Parenting

Parenting: Taking vacations without the kids

Monday, August 13, 2012

My husband and I have been parents for nearly 20 years. In that time, we've taken only two vacations without our kids.

When our children were young, we planned our vacations around them - including trips to the Jersey Shore and Disneyworld.

Two years ago, while the boys were all at summer camps, we road-tripped to Canada. This summer, we spent ten days in Israel and renewed our wedding vows.

Can vacationing without your children actually make you a better parent? We asked an expert.

Raymond McDevitt, a Couples and Family Therapist, says baby-sitting, work, financial issues and even guilt can make it tough for parents to take time away by themselves.

"It's easier if you're just going to take everybody together - just do the family vacation and everybody goes," said McDevitt.

He says "couples-only" vacations, even if it's just a long weekend, can strengthen Mom and Dad's relationship and make them better parents.

"So you realize the importance of time together as a couple, and I think that does rejuvenate you to spend a little more energy with the kids," said McDevitt.

McDevitt has advice for helping the family cope with your being away.

"Absolutely, you shouldn't feel guilty. You are in it with your spouse, your partner and it's so important to make those times to reconnect," he said.

First, be honest with your children about where you're going and how long you'll be gone. Set ground rule in advance on how much and when you'll be in touch.

Don't worry too much if they express jealousy or disappointment that you're going away without them.

"As long as you're coming back. A little bit of stress with somebody being away is often really eased when you can come back. It's a learning experience and that's a good thing, that's not a bad thing," said McDevitt.

What do you think? Do you take vacations without your kids? You can leave a comment below.

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