How many family breaks do you have left?

It is a fact that at some point in every child’s life, they will stop looking to you – their parent – as the font of all knowledge and centre of their universe, and see you for what you really are.

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Your little cherubs will wise up to the reality that you aren’t the best sportsman in the world, the sharpest tool in the box or the best cook; you are in fact just human. But that’s not the worst bit…

You will become the least cool person in the world.

It’s not you, it’s them
But before you listen to Radio One every day for a month and join Instagram in a desperate bid to reinstate your status, relax! As parents we don’t actually change all that much: the change really comes from your children. A recent survey of 2,000 18- to 30-year-olds revealed exactly at what age this transformation takes place. At around the age of 16, the apples of our eye decide that they have had enough of us and don’t particularly want to join our family holiday with us either. And for men, to add insult to injury you are the main culprits – 66 per cent of respondents said their dear old dads were the biggest source of embarrassment. Bad dancing and childish behaviour were the two biggest factors in that decision. Ouch.

So where does this leave us parents? Well with a lot of surly children, that’s where. As the father to two young sons I am still a long way off the moody teenager phase; thankfully we still have lots of fun together and family breaks are still a treat for us all. If I remember correctly as a youngster I never actually minded going away with my parents, even at 16. Of course, to keep up appearances with my friends I referred to it as that ‘boring old holiday’ I had to ‘endure’ with my parents. But once I got there I had a great time.

I don’t know what could be better than being whisked away from home, without once having to lift a finger or pay a penny for it? Ah, those were the days! Thankfully for us parents, it becomes ‘cool’ again for our young adults to re-join us on the family holiday seven years later at the age of 23. I assume this is after they’ve had their kicks at university, graduated and found themselves on a backpacker trail, only to move back home and face the cold, hard reality of real life where – guess what – holidays cost money!

Change of heart
Unsurprisingly, the survey reveals that 84 per cent of 23- to 30-year-olds are more than happy to head off on a family holiday with their parents, quicker than you can say “overdraft limit”, with 8 out of 10 of those stating the prospect becomes even more attractive if parents foot the bill.

“Thankfully for us parents, it becomes ‘cool’ again for our young adults to re-join us on the family holiday seven years later at the age of 23. Lucky us.”

Whether it’s a three-day short break or a two-week holiday, family time together is priceless at any age. We have discussed in the past about ‘grancationing’ and how it suits everyone involved. The children get an extended family unit to spend time with, the parents get the chance for a few hours off themselves and the grandparents get to spend some precious time with their grandchildren. Keeping your whole family around you is important which is why, this autumn, two can stay for free when you book a three-bedroom lodge at Center Parcs.

So my final words are these. Parents, don’t worry, your children will come crawling back sooner or later. Lucky us. And children: enjoy it while it lasts, because before you know it, it’ll be you footing the bill!

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Nick Janaway

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Nick Janaway

By day I am a Search and Affiliate Executive, by night I am a family man and tech geek. I know first-hand how fantastic Center Parcs is for families, particularly with young children like myself, so my blog posts highlight how your family can maximise your time during a Center Parcs break.