After a month of exams (youngest teen) and a hectic spell at work for both MAD and me, we recently decided we had earned some serious R & R. Oldest teen finished his foundation course weeks ago, but nonetheless decided he too needed a break – after all, going to the pub every night, watching the entire series of The Wire and sitting around in your pants, playing Grand Theft Auto, can take it out of you. So for the first time in years, we took advantage of non term time prices and took ourselves off on holiday.
Taking older teens on holiday seems to have more advantages than disadvantages. One has many opportunities to feel smug and glad you no longer having crying babies, squabbling siblings or dilemmas about keeping your two year old up till 3am every night, so that you can drink sangria and smoke fags with your mates. You can sit by the pool with a book without panicking about everyone drowning and there’s no longer any need to constantly wake up your sun worshipping partner and firmly suggest that it might be “his turn to play table tennis/mini golf/Pokemon/Top Trumps/etc etc.”
You can take off and visit local historical places of interest/shops/flea markets without anyone moaning or demanding ice creams every five minutes and can also try out interesting local restaurants without the restraints of a committed carnivore and strict vegetarian – actually that’s still true – but they are a little more adventurous than when they were younger.
In fact generally holidays with teens are a lot more relaxed than travelling with small children. That is assuming they haven’t brought friends with them and are old and responsible enough to go to random Spanish nightclubs till 5am with the local boys. But quite frankly, I find if you drink enough Sangria, everything works out fine!
Having family holidays with older teenagers also gives everyone the time to sit and talk over meals and catch up – something that can be hard to do at home, with everyone leading separate lives. I enjoy my kids company and love to hear their thoughts on the world and share their hopes for the future. I feel really lucky that they seem to enjoy spending time with us and treasure these times as much as I did those (tiring) holidays when they were little.
When discussing how long this will continue with MAD at the end of the holiday, I think I found the answer.
“The thing is,” he said “it’s like having two cool, younger friends, who like to chat and go for drinks and meals with us – but who never bloody pay for anything.”