Sarah Tucker has interviewed scores of teenagers for her new book. Here, with the school holidays upon us, she tells you what will make them happy.

Given the choice, teenagers prefer not to go on holiday with their parents. Given the choice, parents prefer not to holiday with their teenage children. Given no option, teenagers take a holiday with their parents because their parents pay.

According to more than 1,500 parents and teenagers I've interviewed over the past 12 months for my next book on the best holiday options on travelling with 13 to 18 year olds, the concept of the happy family holiday appears to go awry when the child hits puberty.

"Harry Enfield's Kevin is spot on," says Desmond Morris, author of Body Watching and Naked Ape. "Teenagers need to assert their independence at this age. They may begin to resent help from their parents, perceiving it as interference - at best misguided, at worst manipulative. And, above all, they like to be among their peers - especially on holiday."

He adds: "There are additional tensions on holiday when families are brought together for a prolonged period of time and, just like at Christmas, there is an expectation of everyone enjoying themselves without having to work at it. Only it doesn't always work that way."

So what does work with teenagers on holiday? Ski and safari holidays are successful, while city breaks are not. Self-catering villas are preferable to hotels. Specific countries as well as holiday options proved more popular than others. Italy is the most popular destination for teenagers, closely followed by Australia and Canada.

The popularity of these countries appears to be as much to do with the personality and culture of the people as the location and facilities on site. "The people are lively and funky and laid back," commented one 15-year old, who had just returned from a two-week break with his family camping along the Adriatic coast. "I met up with a group of Italian teenagers from Bologna, who would go down to the beach every evening and play guitars till dusk. The campsite was on the beach, so parents knew where we were."

Another teenager had just returned with his father, hiking the Chilkoot Trail, in the Yukon, in western Canada, and both found it a "bonding experience".

An option many of those families I interviewed had tried included going with another family who also had teenage children. One mother explained that this only works only if the teenagers as well as the adults are compatible. Personality clashes may make tense situations worse.

For those who presently have pliable 12-year olds, all is not lost. A percentage (less than 10%) of those I met enjoyed being seen with their parents on holiday, and are appreciative that they are not paying for the break themselves. If they aren't the appreciative type, the best option is to choose a holiday which will suit their specific needs and energies.
470 words

Source: The Guardian, July 20, 2002

tantrum - Trotz-/Wutanfall
puberty - Pubertät
to assert - zur Geltung bringen, durchsetzen
to resent - übel nehmen, verübeln
to perceive sth. - etwas verstehen, wahrnehmen
interference - Einmischung
facilities - Einrichtungen
funky - unkonventionell, irre
compatible - vereinbar
personality clashes - Persönlichkeitskonflikte
pliable - zugänglich
appreciative - dankbar, verständnisvoll

1. You are being asked to follow an argument, select appropriate material and tell the difference between fact and opinion:
a. Write down two types of holiday that teenagers prefer, according to the article.

b. Write down two opinions expressed by the author in the article.
c. Write down two opinions expressed by people other than the author in the article.

2. You are now being asked to read the text as a media text.
What do you think the writer aimed to communicate in this article?
How successful has she been in achieving her aim?
(Comment on the content and the language of the article).

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