Father: “My 14-year-old daughter and I are currently traveling in a beautiful country on the other side of the world. New people, new culture, beautiful nature. But my child is always in the Netherlands with her thoughts on her phone. Last year we also made a long journey and then I also heard one story after another about events at home. Netherlands is more top of mind than the country we are in, at the expense of her attentiveness. And before you know it, you’ll be home again.
“I limit phone use. But it creeps in unnoticed. If I look on my phone for a hotel or route, she also has the opportunity to look.
“It’s not just the phone that’s distracting. I also notice that she is not so easily impressed, because she has already seen so much of the world. Are we snorkeling here, she says: “It was nicer at The Great Barrier Reef.” Right point. But how do you enjoy this? How do I get my teenager’s attention more during the holidays? And how do I keep her attentive and amazed?”
Name is known to the editor. This section is anonymous, because difficulties in upbringing are sensitive. Would you like to present a dilemma? Send your question to [email protected]
Set a good example
Peter Nikken: “Constantly wanting to be in contact with peers is inextricably linked to this stage of life and that is facilitated by technology. We used to have to jump on bicycles as teenagers to hear each other’s souls, or call for hours, now a push of a button is enough, even on the other side of the world.
“You can naturally ensure that there is also some attention for the environment, for example by going somewhere without a Wi-Fi connection. I wouldn’t ban cellphone use. That will only cause frustration for your daughter.
“Set a good example. Look up the WiFi at a fixed time, then she can also go online, and then put your mobile down again and enjoy what you are doing.
“The profit is in cherishing small moments when you experience something pleasant together, and try to expand it.
“It may feel harsh, but it’s okay for your daughter to compare holiday destinations. Teens need to develop that judgment that comes with learning to think critically. In this way they polish their personal taste.”
Try to see through her eyes
Eline Snel: “Your expectation is that your daughter enjoys it as much as you do. But adolescents balance in different worlds, they are mentally occupied with their circle of friends, because soon they may no longer belong.
“Your old role as a father: I take you and show you everything, changes as children get older. Children are docile up to the age of eleven, from the age of twelve they want to have a say in the holiday destination, and from the age of fourteen they start to develop their own view. It’s nice if you give her the space to do that.
“What you can do is cherish the wonder you wish your daughter in contact with her. Try to look through her eyes: what does she see? What is she doing? And if she says: ‘It was nicer there’, you can ask her: ‘How do you notice that?’ Fortunately, she is also at the age that you can still be close. That gives you the opportunity to follow the worldview she develops with calm curiosity.”