Filed under: Entertaining Kids at Camp, Family Camping
You Want Me To Go Where? Camping With Teens
We have been blessed with four beautiful children – a teenager, two preteens and a toddler. And while they all have their moments at times, I have to admit, camping with older kids is by far the most challenging.
As a whole, they’re a pretty tough bunch to please. Friends, sports and trips to the mall are all hard to compete with. And all those hormones can make for some serious attitude problems.
But have no fear. It is possible to go on a family camping trip with your teenager — without making everyone involved miserable in the process. It’s all a matter of striking the right balance between your child’s new-found desires and those of the rest of the family.
At least at this point, we’ve made it very clear to our kids that we are a camping family — plain and simple. They will come with us and we will spend time together. Staying home alone is not an option. That said, we’ve been around the block a few times and understand fully that if our teen isn’t happy, then nobody’s happy.
So we find the best approach is one of compromise. For example, my husband and I love to get away from it all. We’d be happy to fill our days with hiking, biking and enjoying the wilderness.
Our kids also enjoyed this when they were younger, spending hours upon hours playing in the dirt, searching for bugs or climbing the nearest tree. But that was then.
Now our older kids have other ideas of what constitutes “fun.” These usually involve either something electronic, something they can do with their friends or something extremely expensive – usually available at the local shopping establishment.
This is where the compromise comes in. My husband and I have come to the realization that sometimes we must sacrifice our beautiful campsite in the wilderness in order to avoid the makings of WWIII. We’ve also found that a pool, a general store and a rec room goes a long way to ensuring familial harmony.
Our kids’ compromise when it comes to our antiquated (at least that’s what they tell us) views of TV. While we have a DVD in the car for road trips, we do not allow a TV in the trailer. Other small electronics yes, but TV, no. Instead we spend most nights by a campfire or playing board games or cards.
But for our youngest, gone are the days when the kids would play happily in the dirt beside us. However, thanks to the modern conveniences found at so many campgrounds, my brood will keep busy in the water, get their shopping fix satisfied and be able to make some new friends along the way.