Say the word ‘holidays’ and it immediately conjures memories. Mine leap straight to fun, togetherness, sunshine, sand, smiles, and sticky fingers. 

Holidays are a chance to have a change from the regular routines that make life easier and also bring with them a sense of the familiar. Holidays offer an escape. An opportunity to change things around, and be different for a while. 

For families holidays make a space to be present together. To make memories. And spend time doing something different. 

For us, it was to make do with less. Camping meant time to spend inventing games, being quiet together, thinking up new ways to pass the time, and enjoying each other’s company. The days seemed to flow into one as we moved seamlessly through the trip; chatting, laughing, relaxing, loving, and enjoying a sense of togetherness. Always we found a fresh perspective from a change in routine and scenery. 

The holidays started way before the date. Planning, organising, anticipating, looking forward to the change are all a part of the experience. From way off as we talked about going, then setting a date, booking it in, and putting it on the calendar. Now the holiday seemed more real. 

Making a list and checking everything is done. Counting down with excitement and anticipation. Sharing our plans as we tell others what we’re doing. There was always a feeling of deserving. Of prioritising this precious time to be together.

No matter what happens with covid and lockdown plan out the days when you will be away. Mark them on the calendar. Know these days will be for you and your family to be on holiday together. Make that commitment now. The holidays are still happening. It may be they will look different. That’s ok. They can still be holidays. 

My rangatahi are waking up to the reality that their summer plans will be changed. Festivals they had eagerly purchased tickets to have been canceled. That’s disappointing for them. And at this time in their lives, the lockdown has taken away many things they were looking forward to celebrating. They are disappointed, frustrated, and feeling betrayed by life. Not all the time, but those feelings are there. And it’s important they are acknowledged, not stuffed down. 

Our job as parents is to teach our teenagers to choose their attitude towards this change in their summer plans. Yes, our teenagers will be disappointed. Meet them there. In their disappointment. Help them deal with it, by talking it through with them, more than once.

Pretending to them, and to yourself, that everything will be okay is denying them the chance to express their feelings, and it’s taking away an opportunity for you to have a series of beautiful conversations with them. Conversations that will be a chance to share your values and wisdom as you accept their disappointments with them. 

This isn’t a problem we can solve for them. Our hands are tied. It is a problem we can face together, on the same side, choosing our attitude towards it. 

Ask for their suggestions on holidays – what they’d like to do instead, from a home base if necessary – and get out there and do them. Honour the requests. 

It is still summer after all. And we can choose to enjoy our summer. Together. Making memories for years to come. 

Discover how to have brave and beautiful conversations with your rangatahi. Enroll in Teen Talk ™ and begin making the changes you want to see in your relationship with your young people. Showing up differently as a parent will make space for your adolescents to choose a different response.

Please share this content with anyone who will find it valuable. Kia ora.