Rules: A New Chapter With The Tables Turned

Summer plans revealed in this post, but first we need to tell you how it came to be.  When we brought our first bundle of joy home 16 years ago, it was overwhelming and we wanted to do everything right.  We wanted to follow all of the rules, in every book and make sure we were doing what we were supposed to be doing.  Over time, we continued with routines, rules, educational toys and so on.

Lars was a little rule follower from the get go.  When he was in the curious stages, touching everything on the shelf, a quick and gentle “no touch” was sufficient.  He learned right away and didn’t touch it again.  Wow, this is great!  Kids aren’t so tough to teach and raise after all.  Then along comes Anya.

From the day of her birth, Anya has been excited to experience the world and to test the boundaries.  The gentle “no touch”, was more of a “Really? Why not?!” and then it was touched again.  So as you can tell the kids were born with their own personalities and it makes the perfect mix of excitement in our family.

Little Tikes

As the kids continued to grow, as parents we set the boundaries, made the rules and usually they were followed to the letter.  We scheduled their lives with routines of when to wake up, when to eat, where to go, what to do, what to wear and so on.  As they age, a little independence begins to creep in with wanting to pick out their own clothes, schedule play with their friends and the like.

We still had a little say in where we would go and what we would do and of course we moved to Spain.  They had some input in the decision, but to be fair they really had no idea what they were getting into.

Our first year in Spain. Frigiliana Spain - Quad Bikes WagonersAbroad

Even when we first arrived in Spain and traveled in Southeast Asia, it was the parents scheduling life.  The kids learned so much about adapting to change, going with the flow and being flexible.  They learned how to think outside of the box when things didn’t go as planned and how to be independent.

Chai Lai Orchid Eco Resort bamboo raft

Fast forward a few years to present day and we are now in new territory with two teens.


Okay, this is where we get into our summer plans.  Both kids do have the travel bug and love to explore, but now it comes with rules.  Yes, the tables have turned and our teens are shelling out the rules to the parents.  (Shhh, we don’t always listen or abide by these rules).

I was researching various places to go for the summer, with hopes to finally explore more of eastern Europe.  We were going to visit Berlin, Prague, Poland and more.  It was going to be an epic train travel trip.  When the idea was bounced off the kids, I was in for a wake up call.

A quick list of rules were gently requested rapid fire between them, mostly Anya.

Lars and Anya teens striking a pose

Teen Summer Travel Rules

  • We want to spend as much time with friends as possible
  • No road trips
  • We can’t go away for a long trip
  • No more than 1 week
  • It needs to be a real vacation
  • It can’t be in June or July, as we need to work around the travel schedule for Lars
  • It can’t be the week of Aug 7-15 (Feria week)
  • It can’t be too hot
  • No more than a 3-hour drive
  • We need separate rooms
  • Can we just go to one place and not move around
  • And the list goes on

Travel for Lars

The final week of school Lars was off for a week in Italy with his school, the graduating 10th grade class.  He returned home for a week and then set off again for 2 weeks, to volunteer out of Madrid.  His preference was to spend the remainder of July and August in town, as he will have had his fill of travel.  We will get into more of his volunteer work in another post, but it is his third year as a volunteer for Pueblo Inglés Teens read more here.

Lars is 16 and independent

I get it!

It all sounds a bit sassy, but it was understood the kids now have their own priorities.  They just want to be kids, in their own town and have summer with their friends!  I guess this happens no matter where you are in the world and with any teens, but they were really hopeful this year.  We had a similar plan last summer, but with unexpected family events in the states, we ended up there for 3 weeks in August.  It was a great trip and we all enjoyed it, but the kids missed their friends.

The bright side

Yep there is always a bright side!  The kids call Spain home and have amazing friendships, so I can’t complain.  We wanted them immersed in the culture, to make life-long friends and to have free run of the town.  Well, we made it happen and that is what they want too.  We live in a wonderful vacation spot, so once again we will embrace all that our area has to offer, even thousands of tourists.

San Cristobal Beach view in the summer.

Don’t you worry, I am still going to try to sneak in a little trip here and there for a couple of nights, so stay tuned.  I will even try to follow the rules and maybe bend them a little.  While Lars is away, maybe I can plan a couple of nights and have Anya bring a friend!  Ooh this will be fun to try to twist things around a bit.

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About Heidi

Heidi has a passion for travel and has been exploring the world with her husband and 2 kids, since August 2012. She's visited more than 50 countries and loves to write about their family adventures, mishaps and costs. She has been an inspiration to others wanting to live their dreams. Her travel tips, planning posts, cost breakdowns, accommodation, and product reviews are also very popular. Her current home base is in Spain. Any post on this site may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, there is no extra cost for you and we may receive a commission.

8 thoughts on “Rules: A New Chapter With The Tables Turned

  1. LOL! That list of rules is hilarious!! 🙂 My kids are just 4 and 2 but I can totally see this happening to us too in the near future!

    • It isn’t so bad, even when you know it’s coming it is still a little shock. 🙂 Enjoy 2 & 4 Patrick! In most ways teens are easier, but we are always adapting to change. 🙂

  2. Hey Heidi, a dumb question- when they speak English, do they have a Spanish accent? Or has it stayed pretty “clean” and they sound American like you guys?

    We are curious how G will develop over the years; of course, she’s a bit younger (turning 5 soon) than your kids were when they moved to Spain.

    • Not a dumb question at all Paul. They have same old standard American accent like us. We’ve always spoken English in the house while in Spain, to keep up their native language. That hasn’t helped with the fluency of us adults, but has kept the kids on track. Sometimes they do forget a word in English and that’s a bit funny.

      They were born and raised in North Carolina before coming to Spain and they don’t even have a southern accent. Alan and I are California and Nevada, so they sound like us. That said, they can do various accents in Spanish. They can really turn on the Andalus accent or clean it up a bit and sound more refined.

      I wonder if I can bribe them to do an update video for us? hmmm. It is tough the older they are, plus their friends may see them!!!! yikes! ha!

  3. I have the perfect solution. Alan stays in town with the kids, and you and I take on Eastern Europe. Everyone wins! 🙂

  4. I cannot believe how old your kids are Heidi! Wow…how time flies. I can’t remember when I began reading your blog but goodness knows your children were so much younger. So neat to live a life of travel from your formative years.

    • Hey Ryan! Yes, it has been 6 years now and Lars is 16 and Anya will be 14 soon. Amazing how time flies. We were just speaking of you the other day, as Lars really got into following you a few years back too. We are still home based in Spain and loving it. They are kids with no boundaries, meaning they know they can go anywhere and do anything. Let’s see how it all works out as the continue to blossom into adults. 🙂 Thanks for keeping up with us!

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