How to Make It Through a Road Trip With a Teen. How I survived a road trip with a full on teen and actually enjoy it! Tips for parents included.
We survived. We made it. Whew. I can now successfully check this off the parenting list. What exactly did we make it through?
A road trip with a teen. Yes, an eye rolling, sighing, moody teen sitting in the backseat for hundreds of miles.
And guess what? We actually had FUN. I know, amazing.
We’re not only still speaking but we just hugged like 5 minutes ago, so I’m going to categorize this family road trip a raging success.
(Here’s my post on planning this teenaged mother/daughter road trip royale or as I like to call it, how to ruin my daughter’s summer vacation.)
In case you’re planning to take a family road trip with a teen in tow, here are some of the ways we made it through our road trip without tears. (OK, maybe I cried once during the “Jet Ski Incident”. But don’t judge.)
1. Ignore the Eye Rolls.
To think that you’re going to take a teenager on a trip and not expect eye rolls is crazy. They’re going to happen. So be ready. You’ll mispronounce the name of a Pokemon. You’ll sing along to a Justin Beiber song.
Just know eye rolls are a vital part of your teen’s communication skills now. It’s the only way to signal how truly clueless you are.
What do I do?
I just pretend I don’t even realize that it’s happening. That tactic makes the eye rolls go away faster than any parental nagging.
2. Try to Resist the Urge to Pull Over and Go All “When I Was Your Age.”
Sometimes as a parent, you just get a parental flashback to when we were kids and justice came down swiftly. You knew that shit was about to get real when an adult pulled the car over to the shoulder and slammed on the brakes. Yeah, it’s nostalgic and all but guess what? It’s not 1980 and your kids are different. Plus, how many people our age are in dire need of therapy? Exactly. Not the best way to parent in the long run.
3. Be Ready for “I’m Bored.”
Your teen will go through internet withdrawal since she’ll be forced to go without technology for hours on end. No wifi. No youtube. Nothing to do but look out the window, draw, read, listen to the crappy local radio or TALK. WITH YOUR MOM.
It was sketchy for the first few hours, her brain was not used to being unplugged. Disconnected.
Slowly, as the miles wore on, and the silence wore her down, her brain adjusted. Plus, she knew that a secure internet connection was only as far away as the next hotel stop.
Which brings me to:
4. Build in Some Online Time.
We all need us some internet. She needed some online vegging out, web surfing and talking to her cat loving friends. Frankly Mom needed some mindless web time too. I mean, who am I to judge? I needed some Pinterest time to save pins of cupcakes I’m never going to bake and sappy quotes.
We’d sit next to each other on the bed and do our own thing for a while.
Build in that online time each evening in the hotel. Parent and teen will both need some online decompressing.
5. Don’t Be A Dictator.
You don’t have a baby in a carseat or a toddler in a booster seat anymore. She’s a teen, an adult in training. No she’s not a grownup yet, but the vacation will be a lot happier for everyone if she gets a say in the vacation planning. We sat down before we left and planned some activities we definitely wanted to do.
A happy teen gets a say. And having some input helps keep the moaning, groaning and eye rolls to a minimum.
Oh, and snacks. Don’t forget the snacks. Babies, toddlers, teens, and moms are all way happier with a car stocked with snacks. Plus, I don’t know of a single problem that a big ol’ bag of salty popcorn can’t solve.
Are you planning a road trip with a teen? You might be surprised, it might actually turn out to be a pretty memorable trip.
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