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Son Refuses To Go On Vacation With The Family

"Our son is refusing to go on vacation with us for a 'spring break' to visit my parents in a neighboring State (me, my wife, two other teenage boys). We have planned this for some time now. He says we can't make him go - he wants to spend the week with his friend (who is a bad influence). What can we do? I'm worried he will come up missing on the day of departure."

You can do one of two things:

1. Issue a warning: “If you choose to go AWOL when we get ready to leave, you’ll choose the consequence, which is I’ll stay home with you – and you’ll be grounded with no privileges.”

This option stinks however, because in the event he can’t be found at time of departure, you have to follow through with the consequence (or kidnap him and follow behind the others in a separate vehicle).

2. In the event you have a trusted family member or friend, you could allow your son to stay with them while you’re gone – with one caveat: that is, make sure his temporary caretakers are willing to call the police in the event your son comes up missing from their residence. Advise your son accordingly of this potential consequence.

I find myself planning trips based on the most difficult to accommodate person, who would be my oldest. He loves riding the train, plane, is even OK with a car trip so long as the destination holds his interest. Otherwise, I have strong resistance, which is tiring. Then if we force him to go someplace he is scowling the entire time. Which we'll have him do for character building but I think we suffer through it as a group.

One solution we've found is church camp [but with the virus issue, they may not be having it this year]. He goes to camp, while we go on our vacation. Our son is not a super churchy kind of person, but his church friends are similar to him. Enjoying technology and hanging out together. My husband and youngest son have their own tent, while our oldest has a tent with his friends. The place is usually packed with parents and kids so we can keep an eye out. We happen to like his church friends so that helps. But then our older son has more freedom he looks forward to going. He has his own adventures while still being around family.

Another is scout camp [but again, this may or may not happen this year due to the virus]. Our son does not especially like camping, but does enjoy being outdoors with others his own age or older swimming, shooting practice.... Likes the adventure, fun and challenges. He loves the independence that is encouraged vs. hovering adults. Still the adults are strong leaders that are watching out. Also it helps meet his goal of becoming an Eagle scout which helps with college goals. He even managed to go door to door selling plants to pay for a 10 day high adventure trip last year. Prior he refused to sell anything ...found the door-to-door too much. During his time away at scout camp, we of course will get busy doing things he does not like to do.


==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

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