13-Year-Old Doesn’t Want to Go On Family Vacation

Question

I have a trip planned with family to Disney in a few days. My son broke his hand and now says he does not even want to go if we can’t go to the water park. The trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us. And another family is going. There are plenty of other things planned besides a day at the water park. He is 13 and demanding to get his way. Do I cancel the trip?? Do make him go anyway? Help!

Answer

Thank you for reaching out to Parent Guru. The teenage years are filled with mixed emotions. The trick is not to run your house based on the emotions of a teenager. In the long run, you and your son will be happier if you make decisions based on the best interest of the family. Family vacations are a great way to connect with each other, build good memories and simply have some fun away from the usual routine.

No, you should not cancel the trip. Yes, you should set the expectation that your son will be joining you on the family vacation. I would "unemotionally" say, "the family has plans to go to Disney and I am sorry you have a broken hand, but we will make the best of it and find some fun things to do anyway." And stick with your decision. It is never wise to argue or debate with teenagers, so I would not engage in lengthy discussions with him about it. If he offers protests, then simply say, I understand why you would be upset about having a broken hand on vacation and walk away.

There will be many times in his life when the situation is not ideal and he will have to make the best of it. This is a great opportunity to let him work through doing something he does not "feel" like doing. Most likely, he will end up enjoying himself. But I would not let his mood affect you in any way. As a good leader, you can set the tone of the vacation and if he decides he is going to be miserable, then that is his choice. Many parents try to control something out of their control and it only leads to rebellion. You will never be able to control his attitude. Leave the responsibility of it up to him. Do your best to enjoy yourself and the rest of your family.

Hopefully, this helps!

Sincerely,
Alyson Hudson
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
alysonshudson@gmail.com

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