In your children’s first years, you may have had a symbiotic relationship with them. When this phase is over, holidays can become a delicate time: a grumpy teenager and irritated parents… Feel a little tension in the air? How about cutting your children some slack during the holidays?
Vacations with your children: why is it so touchy?
Seaside, mountain or countryside? Family house or camping? There comes a certain age when your children don’t really care about your holiday destination anymore. What matters to them is being independent and spending time with their friends! From their pre-teen years, as parents, you will most likely have to face certain requests that may make you feel old…: your little baby wants to go out on his/her own, meet his/her friends and have fun… far from your sight. What anxiety! How can you keep your children safe and make sure they respect boundaries, and still give them autonomy?
Forcing them to stay next to you would be counter-productive: a teenager needs to break away from mommy and daddy, especially in a context (holidays) where they are likely to meet other teenagers for the first time. They are eager to show their good side… That of independent teenagers for instance, with “cool” parents who let them come and go in all freedom. Which is not exactly compatible with a need of constant supervision!
You should also be aware that your teenager needs to be trusted. Of course, adolescence is a time when they experiment, but they will only be correctly balanced if you give them space and, therefore, let them take certain risks. Trusting your teenager also means that, whatever happens, you know they won’t go too far: your children are aware of the boundaries that you set with them and they’re not going to cross them that easily. They know they can lose big…
During the holidays, what is the right time to give your children autonomy?
Several elements should be taken into account to evaluate how much freedom you can grant your kids while ensuring their safety: the context (are there roads around, an access to the sea…), their age and their friends’ age, their mode of transportation (are they walking, taking public transports, riding a bike?)…
Since 8 years old
Going to the park or the playground to meet with their friends: they can walk or bike there if the path is safe. You can discreetly walk by to make sure that your children are where they said they would be, then come pick them up at the time that you agreed upon.
Since 10/11 years old
Your children know the potential dangers of the road: they have started going on longer bike rides. It is generally between 11 and 14 years old that they start asking to meet with their friends outside of the house: an afternoon at the beach or an evening at a friend’s house. Make sure that you set boundaries (for instance, pick up time should be non-negotiable) and contact the other parents!
Since 15 years old
According to your child’s maturity and your trust in him/her, you can start thinking of letting them leave with friends for a few days. It is still essential to remind them of safety rules, and meet with the friends’ parents first, so that you can stay in touch and create a sort of “safety net” in case anything happens!
What is necessary for their autonomy?
A cell phone: you can start considering it from the age of 10, solely for the holidays, in order to stay in touch with your children. Choose a device that is simple and more importantly, robust! It is not about having the latest trendy smartphone, it’s about feeling safe.
The GPS tracker: probably the most simple and cheapest solution (giving your teenager a mobile phone can bring certain surprises when it comes to paying the bill…)! The Weenect Kids unit allows them to contact you on your phone if necessary; thanks to its GPS tracker, you can geolocate your child and will be notified whenever he/she crosses the limits of the security zone that you defined. Each of your child’s regular paths can be set up in the device: you can follow his/her moves even if you’re not around. It is a virtual link to you, that allows your children to trace their own path, during the ideal time of the year: no obligations, no homework, no school the next day… Just your trust to fulfill!
Giving space and freedom to your children during the holidays, in a laid-back and friendly environment, is a great way to lead them to full autonomy. From the age of 8 years old, under your watch, they can start building their own social cues. Later on, they will spread their wings and fly on their own, equipped with certain devices that will guarantee their safety. Holidays are probably the best time of the year to experiment!Several elements should be taken into account to evaluate how much freedom you can grant your kids while ensuring their safety. Click To Tweet