Family Tricks for Teenage Kicks

If you’ve got teenage boys, holidays need thinking about. We’ve all been there, if the kids aren’t entertained, they have a happy knack of making sure that no one else is going to be singing a happy tune either. Incidentally, don’t try singing happy tunes to teenage boys in public; they may be liable to get either you or themselves arrested. Either way the results can be out of all proportion to your musical efforts.

They may not always be the best at expressing what they want, but it’s a fair bet that your teenager will have at least a modicum of sporting interest. Something about testosterone, peer pressure and the idea that one day they are destined to be a multi-millionaire thanks to their own athletic prowess means that building a sporting event into a trip can win them over early. It also means that you have some sort of leverage when it comes to negotiating the rest of the trip.

Selling the delights of the Italian countryside to a grumpy adolescent can be testing. Much better is to wrap it up in a discussion of the latest Serie A betting along with mention of the possibility of popping in to watch Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico on a Sunday afternoon. You might even have a conversation worthy of the name!

Of course, it doesn’t have to be football, just as it doesn’t have to be Italy. Cricket, tennis, rugby or baseball are all equally apt. The key point is to identify an event that is on-board with your son’s interests and to take it from there. The sporting world may not be your oyster, but it may well be theirs. Seeing the world through their eyes as well as your own can make life a whole lot easier.

Extending this logic, concert venues and festivals represent equally useful focal points for your trip. Remembering that teenagers are essentially herd animals, the simple rationale to follow is to think big – the bigger the better. Anything that draws a crowd is a good basis for consideration. Beyond that, anything that may involve physical harm to one of the participants is a sure fire winner. Running the bulls in Pamplona (pictured below) may be going a bit far, but it is certainly one to consider if Northern Spain is part of your itinerary.

Pamplona, running of the bulls by Flickr user inthesitymad (used under creative commons)

Pamplona, running of the bulls by Flickr user inthesitymad (used under creative commons)


by inthesitymad

In truth, catering for teenagers away from home is a niche that few providers make any effort to cater to. Whilst there are – by comparison – abundant resources devoted to the family market (a euphemistic reference to people with small children) the level of provision for young adults is markedly scant.

It puts the onus on parents to construct their own packages and tour plans, and whilst that, for many, is part of the fun of travelling in the first place, there are plenty of people who would rather not have to go to the bother.

The danger is that those people simply drag their teenage kids around with them like some sort of long-suffering captive. Building in at least one show stopping sporting event to your plans can make for a far more harmonious family holiday.

Remember, teenagers aren’t for life – it just feels that way.