is quite frustrating for me and my son.
    Thank you.

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