Teens and the family vacation

Dear Mr. Dad: Every summer our family takes a two-week trip to a national park in the Rockies. We camp, we hike, we fish, we explore. Until recently, it’s been the high point of the year for everyone. Now my oldest is fifteen, and at the mere suggestion of this year’s trip, she yelled, “No way am I going on that lame trip again!” Lame? She used to love these vacations! What are we supposed to do?

A: Ouch! Hurts, doesn’t it? Just like the whole package of teen rebellion, it’s hard to take these angry rejections well. But it’s important to put them into the context of a larger change in your relationship.

Adolescence is a period during when teens naturally begins to pull away from their parents, to define themselves as their own people, to stop being so embarrassingly dependent on you. So the good news is that your daughter is developmentally right on target, doing exactly what she’s supposed to be doing at her age. Remembering that can help take some of the sting out of such moments. Not all of it, but a bit.
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Traveling with Kids

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m traveling alone with my 3-month old daughter and my 4-year old son over Spring break. It’ll be a long flight and I’m already dreading it. How can I make it easier on myself, my kids, and the people around is?

A: Air travel is already plenty stressful. Throw in two young kids and your hair will turn grey just thinking about it. For many traveling parents, the problems start when they try to get everyone through security. You can reduce some of the stress by putting everyone in slip-on shoes (you’ll all have to take them off—even the baby), and having the baby in some kind of wearable carrier (as long as it doesn’t have any metal parts you should be able to leave it on).
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