For teenagers, the last school bell marks the beginning of summer and symbolizes a time of freedom and discovery. For parents, however, it can be a stressful time filled with difficulties of their occupation and finances. This season brings about a range of concerns marked by the uncertainty of what their children will do all day. This adds an extra financial expense for parents to undertake, as they must contribute funds to fill their children’s days with various activities.
How can you gain the peace to fully enjoy your summer?
The beloved summer camps
Rather than leaving their children at home, many parents send their children to summer camps. This solution allows the parents to keep their children entertained while enjoying a sense of relaxation for several weeks.
But this solution also can become a source of stress. I received an inquiry from a mother that, after a year of work, did not have the money to send her son to camp. Feeling guilty about her son’s eminent boredom, she doubted her ability to organize his activities and be a good mother. She was distressed about leaving him home alone all day.
The pressure of free time
This question is constantly in my summer consultations. All year long, the kids are under the control of the school and their parents know that the school will call them in a case of a problem. On the other hand, in summer, they do not have the means to offer them other activities. Therefore, the teenagers should be autonomous and take care of themselves.
Another mother explains to me that she felt uneasy about leaving her daughter alone all day. She was afraid that her daughter would have little self-control and do the typical teenage nonsense, such as drinking alcohol or dating. This made her feel overwhelmed and she did not know how to stop worrying. She was sad that should not offer her daughter cool activities.
When technology reaches education
Summer breaks routine and is a great time to develop confidence and new forms of communication. For example, the creation of a family WhatsApp group allows communication and response in an easy way. It allows parents and children to agree on plans for the following day. It is a preventive action. If something in the plans changes, it must be said in the group.
This method allows a cushion for much anguish, relieves the whole family, and fosters a relationship built on mutual trust. Additionally, it teaches our children to think before acting.
Once in a consultation, a parent told me that sometimes it is better to guide their children than to tell them everything, and it is true! But there are times when you have to know how to say no, and others in which you have to let them discover things for themselves and other times, letting them go wrong (without letting them be harmed), and thus can learn from their experiences.
Talking about money without the taboo
The discussions between parents and children tend to dance around the economic issue. Teens often think their parents are stingy, but the reality is much more complex. With a limited budget organizing, the holidays can be complicated. If the adult explains the relationship of expenses to his or her child, such as the cost of rent or electricity among other bills, he or she can better understand the restricted budget, even in summer.
The other day, a boy said to me: “Do you know that my parents don’t give me 10 € when I ask for it? They tell me it’s too much!” The boy only has the dimension of unity and does not have a global perception (does not multiply 10€ per the number of days per month). Our role as parents is to make children understand that they have to see the big picture without assigning blame. These reflections help you to take responsibility and understand that money must be managed. Children, as part of the family, must be aware of the difficulties they face and even have the opportunity to provide solutions.
Leave emotions at liberty
Giving them the keys to our difficulties will activate their compassion and thus enrich our emotional vocabulary in the relationship that we have with them. We will show that we are not robots, but people of flesh and bone.
In general, holidays are a good time to encourage communication at the family level. Tell them, “You will have other desires and a certain degree of freedom, but you cannot forget that we, as parents, also have to rest and enjoy family time together. This does not affect your freedom, but it is an important part of being a family.”
Given the desire for immediate reward, teenagers believe that “the school year is over, and they can now stop to do cool things that they like to do.” Parents should also verbalize their desires as a family unit and enjoy spending vacation time with them.
Also, you can send your children a WhatsApp containing a lovely quote from Frédéric Martinez, from his Petit Eloge de Vacances, “Accept the whims of time, accept the unexpected; silence and downtime. Know how to be bored. These small sacrifices come make up the essence of holidays. These open up a new field for reflection.”
Specialized in the management of stress and emotions
Creator of idstress app
Founder, Centro Enlace – Natural therapies, body, and mind.