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Seeking advice from parents with older/grown kids

GregT

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All,

TUGgers have given me great advice over the years on a variety of topics, and I would appreciate your perspective here too.

Jonell and I have been fortunate to get away on a couples trips once or twice a year for several years running. It's been great for us as a couple, and especially therapeutic for me as my job can be a bit stressful.

We've been lucky that Jonell's parents have been able to watch the kids up until now however the last two trips have made us realize the chemistry of teen/grandparent is no longer working. We now think we are doing a disservice to both parties by asking grandparents to continue we don't want to cause unnecessary friction.

The problem is that we don't have a logical alternative. There are several options, but nothing that perfectly resonates. We have a lovely family that lives next door and knows a young couple from their church that doesn't yet have their own children. We've received a suggestion from a good friend of a recent college graduate that they know well -- our objective is finding someone that we can trust, who would stay in our home, make sure that the kids make it to/from school, and to/from bed. But these are "strangers" even though they are only one level removed. We can get to know them in the coming months before our late January trip, but they are still new to us. I think it's especially hard for Jonell because she stay-at-home and is deeply connected to the kids daily routines.

So....how to TUGgers with kids feel about this? Would you allow a new person to watch your kids for a week so you can get away, or would you curtail it for a few years until the situation changes? We do get occasional weekends away to Palm Desert or Napa, but a week in Hawaii is a whole different experience.

Please advise with your thoughts and thank you!

Best,

Greg
 
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WinniWoman

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All,

TUGgers have given me great advice over the years on a variety of topics, and I would appreciate your perspective here too.

Jonell and I have been fortunate to get away on a couples trips once or twice a year for several years running. It's been great for us as a couple, and especially therapeutic for me as my job can be a bit stressful.

We've been lucky that Jonell's parents have been able to watch the kids up until now however the last two trips have made us realize the chemistry of teen/grandparent is no longer working. We now think we are doing a disservice to both parties by asking grandparents to continue we don't want to cause unnecessary friction.

The problem is that we don't have a logical alternative. There are several options, but nothing that perfectly resonates. We have a lovely family that lives next door and knows a young couple from their church that doesn't yet have their own children. We've received a suggestion from a good friend of a recent college graduate that they know well -- our objective is finding someone that we can trust, who would stay in our home, make sure that the kids make it to/from school, and to/from bed. But these are "strangers" even though they are only one level removed. We can get to know them in the coming months before our late January trip, but they are still new to us. I think it's especially hard for Jonell because she stay-at-home and is deeply connected to the kids daily routines.

So....how to TUGgers with kids feel about this? Would you allow a new person to watch your kids for a week so you can get away, or would you curtail it for a few years until the situation changes? We do get occasional weekends away to Palm Desert or Napa, but a week in Hawaii is a whole different experience.

Please advise with your thoughts and thank you!

Best,

Greg

I don't know. I don't think I would want a couple that never had kids to supervise my teens for a week. I would stick with the grandparents or wait it out. I only had one kid and honestly we always took him everywhere with us- even to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary, where we originally had our honeymoon. (he was around 14). And we had an awesome time as a family!
 

Luanne

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How old are your children?

I can't really help as we always took our daughters on vacation with us (and still do when they can come). When we went away without them, usually for something like a long weekend, we had someone with them that we knew, or my mom would come and help out.

When I was a kid I remember my parents going away a few times without us. A few times we had someone come in, again it was someone we knew well. I also remember having a friend of mine stay with us for awhile when her parents went out of town. Is that a possibility, for your kids to stay with friends of theirs?
 

VegasBella

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My son is young but hopefully it's ok if I chime in. I know exactly what you're talking about because my nephew is a teen and although we all love him, my parents won't watch him for a week while my sister goes on a trip. He's just too difficult at this age. He's not a bad kid. He just thinks he doesn't need a "babysitter" and so he refuses to checkin on time, always has some lame excuse, etc.

My plan to get couple time when my son is that age is to just do it during the Summer or during school breaks when there are camps set up. I'll just ship him off to camp and that's when we'll schedule our adults-only vacation. Some of these camps are in great locations where we can stay nearby.

Does he have any friends whose parents would take him for the week? That would be my second choice if I really needed/wanted the couple time. Otherwise, I'd just take him along and plan some days where he can do things without you two, assuming he's responsible enough to take care of himself alone.
 

klpca

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Your kids would probably be just fine with the people who you mentioned. At that age they can rat out the babysitter :p, plus you have the neighbors right next door. However, as a mom I wouldn't have been able to leave my kids at home with a "stranger". I think that it is a mom thing. My husband wouldn't have looked back.

It's really only a few more years. Bring the kids with you to Hawaii, take short trips without them. Before you know it they will be doing their own grown-up things and you will wish that you could turn back time.
 

vacationhopeful

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So, Greg, you are looking for an enforcer for the teens or for your wife's parents?

Teenagers are smart and very cunning. Never a good idea to have a "peer/friend"-type of person watching the monsters.

Who is NOT getting along? Are the grandparents unhappy? Are the teens whining? Are dishes being thrown? Are you getting texts from the teens and crying phone calls from the grandparents? Has the house been trashed?

Suggest you talk MORE to the teens and adjust their level of respecting and HELPING their grandparents. Perhaps, causal dinners OUT with all would change the "feel" and "tone" of the teenagers. And then do "take out" dinners at the grandparents place. Can let them do one-on-one activities that will improve "common" respect.

The grandparents and your children are different generations ... you are the bridge builders. Manipulate them both .... start on neutral ground ... not in either homes or usual hangouts.

I developed really GOOD rapport with my youngest sister's boys by taking them out to breakfast on their birthday mornings... me and birthday boy at 7AM .... order the food with a waitress and EXPECT/demand normal table conversations. Yes, a stupid and fairly cheap routine but the 3 or 8 or 13 year old felt important and special; the boy had to talk; I had to listen; topics not important; just the 2 of us and eating a decent meal.

I can take over those boys ANYTIME the parents need me to ... even though they are all way taller and 2 of them are in college. Just a couple of weeks ago, I drove 2.5 hours to assist my sister. Her FIL (the boys' grandfather) had died SUDDENLY. The viewing was early 2-4PM and 6-8PM. I arrived and my sister and husband just about RAN me over in the doorway to get to the funeral home. I walked over to the 3 boys (shortist is 6'3"/ tallest is 6'9") ... looked at them in dark pants and white shirts. I asked "where are your ties?" Dad said we didn't need to wear them. I said, "GO GET TIES. NOW! YOU NEED TO BE WEARING TIES. Your grandfather would have expected it." We left and drove over to the funeral home; my sister saw them wearing the ties and looked at me "How did you do that?" I replied, "they look better with ties; I just told them.". My BIL's sister told me I did a good job in dressing the boys .. her son (similar age) did NOT have a tie on. Said she should have dropped her son off to me to get him dressed.
 

Tank

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We just became empty nesters, gonna take some getting use to.
Went to Hawaii while my wife was 6 months pregnant.
Every vacation memory since has been centered around the kids. I wouldn't change a thing.
We are fifty now, the house is empty, we have plenty of time for my wife and I to travel together.
Time fly's by so fast, we made so many memories , we are blessed !
 

SueDonJ

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Sometimes the problem isn't your teenagers but all the rest of them who hear that your teenagers' parents aren't home. You're very smart to be thinking in terms of a repeat-able (is that a word?) working solution rather than the one-off whatever that will get you out the door. :)

We fortunately are surrounded by family who would happily step in by staying here or having the kids stay there, but we chose instead to make vacation time a continuation of family time during those years. Timeshare units help very much especially if you want to give the kids the option of bringing friends. We did, which gave us all a chance to hang out with as many or as few of each other as we wanted.

Another option is to trade off with the parents of your kids' friends (trusted parents, though, who will hopefully parent closely to your style.) That way you could at least steal away for a night every now and again without worry.

Good luck! Those are the years when you need the break the most but honestly, they're the years that the worst can happen in an instant.

{eta} Another thought since you mention Hawaii. I wouldn't go more than an hour away, definitely not a flight away, from my kids while they were in high school or younger. The thought of the nightmare trip home (for any number of reasons including illness, accident, stupidity) freaked me out, regardless of how remote the chances were that we'd have to do it. I know some will say that you could be in that situation anytime they're away from you for school/church trips and that's true, but it's different. I wouldn't feel guilty if their trip was interrupted; I would feel guilty if it's my trip.
 
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Luanne

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We just became empty nesters, gonna take some getting use to.
Went to Hawaii while my wife was 6 months pregnant.
Every vacation memory since has been centered around the kids. I wouldn't change a thing.
We are fifty now, the house is empty, we have plenty of time for my wife and I to travel together.
Time fly's by so fast, we made so many memories , we are blessed !

Exactly. :D

Dh and I were older when we had our daughters, and they were very much wanted. (This is not saying that anyone else didn't want their kids, just that we had both waited a long time.) Dh was adamant that they go with us everywhere. I finally drew the line at "family grocery shopping". This was not fun for anyone. :eek:
 

ronparise

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Im not sure what you mean when you say the chemistry isnt right with the grandparents

but I know if they were my grandkids Id want to try and fix whats not working
 

davidvel

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Greg-

I second the question of age. If they are in high school, a more savvy "guardian" is in order, but at the same time I presume they'll be heading off to college, with NO ONE watching what they do. Might make sense to give them some freedom (with risks and rewards) from the person so entwined with all their routines.

If younger, obviously need someone competent in house.

I know Carlsbad is a rough town, so maybe send them up here to San Elijo Hills. :rofl:
 

John Cummings

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Im not sure what you mean when you say the chemistry isnt right with the grandparents

but I know if they were my grandkids Id want to try and fix whats not working

I agree with you. We have 9 grandkids from the age of 6 to 20. They all want to come to our house to visit. We enjoy them very much and are quite involved in all their activities.
 

Big Matt

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I'd opt for the grandparents. Not sure what's wrong with the chemistry, but if it is your kids not liking what the GPs are asking for them to do regarding discipline, etc, then that's your problem to fix. If it is the GPs not wanting to do it due to too much responsibility, etc. I get it and that makes sense.
 

DeniseM

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I believe Greg has young teens. Maybe the grandparents are getting elderly and it's just too much for them.
 
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slip

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It really does depend on the age and each kid is different. I have two, adults
Now, son 26, daughter 34. My daughter moved out at 21 and my son moved out
At 19. Both of them moved out into their own purchased homes. They were both
Very mature and we went away for a week when my son was 16. I had no guilt
And no worries. He did fine. The next year we went for another week and he got
Into a small fender bender while we were away. He told us about it when we
Called and he handled the whole thing well by himself. It ended out being a good
Experience for him. At that age they were either raised right or not and you can
Tell the difference.

Sounds like your kids are either a little younger or not quite ready to handle it
Yet so I would take them with.
 

mpizza

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Maybe it's not an all or nothing decision.

DH and I just had this conversation, I am ok taking the grands for 3-4 days, then I need my own routine and life! Although they are younger than your children and generally well-behaved, they have dance, sports, birthday parties, school stuff, etc. and pets! We are lucky because we can split the time with their other grandparents.

As for when my own kids were young, my sister and I would swap. The cousins are super close and that is great to see! And we enjoyed being a part of their lives as they grew-up.

I would not give up my spouse-only trip, it is good for both of you to recharge and a good example for your children.

Maria
 
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LisaH

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I don't know how old your kids are. The first time DH and I went away on a couple's trip was when my older son 16 and young son 13. We only did it for four days. We tried to arrange for someone to come in and house-set but they both insisted that they would rather be left alone. We trusted them and left them home for the long weekend. We made back-up plan, checked in with them at least twice a day, and made sure things were going according to plan. It was a success. After that, we did a few more trips and all went off without a hitch. This really is the beginning of us establishing trust between kids and parents. To this day, we still enjoy such trust in our relationship...
 

PStreet1

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The only time we did something similar was when we were in Europe for several weeks during the school year and taking them wasn't an option. We had the unmarried cousin of a friend stay with them.

The kids hated it--said she was a dweb who knew nothing and could cope with nothing, not even finding the cat to put her in her garage area when it was time to leave. They asked us to never do that to them again.

Nothing bad happened, but, truly, the kids were more qualified to take care of the friend's cousin than she was to take care of them. (After spending time with her later, I'd have to agree with them.)
 

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Really not fair to always ask the grandparents to keep the kids. I would take the kids with you, but only when their school schedule permits. Try to find places that your teenagers are really interested in going. They won't be this age long; time will pass before you know it.
 

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We left our two with various university students over the years. They didn't always love the results, but it was a learning experience for all involved. They developed good relationships with some of their caregivers , and were happy to see others leave! As a stay-at-home parent, I was very aware of their capabilities and resilience. Our son first stayed home alone at 16 while we went on a vacation.
This worked well for us (and them) and I would make the same choices today.
However each child is different, and what works for one may not be appropriate for others.
Friends left their 17 year old home alone and he burned the house down. :(
 

presley

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It is really going to depend to how much you trust and get to know these other people. I was never comfortable leaving my kids with others, but maybe I would feel differently if I knew anyone was trustworthy enough.

Is it possible to bring someone along to watch the kids most of the time?

If it doesn't work out, remember that they are getting older and at some point in the future, your wife will be okay with leaving them with someone else. Vacations where you worry about the kids is not fun or relaxing.
 

VegasBella

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For those of you who said "I always took my kids on vacation with me" I'm curious... did you not ever send your kids to camp? What I'm asking is, did your kids ever go on vacation without you? And if yes, then why didn't you ever take that opportunity to go on vacation yourself, without them?
I'm genuinely curious.

I know some parents who went on adults-only vacations when their children were babies and I'm not doing it until my son is 6. We have a three day trip planned next year to Napa and he's not coming. We do date nights a couple times a month and we will do adults-only vacations about once a year starting now. I can understand taking the kids on vacation all the time - we usually do. But even when the kid is on their own trip somewhere else? What about a staycation? Would you do that just the two of you?
 
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Luanne

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Sure my kids went to camp, but usually not at the same time. There was one summer they both had camp at the same time. As I recall dh and I stayed home and went out to dinner every night. :D

We enjoyed taking family vacations with our daughters. And we also took some shorter trips on our own as we felt that was important as well.
 

klpca

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For those of you who said "I always took my kids on vacation with me" I'm curious... did you not ever send your kids to camp? What I'm asking is, did your kids ever go on vacation without you? And if yes, then why didn't you ever take that opportunity to go on vacation yourself, without them?
I'm genuinely curious.

I know some parents who went on adults-only vacations when their children were babies and I'm not doing it until my son is 6. We have a three day trip planned next year to Napa and he's not coming. We do date nights a couple times a month and we will do adults-only vacations about once a year starting now. I can understand taking the kids on vacation all the time - we usually do. But even when the kid is on their own trip somewhere else? What about a staycation? Would you do that just the two of you?

We didn't take a kid free vacation until our oldest was probably about 20 and I felt comfortable leaving the younger ones with her (we have three daughters). My mom was single and worked so she wasn't available to watch the kids, and my in-laws wouldn't babysit anyone, ever, for any length of time. We didn't have any other family in town. Because of their ages, schedules rarely synced up - they all went to camp but never at the same time. It was a bit of a drag but we made it through and we're making up for lost time now. On the positive side, we're a very tight-knit family and we get along great with our kids. I'm hoping that there will be grandkids in our lives sooner rather than later, and we'll definitely babysit.
 
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