Communication with teenagers can be tricky at the best of times – so what do you do when you’re all at sea?
It’s a question that has been posed on our forums by Ksack, who readily admits to being an over-protective mother. She’s curious about how to stay in contact with – and keep a virtual eye on – teens onboard without running up expensive mobile roaming charges.
As always, our resourceful members have come up with plenty of ideas, ranging from posting sticky notes on mirrors, getting youngsters to report in at regular intervals, downloading apps or using walkie talkies. (Nothing would cool a teenager’s ardor with a new-found friend of the opposite sex than hearing mom or dad’s voice crackling over the airwaves!)
The iConcierge app, available on newer ships such as Norwegian Epic and Breakaway (which we’ve reviewed), enables parents to keep in touch using a messaging and calling function via the ship’s WiFi with no roaming charges (just a small initial connection charge).
VanessaM suggests setting rules in proverbial tablets of stone, such as always meeting at dinner and other agreed times.
“If he doesn’t, he will be going straight to the cabin!” she adds. “He knows that I am serious as a heart attack and if he does not follow the rules, he will have to be at our side and have the most awful vacation ever, therefore he complies!”
Not surprisingly, Fivehole – who has embarked on 11 cruises with teenagers – has plenty of suggestions: “Check in every two hours or so. Public areas only. No staterooms other than ours, and nobody other than our family on our staterooms. Meals are not negotiable; all are as a family. Let me catch you acting crazy and disturbing someone else’s vacation and I will shut your world down. Stuff like that!”
Other parents pack a white board or sticky notes so both parties can leave messages on where they will be and what they are doing.
So do you lay down the law or allow a certain amount of leniency? What are your ground rules and tips? Let us know what you think in the comments below.