Today we're back with Dani and our T3 series talking about WHY? Why do we get those eye rolls from above the phone screen the second we mention a family trip that doesn't involve a fancy resort in Mexico.
1. Do you still like camping with your family?
Yes, definitely. But I'm different than most teenagers.
2. Do you think your friends feel the same way you do? Why?
No. Because honestly they come up with excuses like it's dirty. I think teenagers find that a family trip doesn't give you as much freedom as you usually have at home.
3. Why do you think teenagers don't want to go camping with their families?
I think they think "Ugh, I don't want to spend time with my family! I'm sick of them." They're afraid of their parents embarrassing them. Personally, I just want to seem cool around other teenagers and that's really hard when your parents are looking at spoon collections and taking family pictures in front of the world's largest ball of twine. Or the shirts!! The shirts that say "Jones Family Vacation", don't do that! That's just mean. I think another reason is that parents plan everything and don't give us a say.
4. What can parents do to encourage their teenagers to come along and enjoy camping?
Don't go overboard with rules. If your teenager already doesn't want to go on a trip, making them crazy with rules will make it 10x worse. If the parents are expecting the same rules while on the road as they are at home then there's no need to overload us with expectations. Make helping at the campground simple. If you want them to enjoy the trip, give them freedom. Really, I can't say it enough. Freedom is what we crave. And don't make everything about the younger siblings, though teenagers don't often say it, we still want attention from our parents.
5. What advice would give to parents taking their teenager camping for the first time?
If it's your first camping trip, keep it relaxing. Don't put pressure on the situation. Keeping the first trip easy will be easier for everyone. So many parents want to fit in a million things in a day and it's just not necessary.
6. What does your family do that makes you feel included? What does your family do that makes you feel secluded?
I feel included when they let me help plan where we're going and what we're doing. I want to pick something that is interesting to me. Plus, I always get excited about food, so when Mom let's me plan one meal a day during our camping trip I'm really happy about that.
I feel secluded when I try to include myself in something and they tell me no. For example, I'll ask Mom if I can help with dishes because I'm bored and she doesn't let me because she thinks I can't do it well enough. If Mom would just teach me the right way I'd be really happy. Or if Dad says I can't help build the fire, just teach me.
7. Out of everything we talked about what would you say parents need to take away from today's T3?
Happy teen, happy life! In 20 years will it really matter than your teenager grumbled through the hike or refused to take a cheesy picture? I don't think so, so just let them be. You can't force anyone to have fun, so why make yourself crazy doing it?
Again, thank you so much to Dani for being so honest with us! Imagine if all teenagers were this honest? Next week, Dani will be navigating the perfect teenager road trip.