Can vacations with kids be low stress? This is an image of a boy doing cartwheels on the beach.

How can families go on vacation and not deal with stressful, entitled kids?

I recently was in Hawaii with our oldest daughter. I was her stand-in for her husband who is serving in Afghanistan in the army. We stayed at the Hale Koa Hotel, which is a military hotel for soldiers and their families to have an affordable holiday, a great gift to all those serving our country.

Something my daughter and I noticed was that all the children were so well behaved. In the seven days we were there, we only saw one moment that a child was acting entitled, what many people call “bratty.” He was about 8 years old and did not like the soft drink his dad ordered for him as they prepared to watch the sunset. Both parents were embarrassed, we all would be. But both parents stayed pretty calm and his mom removed him from the table. He eventually returned and apologized to those at the table and gave his dad a hug and said, “I love you.” The sunset, and all was fine.

My daughter and I commented how well the parents handled the situation and how weird it was that was our only issued kid we saw. So my question is why? We have been on many a vacation and we usually witness many stressful exchanges between kids and their parents. In fact, we once brought our 15, 13, 11 year olds to Hawaii and did not bring them again on a vacation for 5 years. Here is what my daughter and I came up with as possible explanations for the consistent positive behavior:

  • Really grateful kids to have their parent back from deployment.
  • This is not a regular occurrence or expectation.
  • The character qualities instilled by military experience.
  • Dad is a literal drill sergeant…say no more.

Perhaps it is all of the above. I would love your feedback.

6 thoughts on “How can families go on vacation and not deal with stressful, entitled kids?”

  1. It seems that both mom and dad were on the same page. That really helps in keeping the children behaved. If one is strict and the other is a softie there will be problems. Maybe Dad was getting ready to deploy and Mom put a guilt trip on him (I hope not).

  2. I try to make sure that we don't cram too much into our days during vacations. I notice that my kids get extra cranky when they are overwhelmed or tired. Not sure if this was the case in what you witnessed though. I also try to involve my kids in thedecision process of what we are going to do for activities and they are more cooperative. I would love to win this CD…new to L&L and have a lot to learn!

  3. I have been on several international trips with a young child, some with flights over ten hours. Making sure kids are well rested, even if that means being a drill sergeant, is key.

  4. Here's my theory – many military families have to move often (I went to 3 different grade schools & 2 different high schools) and if the parents are consistent with their consequences/punishments it doesn't matter where they are. The rules are the rules whether you've moved for the 15th time or are on vacation. If the child doesn't act appropriately then the consequence is going to be the same no matter where they are.

  5. As was said, the parent's handled that minor situation well. I would assume Military families lead a very different life style. Moving around frequently, and living in a variety of environments, matures kids quicker. This leads families to naturally work together because, there is no one else to rely on but each other. Also, I am sure military life is infinitely scheduled and, kids do well with consistency. When a child rarely spends time with a parent usually, they want to be involved with them instead of being left out in a time out.

  6. Kaitlyn! You have won the random draw. I will be in contact with you shortly. Everyone else, keep in touch, there will be more giveaways on the way!

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