Another question/topic that gets asked quiet often is about our kids. How do we do this with teens? What about friends? What about sports? Dating? How are you that close to your teens ALL THE TIME?
It’s a lot easier than you may think.
First I want to clarify… we have REALLY good kids. The whole “teen” thing has never been a huge issue for us. (knock on wood) We don’t have particularly moody or mouthy kids and for the most part they are respectful and easy to live with.
My kids are very social. In our sticks and bricks house they ran around the neighborhood with their friends and were always doing something or going somewhere. They were involved in scouts, dance, swimming, mma, rock climbing, parkour, homeschool groups and were leaders in their church youth groups. There was a lot to think about when we hit the road and left these activities behind.
With modern technology this is probably the easiest to deal with. In our sticks and bricks home, 90% of my children’s daily interaction with their friends was through social media. Facebook, Instagram, texting and phone calls was how they communicated and is how they stay in touch.
They also make new friends where ever we go. We attended a RoadSchool Rally in Tucson in April and met dozens of families doing exactly what we are doing. The kids met friends, hung out for 10 days and made great memories. When we were leaving we found that several of the families where headed the same direction we were and we spent almost month traveling with these great families who we now call friends. We are making plans to meet up with several of these families again next month and then again this winter. We are at a KOA right now and while playing basketball, the kids met a family that is here for the summer. They spend their free time swimming, playing basket ball and buying slurpees at the gas station with these new friends, just like they would have been doing at home.
Our friends and family from our S&B life travel and take vacations. We have met up with many of these families while they vacationed in Vegas and Utah, and will be meeting up with friends who are camping in Oregon this summer. We are already making plans to meet friends during their vacation to Florida next winter.
My sons are in Scouts and they are both actively working on rank advancement. My husband is their scout leader so that makes everything a little easier. They participate in Scoutmaster conferences via FaceTime and we are traveling back to Cali next week so they can attend Scout Camp.
For sports we found Youth Summer Programs at local colleges are a great resource. This summer Katrina attended a 2 week long “Dance Intensive.” She lived in the college dorms with her cousin as her roommate, they attended dance practice 6 hours a day, ate in the cafeteria, and spent thier evenings and weekends at chaperoned dances, museums, pizza parties and other social events. She says she learned more dance in those 2 weeks then she did in a year of weekly classes, and she made memories and friends that will last a lifetime. The boys are attending similar programs this summer as well.
In our family we do not date until at least 16 years old. Brady and I see traditional “single dating” as step toward marriage and there is a time and a place for that and it is not in the teen years. In our family our kids have decided to wait to “date” until after they return from their LDS missions. Right now they just want to enjoy their lives and their friends without the pressures of a physical relationship. I know they are still young and these ideas and feeling very well could change, but for now this is where we are.
Despite the fact they are GREAT kids, we still have our moments when we need a little more space. We have tried to make sure everyone has their own space. Katrina has her loft that she has decorated with quotes and pictures and the boys share the back garage “bedroom” and have their own bathroom. Brady and I have a “master bedroom” with a door and a very loud air conditioner that effectively blocks all the sound from traveling into and out of our room. We also have a HUGE front and backyard. If the house is too small… LEAVE. It’s a very simple solution.
We have had many people tell us they could never full-time with their teenagers. I can’t imagine it any other way. I love the opportunity to be this close to them. To listen to them whisper to each other as they lay in bed, squeeze onto the couch and talk about the book they are reading, and to participate in the moments, thoughts and discussions that will mold the adults they are going to be. I don’t want to miss minute, this time will be gone too soon.
To those of you traveling with littles…. I could NEVER do what you do! You are amazing.