A question about traveling with kids when the kids do not want to go.
There are a lot of blog posts about traveling with children, but I had somewhat of a different problem, and I would love to know what the readers think. What do you do when you have the chance to take a trip of a lifetime (for three months) and your almost, but not quite adult children (17, 14) say they will absolutely not go! Of course you could drag them along unwillingly. (Not a pleasant thought.) You could cancel the trip entirely and lose out on this unique opportunity. Or, you could leave them in the care of friends and family while you head off to the other side of the world.
My wife and I chose option 3 and had other people act in loco parentis for the duration of our trip. Many of our friends thought we were crazy (or perhaps just bad parents.) I have described this experience in the post \"Childless in Africa\" on my blog otherguysdime.wordpress.com, and I would love to hear comments from you about what you would do (or did do) when faced with this problem, a problem which does not seem all that uncommon. Do you think we bad parents? Would you go away and leave your teenage children in the care of responsible adults for three months? Please let me know what you think.
What do they say....ah teenagers...how do we deal with them...well...we don't, we just love them...
My little guy is nealry 10, so I do not have that issue yet. I guess your 17 is the leader of the two. At 17,you can make you own choices...and staying is one choice, doesn't stop you to go. Somehow I can understand their point of view...Mum, Dad, you don't understand, I'll be with you boring old guys for 3 months....and won't see my friends and my usual TV programs.
I have friends who have face the same issue when the went on expat positing, and this can be for way more than 3 months. so don't worry, you are not the onmly ones, and for sure you are not in the wrong.
My little cent of advise...to convince a teen, you simply needs to give them what they want...it's like a trade, if one of them have a special hobby...can you emphasize on this...or can you "help" creating a new one....photography ould be one buy "buying" a new camera...don't know what or who you buy, but the end result is what is important.
Good luck...if you want them with you...find a "goal" for them.....and if not, they will also learn by being more on their own....trust me, in 3 years, they will regret...that's another issue you'll have, later...
Mine are only 5 months and 21 months at the moment so I'm a long way off having to deal with this problem, although the eldest does like to say NO!
to everything even when he clearly means yes. 😊
If I was in your situation I'm almost certain I would choose the third option too and I'm sure my wife would agree. At 17 and 14, I think they're old enough to make their own decisions about their immediate future, and live with any regrets they may feel once they hear about all the fun and adventure you had. The thought of travelling with anyone reluctant to do it doesn't sound fun at all.
If you trust the people you're leaving their care to, and they're happy to be under that care then I don't really see what the issue is...
Here's a question for you:
Now that it's all over (my work filter won't allow me to see your other blog, so this is an assumption), do you think you made the right decision? Also do your children?
Great post btw....
Thanks for the nice comment about the post.
As for how things turned out, yes I am 100% sure it was the right decision as our kids were happy to stay home and we had a great time. In all honesty, I am not absolutely sure they would have enjoyed it as much as we did. As I will describe in the next post, our living accommodations were a bit spartan (to say the least) and as teenagers used to a middle class lifestyle it may not have been so easy for them to live there. (and maybe they would have surprised me and done well.) But as two flexible adults it was not a problem.
However, now that they are older, though, they bemoan their lost opportunity to have an all-expense paid three month safari to Africa. Ah, too bad that wisdom does not arrive until well after the teenage years! :-)
Hi Michael - Im really glad you posted this because I feel like the baddd parent for being a traveller. My boys are 14 and 15 and steadfastly refuse to leave Australia. Their comments on my destination choices are less than complimentary, oldest told his freinds I was in camfreakingwhatia or something and told me I was a freak for going to Papua New Guinea. When I am away im lucky to have a very cool arrangement with their father so he has them as we have joint custody anyway. I always feel like im a bad parent but they seem cool with the idea. I dont know that my sons wouldve ever enjoyed any of the places I visit and they dont dive and arent in love with the ocean so I guess nothings appealed to them yet. I have decided to give them both a RTW ticket for their 18th bdays so they can travel to the destinations they want (Hawaii, Vegas, Jamaica, Canada). Youngest has expressed a little bit of an interest in coming to Bhutan and Nepal next but I leave it up to them. Theyre teens with their whole world here and plugged in to all their friends so I guess I have to look at it as theyre happy and im happy so its a good thing.....and yes one day they will look back and think damn, i shouldve gone with mum!
Wait a minute....PNG...diving...and later on Buthan...and they don't like it...I'm sorry for you. But be reassure...one day they will say...sorry Mum...we didn't know... Mine is an addict to Discovery Chanel...he will be PADI junior in october...he cannot wait for it...or for his birthday... sooner....because he is only 9 and surprise me every single day...he is not happy that he cannot jump out of an aircraft or goes to Antartica....yet...
Only one advise...document what they say no to...later on, these are evidence to them that at least you did try.
Small note, wish every judge on earth would go for joint custody...sadly not the case...would make life better for the little ones...
Mike and Faye...don't worry, every day that come by is a better day....I have so many of my friends who have stopped to travel since the little ones are there...and they are so wrong....but at the same time, I've got so many other of my friends...who are getting so close not have have any little one ever...and they are so much more wrong...guys, you rock...speaking of Mike, Faye and all the others who are taking the littles on the road...
They are our joys, they are our lives, they are the future....we will simple have to live with few frustations...but trust me....these are so little to the joy!
Our teenage son also prefers to stay home and read or play computer games than go out travelling. He is now at the age where he prefers to hang out with his friends than come on a road trip with us.
My husband and I are going away for a short break in the coming week without the kids for our wedding anniversary. Eventhough we are only gonna be away for 3 nights, we can't help but to feel guilty and worried. It must be a parent "thing".
I also felt really guilty when I can't take my youngest son Ryan with me when I went to the Philippines with my eldest son to introduce him to his filipino heritage. My husband thought Ryan is too young to travel overseas at the time so he stayed home with him. Now that Ryan is old enough, we are planning for the whole family to travel to the Philippines end of next year !
It is pretty much an authoritarian rule in our household (until the kids are 18) when to comes to family trip 😄. We like the kids to tag along with major family holidays. Our eldest is not happy about our upcoming trip to New Zealand in Septempber, but I already booked the tickets so there's no backing out. However, we try to give our teenage son some space and let him stay home as he wishes if we are just going out on day trips or short breaks.
Even though we sometimes force our eldest son to travel with us against his will, I also believe that one day he's going to look back and glad that he spent the holidays with his parents.
Michael thanks so much for the suggestion of taking note of the destinations they have vetoed..I made a list with their reasons for not wanting to go and we did get a good laugh out of it...
Papua New Guinea - Theres cannibals there and nowhere to charge my IPOD.
Trobriand Islands - NO WAY theyre all naked with things on their 'willies' im not wearing a thing on my willy.
Micronesia - Sounds small.
Komodo - Dont be stupid, why do you want to go and look at big fat lizards thats what zoos are for.
Palau - whats there for us to do but sit on a boat and wait for your bubbles.
Guam - Sounds like a chewing gum (?)
Indonesian islands - bubbles again
China - we dont eat chinese
Thailand - we dont eat thai
Vietnam - we had a war with them
Cambodia - camfreakinwhatia? no ones ever heard of that place.
New Zealand - too many sheep (!) 😱
Nepal and Bhutan - we will think
about it but you better get one of those 'sherbets' to carry stuff.
The reason they want to go to Jamaica - "Bob Marley lives there"....they were gutted when I told them he was unfortunately no longer with us.
They have assured me they will come to the Galapagos to see Lonesome George. There is hope!