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Different Strokes for Family Members

Cindy Loose

A recent chat question keeps running through my head: This one from a man whose wife wants their vacation to be about sightseeing, museums and theater, and two teens who want beaches and amusement parks.

Initially I was thnking about where he could go where both sets of activities could be simultaneously but separately enjoyed. Maybe L.A. or San Diego? But what about the family part of family travel? Would it be better for both parties to compromise? Like they could head north and all of them spend a day at a Jersey amusement park, then hit some theater and museums in New York, then catch the beach in Long Island? I.e. do some of what each wants, but together as a family? Isn't compromise and togetherness what human connections are all about?

Then again, if the mother is miserable in amusement parks and the children are miserable in museums, why should anyone have to use their vacation time to do something they hate? What do you think? (By the way, the man never mentioned what he wanted.)

By Cindy Loose |  February 8, 2007; 9:50 AM ET  | Category:  Cindy Loose , Family Travel
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I don't think there is anything wrong with some compromise to accommodate everyone's tastes on the family vacation. My parents certainly did some things that they weren't really into but they knew that we kids enjoyed. I certainly went to places on family vacations that I would not have chosen for myself and by the time I was a teenager, I was expected to do so with minimal complaint. The world didn't revolve around me. As much as anything else, the family vacation is about spending time as a family and that sometimes requires some compromise.

Posted by: MECM | February 8, 2007 11:25 AM

This is a great opportunity to visit a city like St. Louis. The city has a decent dose of restaurants, theater, music, art, sightseeing attractions, sports and other cultural activities.

And City Museum, despite its name, isn't really a museum. It's the perfect urban amusement park for active people. It's like a seriously huge jungle gym in a converted loft building, 5 or 6 stories tall, with tunnels that you crawl through in mid-air several stories up, plane fuselages suspended in mid-air that you climb in, on and around (with appropriate safety measures), massive networks of manmade caves some of which look like dragons & other cool critters, etc. Perfect for little kids, teens, AND active adults!

And definitely as thrilling as a rollercoaster ride, if not more so.

Posted by: Leslie | February 8, 2007 2:00 PM

I opt for the teens' choices. They'll only be kids once.

The adults, God willing, will have plenty of time for the things which they want to do when the kids are off on their own.

Sounds like mom is a control-freak trying to force the kids to do adult things; which they be doing soon enough anyway.

Posted by: DC | February 8, 2007 2:19 PM

Part of the function of parenting is to teach skills and expose children to experiences they might not otherwise select, so of course they should do some of the activities the parents enjoy. At the same time, the parents also should share activiites the children enjoy, both to teach the children the joys of shared activities and so the parents can enjoy watching their kids enjoy something. Good relationships are based on shared activities and participating and indulging each other's desires, so practicing qualities during childhood will make them into better mates in adulthood. Why does it have to be an either/or vacation?

Posted by: Mable Hastings | February 8, 2007 3:34 PM

When I was a kid, I always wanted to go to the beach or Disney World/Land, and we never did. We went to museum, after museum, after museum. At the time, I was miserable. In hindsight, however, those are the trips I cherish. For example, I was more interested in Frederick Church's art in college because I'd visited his home on a family trip. I recalled with great clarity Washington Irving's home in Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown, as I was reading "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." My husband's family made him visit all of the Civil War battlefields, and now he is a total Civil War buff. So, my advice - let the kids gripe, they'll appreciate it more when they are older.

Posted by: akmitc | February 8, 2007 3:47 PM

When I was a kid my family lived in Europe, and our summer vacations consisted of one week in a capital city, visiting museums, castles, cathedrals, and historic sites, followed by two weeks at the beach, usually in the same country. So we did Rome/Sardinia, Athens/Crete, Madrid/Marbella, etc. The museum bit may have been a bit tiresome at the time, but I'm so thankful for it now. ("One day you'll thank me...").

We did kinda the same thing for our honeymoon, visiting a couple cities in Ecuador, then spending most of our time in the Galapagos Islands (highly recommended!).

Posted by: Tony | February 8, 2007 5:12 PM

I'm for compromise. Who knows what you'll experiece. I was in London the other week, and finally visited the Tate Modern museum. Now, I do not care for modern art, but I think that an open-minded approach makes life much easier. I'm still not a fan of modern art, but the grove of ?birch? trees near the river-side entrace were lovely, the ?exhibit? of tubes that visitors can ride down in canvas bags looked like loads of fun, but walking back over the Milleneum Bridge was the best. It was late evening, and the bridge is situated in such a way that, with the museum to your back, you approach the dome of St. Pauls. It was lovely. I was travelling alone, but keeping my mind open to new experiences allowed me to have a lovely time.

Posted by: Alice | February 9, 2007 3:20 PM

Try Sandusky Ohio. It is on Lake Erie, and has Cedar Point, which is the best amusement park in the U.S. for roller coasters. You can also visit the Lake Erie Islands (Kelleys Island, Put-in-Bay), and there are several attractions that are a bit of a hike, but worth it (you can spend just as long stuck in traffic at ocean destinations)- Amish country, Pro Football Hall of Fame, an Indians game, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom (formerly Six Flags Adventure, formerly Sea World Ohio).

Posted by: hattergal | February 13, 2007 1:28 PM

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