Why a holiday with teenagers is the ultimate parenting challenge

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Holidays with teens
Alison from Mad House Mum was selected by our BISS August panel and in her guest blog has her say about the realities of holidaying with teens...

'Let's talk about sex baby...'
'Are all the songs you listen to about sex?'
'No. They're just the ones I sing.'

Aaah, on holiday with teenagers. What can I say? Well, you quickly realise that you mustn't dare try to say anything to them if they're on their phones and god forbid the villa doesn't have WiFi.

This means that catching up on Snapchat streaks, Instagram and Facebook has to be done in cafés. Teens work fast when a streak is at stake: break a streak and they literally die. Your teenagers will quickly have the WiFi password to every café in the local area and once they realise that they can actually sit on the public bench next to the café and still get the WiFi, they won't even need to embarrass themselves by sitting with you.

If there is, however, the occasional time when you want them to join you - without their phones - it will probably prove to be pretty much an impossibility. One lunchtime over tapas on our recent holiday in Spain, I sat at the top of the table, large glass of Rioja in hand and surveyed the scene: 4 teenagers, heads down, incommunicado.

'We've bought you this meal' I announced, taking matters into my own hands, 'the least you lot can have the decency to do is put down your phones while you're eating.'

They vaguely looked up and very slowly, very reluctantly put their phones on the table - screens still clearly on view to catch any notifications that may appear. My eldest daughter was still hanging on to hers. 'I just have to reply to this streak quickly'. 'Why?' I questioned, with the stupidity of a parent. 'Because otherwise my friend will think I'm really rude!' Oh, the irony.

So, instead, you will spend your entire holiday watching your teens pouting and gurning into their screens, whilst at the same time rugby tackling you to the floor whenever you take a photo of them. They will zoom in and check every feature at close range, only to announce that they look disgusting, that there is no way that is getting posted on Facebook and if you do they will report you.

You are very quickly left wondering what happened to those cute little toddlers who waddled around in swim nappies, not caring if their bum looked too big. I smugly thought to myself how easy holidays will finally be now that the kids are all older...don't be fooled.

Holidays with teenagers present new challenges. Little ones squeal and shriek with delight, thus endorsing the fun factor of being away. Teenagers have the ability to look utterly miserable for the entire vacation, forcing you to drink copious amounts of cheap wine, whilst telling yourself to ignore them, until you get home when they will immediately announce that they miss it and want to be back.

Yes, expect a holiday with teenagers to be drenched in the 3 s's: selfies, strops and silence.

Continued below...

Alison was selected as a BISS guest blogger after entering our August linky. For your chance to write for GoodtoKnow, check out our Because I Said So platform.

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Lovely comments - thank you x


Yes, it starts early, doesn't it? That shocked me too. When my youngest was year 6 and they started having class group chats. I wasn't at all sure about it. You end up having to go with it really, but monitoring it, of course. Start the rules early! Thank you for your comments.


Thank you for your lovely comments. It is scary! I'm not going to lie - things definitely get more complicated in many respects, but of course more simplified in others: you can pee by yourself for starters - happy days :)


Ouch - that was brave. Well done! I'm glad it worked out ok :)

A mum track mind

Hmm this sounds familiar after a week away with ours!! There was no WIFI and we made them leave their phones at home! Guess how that went down?! Haha it turned out ok in the end though. Thanks for sharing on #fortheloveofBLOG x

Muma on the Edge

This is brilliant I really enjoyed reading this- it's also extremely scary!! My God, I am not looking forward to that phase at all, might just cry into my coffee now that things aren't going to improve, but just get more and more complicated for Muma!!! big love, L xx #momsterslink

Alex Fihema

My nine year old is showing similar signs. Your post has been very insightful, I might implement my parents rules on this 'no phones at the table' #KCACOLS

Mindful Mummy Mission

LOVE THIS - you had me giggling from the photo at the top and then all the way through - yes I can well imagine it will be like this and I will be yearning for the crazy days of sleep deprived toddlerdom. Great post and you've helped me understand snapchat a bit too!!! x #fortheloveofBLOG


My children are still very young so this is a good heads up, I have all of this to come! #KCACOLS


No! They were all most disgruntled that we were only taking hand luggage and there was a lot of: if you take this for me...between the sisters going on. 9 bikinis for a 10 day holiday? Enough said!


Yes, that's what I told my partner!


I have an 11 year old and she was just as bad when we were away. I guess you have to think of the positive that at least they are quiet and you can lounge in peace lol. #fortheloveofBLOG


I'm guessing the amount of 'crap' they take with them doesn't reduce wither? Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics


Be very afraid! Tee hee hee :)


Help me - I'm still learning! Thank you for your comments :)


Well, at first I allowed it to annoy me and after a while I said to my partner: they're happy, let's enjoy the peace! The girls told me that if there was wifi in the villa, they wouldn't be so desperate!


ha ha the photo says it all really! Could have been a scene from my holiday too! What are we to do?! #FridayFrolics

Lisa Pomerantz

Oh we see so many families out and about with the bigs, toting phones and walking into poles without a flinch. These damned smart phones will bethe downfall of communication and famiy and ... oy vey iz mir, I'm ranting. I just remember life fondly before I had to LOL ot LMAO at every comment. Good luck with those teens! I will learn from you as mine are still younger. M'wah! #momsterlink

Island Living 365

Oh my goodness, this makes me fearful for my little ones become teenagers! Eeks #FridayFrolics


Don't dread it, embrace it...with wine and humour - large amounts of each :)

My Petit Canard

I am dreading this stage of parenting, it sounds sooooooo stressful. Toddlers are a handful, but teens are a whole other ball game! Well done mama, it sounds like you earned every glass of Rioja ;-) Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily


It'll run and run and probably still be running when you're at this stage!

Annette, 3 Little Buttons

Ah, the good old screen time vs be present we are on holiday time. We have a long way to go till we get here thank goodness. Thank you for joining us for the #DreamTeam


That's the trouble...we remember!


It's a cult!


We went away with 9 families and there were 14 teenagers and they took over the lounge room (adults were relegated to the dining room) and sat in the dark, music blaring, all on phones or laptops, chuckling away but no one talking to anyone present....#Stayclassymama

Emma Easton

Haha yes I'm dreading mine being teens if they are anything like a moody as I was x #KCACOLS


I just wanted to make parents of little ones feel better!


Yes do! Although, it's not ALL bad...erm...they can swim, for example :)


The only good thing about a streak is that it doesn't involve taking your clothes off...

The Motherhub Blog

right well i have no idea what a streak is so i am totally past it - i think back to myself as a teen on holidays and i was bloody awful, and thats without social media ! #stayclassymama

Madeline Littlejohns

Haha, I'd better make the most of things while my 2 are still little! x #KCACOLS

Silly Mummy

Haha! Sounds like fun! Perhaps little ones aren't the worst holiday goers after all! Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time.


Holidays are stressful, aren't they? I wasn't ready for the social media onslaught though. I should know better, as I have 6 kids/step kids. It just goes to show we're all still learning AND I think the influence of social media is increasing. They were certainly feeling the pressure and so were we!

Talya Stone

I think any holiday as a parent is challenging but I can see how it's uber challenging with teens....not looking forward to that at all! #coolmumclub


Yes, definitely :) x

Blissful Domestic

I have all this to come! I really don't understand Snap chat! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS, hope you can come back again Sunday after next x


Thank you Fran :)

Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine

Love this Alison!


Thank you so much for sharing and for your lovely comments :)


The holiday dripped in irony! Thank you for your comments.

Spectrum Mum

OMG I am totally dreading the 3 S' Es. Oh the irony of your daughter not wanting to appear rude. Great post! #DreamTeam


Oh this is brilliant! I sat here giggling away as my son has just started with all this and he's only 10. I know that he is only going to get worse. Brill post and I've shared on FB! #dreamteam xx


Of course, it may all have changed again by then! Scary stuff. Just enjoy each stage I guess :)

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