Going on holiday with friends, with children, may not always go as we imagined. It happens that our friends’ children annoy us, even annoy us. There is no shame in that. Everyone has their own type of education and cohabitation sometimes complicates relationships. Elena Goutard, parent and family coach gives us some advice to make the stay go as well as possible.
If on paper holiday with friends, with children, may seem like a wonderful idea, in reality it can quickly turn into a nightmare for some. You may have had this experience before, or you may have heard of a few stories, but it happens and it’s nothing to be ashamed of when you’re on vacation parents can’t stand their friends’ kids. Why ? Quite simply because every family is different, each has its own lifestyle, its own rules. Elena Goutard*, parent coach, explains to us: “In terms of life habits, the education we give our children, we are not all equal, we do not all have the same expectations. If we do not see it when we meet our friends during the year, we are not necessarily aware of these differences, and when we all find ourselves on holiday in the same accommodation, it’s a disillusionment.”
This is what happened last year to Mathilde, 38 years old. “I was living a real nightmare, we were three couples and a total of six children of roughly the same age. One couple’s children kept whining as soon as they were refused something and left their belongings everywhere. They categorically rejected vegetables and spent most of their time playing consoles and screaming. I was on edge, our friends had nothing to shake, and my kids were obviously 100% into this joyful program. I told myself it was better to let go, but really at times I wanted to strangle them.
Everyone has their own lifestyle and type of education.
Some parents may actually be afraid that the example their friends have set for their children (in terms of education, lifestyle, etc.) will turn against them. “They may be confronted with questions from their own children, with their reproaches, for example ‘why do they have the right to play the console and not me?’, ‘they are not required to eat vegetables, I do, it is unfair ‘” details of the coach.
Therefore, it is important to discuss all these details before you go on vacation several families, advises Elena Goutard. If this seems complicated to you, talk about it directly with your children, explain to them that every family has its own rules and that it is not because we live in a society that everyone has to be in the same boat.
When things go wrong, what should you do?
But when it is too late, when the parents are faced with the fait acpli of suffering more than anything else their holidays with friends, what must be done to neutralize the situation? For Elena Goutard, the solution lies above all in Announcement. Because “by not saying anything, the parents will ruminate, they will stay in their corners, and the risk is that the situation will explode at some point.” And may the holiday be ruined.
It is therefore not necessary don’t let things fall into place. “As soon as you feel that there is a little tension or that you don’t agree, you have to find a moment to talk about it calmly between adults, as long as you still have patience. It can be in the evening, when children are in bed. Avoid having the children around.” By discussing what’s wrong, you can too find compromises. For example, if bedtime is a problem because you don’t have the same rhythm, you can move it by 30 minutes or advance it so that all children go to bed at the same time without seizures.
Also try to find games or activities to do together that appeals to everyone, just to ease the tension and delight the youngest. In any case, there is one important rule: do not interfere in the education of others, although it is tempting. Don’t tell your friend that her children are badly behaved, because there is a dispute. Do not take sides when children argue, unless it is for safety. Defending your offspring, getting involved in child fights will only create more conflict and the other parent will feel attacked. In short, take some distance, even if your child is (objectively right).
Take time with your own family away from the hustle and bustle
Another thing to consider when going on holiday with friends: just because you went together doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. When life is not going well, spending time with your own family can be beneficial. “If some parents like to go on cultural excursions, while others prefer to do nothing and relax, everyone can schedule times when they only spend time with their own children, without anyone else’s.”, concludes Elena Goutard. Just being with your loved ones is relaxing and it allows you to share very good times.
*Thanks to Elena Goutard, parenting and family coach, for answering our questions. She offers consultations in her office, but also by video conference. You can find all the details on their website.
Since September 2021, Lisa has joined the Aufeminin team. Little by little, she specialized in topics related to parenting. She is curious and passionate about writing and likes to tell…