Solutions to Parents' Biggest Gripes During Summer Vacation

From sleeping all day to refusing to do chores, here's what to do.

Some teens don't want to do anything during summer vacation.
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Summer vacation can be filled with new opportunities and lots of fun for many families. But not all teens thrive during summer vacation. 

Some of them don't want to do anything productive. And that can be a big problem for parents—not to mention the lack of activity is unhealthy for teens.

Fortunately, you don't have to sit by idly and watch your teen play video games or sleep the summer away. A few simple interventions can get your teen motivated to take action. 

Here are solutions to the five biggest problems parents of teens face during summer vacation:

1. My Teen Wants to Sleep All Day

Most teens love to sleep late during their time off from school. But, sleeping until noon—or beyond—is a bad idea. Sleeping the day away wreaks havoc on a teen's internal clocks and will set him up for serious sleep problems when school begins.

Allow your teen to sleep in a little later—but no more than an hour or two later than during the school year. Create a rule about what time everyone needs to be out of bed and tell your teen to set an alarm. If your teen struggles to get out of bed on time, establish consequences for breaking the rules.

2. My Teen Won’t Get a Job

Many of today’s teens aren’t interested in finding a job. Rather than serve food or stock shelves, they’d prefer to spend their vacation lounging with friends.

If you’re concerned about your teen’s poor work ethic—or you’re hoping your teen will earn his own spending money—motivate her to get a job.

While you can’t physically force your teen to find work, you can make a job more attractive. For example, limit the amount of spending money you hand over. Without money to go out with friends, your teen might become more motivated to work. 

Support your teen in getting a job. Many of them are fearful about asking for an application from a restaurant manager or they're uncertain how to fill out the paperwork. Walk your teen through the steps so she can learn how to get hired and so she can be successful at her first job

3. My Teen Won’t Do Any Chores

The battle over chores certainly doesn’t end during summer vacation. In fact, summer vacation often makes it more difficult to get teens motivated to perform any domestic duties.

But, it’s essential for teens to learn a good work ethic and completing their chores is just one step toward behaving responsibly.

Establish clear rules and expectations about chores. Offer positive incentives for getting chores done.

Give an allowance or make privileges contingent on completing chores. For example, say, “As soon as your chores are done, you can use your electronics.” If your teen doesn’t mow the lawn or refuses to do the dishes, don’t let him spend time with friends and don’t give him spending money.

4. My Teen is Hanging Out with the Wrong Crowd

It’s common for teens to spend time with a slightly different crowd during vacation. If your teen starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, the long days of summer can become a scary prospect.

Drinking, drug use, sexual activity, or even illegal activity are just a few of the risky behaviors that your teen may be tempted to engage in.

Get to know your teen’s friends and stay involved in what your teen is doing. Forbidding any contact with friends could backfire, but you can limit your teen’s exposure to a questionable crowd. Allow other teens to come to your home when you’re present and limit your teen’s activities with unhealthy peers outside the home.

5. My Teen Doesn’t Want to Spend Family Time Together

Many parents are left frustrated and disappointed by a teen’s lack of excitement to spend family time together. But, as your teens grow older, spending more time with peers becomes an important part of their normal development. The more time they spend with friends, however, the less time they have leftover for the family.

Insist that your teen spend some time with the rest of the family. Schedule family fun nights at least a few times per summer. Organize a family vacation that your teen will want to attend and create opportunities to spend quality time together.

Keep in mind that you can't force your teen to have fun with the family. But you can create a positive environment and insist your teen spend at least some time with everyone. 

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