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Teen Spirit

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Finding positive ways to connect with your teens can be frustrating, but it is possible if, instead of insisting on your own preferences, you join your teenagers in activities they like.

Because teens are usually creative and enthusiastic about the arts, try a photography, painting or ceramics class together. (One advantage of a class is that it puts you both on equal footing, thus eliminating an area of potential conflict.) Sports are another natural connection. My dad and I golfed together from the time I was seven until I was over 40, and though as a teen I would never have admitted it, I was profoundly grateful for those days when we laughed and came to better understand one another on the fairway. I hated rock climbing with my own teenage daughter; but on skis, horseback or the putting green we forget our differences and relax. Or consider working out together or introducing a teen to spa treatments. An afternoon at the gym or health club fosters one-on-one time and good health through action rather than lectures. That adolescents roll their eyes at talk of family vacations is no reason not to go – but remember these caveats. Either go where other teens are guaranteed to be or let your child take a friend. Choose a place with abundant sports, since adolescents are high-energy travelers (except in the early morning, when they’re comatose-don’t plan events then). Try a resort or cruise ship; in these safe environments, you can relax while your teenagers achieve (if only briefly) the independence they so crave.

Six Places that Love Teens – And Vice Versa

  • Four Season Resort, Maui, 3900 Wailea Alanui, Wailea, Maui, HI 96753; (808) 874-8000.
    Hawaiian elegance goes hand in hand with sports. Free scuba clinics for kids ages 12 and up; eco-snorkel tours for guests 8 and up. Portable stereo equipment is available on loan at no charge.
  • Resort at Squaw Creek, 400 Squaw’ Creek Road, PO Box 3333, Olympic Valley, CA 96146; (530) 583-6300 or (800) 327-3353. A four-season resort with ski-in/ski-out facilities and snow-tubing in winter, a mountain adventure program for children and teens in summer. The mountaintop High Camp Bath & Tennis Club has an ice rink, indoor and outdoor climbing walls, tennis courts, a swimming lagoon and, for the daring, a bungee tower.
  • The Peaks Resort & Spa at Telluride, PO Box 2702, Telluride, CO 81435; (970) 728-6800 or (800) 789-2220. Few resorts so beautifully combine pampering and outdoor pursuits. The spa offers treatments specifically for teens. Or sign up for a day of family adventure: hiking, climbing, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
  • Boca Raton Resort & Club, 501 E. Camino Real, PO Box 5025, Boca Raton, FL 33431; (561) 395-3000 or (800) 327-0101. Teenage guests mingle at the Boca Raton 33432 Club (ages 14 to 17). Serious junior tennis players (ages 9 to 18) can try the Nike Tennis Camps in July, and parents and teen golfers will enjoy the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School.
  • The Cloister, Sea Island, GA 31561; (912) 638-3611 or (800) 732-4752. At the five-star Cloister, a place where generations of families have gone to relax and reconnect, teens can join peers for tennis mixers, evening get-togethers, kayak tours, golf and more. Popular with families; shooting school.
  • The Bitter End Yacht Club, North Sound, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; (800) 872-2392. Outside the U.S. and Canada, fax (888) 329-2392. A guaranteed antidote to stress, the get-away-from-it-all Bitter End boasts a superb sailing school and windsurfing classes taught by a staff adept at working with all ages. Stay on land or live-aboard yachts afloat on the stunningly clear BVI waters.
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