Question:Our children are at an age where they want to bring along a friend on the family vacation. We don't really mind but we have three teenagers and with an extra three it makes for a crowded and sometimes expensive trip. Any suggestions?
At the risk of sounding a little prudish, I'm not for taking friends on every family vacation. I see vacations as a time to get away from the pace of life most of us live and bring the family closer together. It's difficult to have close family experiences when others are always with you. We recently went on a family camping trip. Our first in 15 years! One of the reasons it worked so well was because our girls actually hung out with each other. If their friends would have been along, all three would have tended to have wandered off with their friends and not with the sisters. Cathy and I were able to have quality and quantity time with our daughters because there were less distractions.
I'm convinced the family vacation is not the time to bring a bus load of distractions and your children's friends have the possibly of falling into the distraction category. However, if you don't bring friends along then also know that you will have to put more energy into doing what your kids want to do and possibly hear a few more phrases like, "I'm bored." Obviously, there are times when you will want your kids to bring their friends along. But I would guard the family vacation as an important time of family interaction, recreation, and for the building up of each other. Put an emphasis on "family" in the family vacation.