Why bad parenting is behind the rise of adults-only holidays – Jim Duffy

With their parents obsessed by posting pictures on social media, children are forced to act up to win their attention or able to run riot, says Jim Duffy (Picture: iStockphoto/Getty)
With their parents obsessed by posting pictures on social media, children are forced to act up to win their attention or able to run riot, says Jim Duffy (Picture: iStockphoto/Getty)
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With parents glued to their smartphones, today’s kids are running amok, writes Jim Duffy.

Picture the scene if you will. A lagoon-like pool with palm tress towering above the water. Waterfalls gushing onto manicured gardens with wooden bridges crossing them. Cabana beds, with soft cushions and lush thick towels adorning them, scattered around the poolside. Choices of water at the filling stations – coconut, guava and mint-infused. Hanging lanterns strewn across the whole vista creating a wonderful light feature.

It is peace and tranquility personified. A few guests are lounging quietly reading online books and journals. Some have light music playing through their earphones as they laze away the afternoon, keeping themselves to themslves. Sheer heaven... until three eight-year-olds appear and all hell breaks loose.

And that is why the ‘adults-only’ vacation is on the up...

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A quiet, tranquil and serene atmosphere on holiday can be completely ruined by unruly, loud, undisciplined kids and parents. And I choose these adjectives not for hyperbole, but as the keys to why adults-only is gaining popularity. Yes, children nowadays seem to be less disciplined and to cause more noise and altercations in almost every surrounding. But, there are a number of reasons for this.

The first is tech. Parents are glued to mobile phones and tablets throughout their holiday. God forbid they miss “liking” a post from a friend while they sit on a sun bed. Think about that for a minute. You paid good money to get away from it all, only to not get away from it all, as you feel the need to remain stuck to a phone.

Upwards spiral of noise

These parents then play videos through these devices without headphones on. And because they are not supervising the children, who are loud, they have to turn up the volume even louder, so there is a double whammy. Noisy parents who don’t give a stuff and noisy kids with no supervision.

But this has even wider ramifications for those looking for a peaceful holiday.

As today’s children have to compete with tech to get attention, they feel the need to be “bigger” than the tech. Mummy is distracted by her mobile phone, so I need to be louder, bigger and bolder in my behaviour so she knows I exist. It is a spiral upwards of noise escalation. A wee soul is in need of parental care only to have to share it with Apple, Google and Facebook.

Conversely, there are those children who view their parents’ distraction as a ticket to do what they want. And it seems they do. Only last week, while on holiday, I decided that wee Johnny and his mates had had enough fun jumping and splashing me while I sat on my sun bed. This while his parents were at the other side of the pool surfing the internet. Suffice to say, Wee Johnny’s mum and dad thought I was from Mars when I pointed out their kids’ unruly, disruptive behaviour. Lost in translation...

This takes me to my next point. It seems that over a generation the discipline of children has become obsolete. While my own father was a little to the point when I got loud – “Stop that right now Jim or I’ll rattle you, do you hear me?” – I definitely got the point and didn’t care for the rattle, so I piped down.

We’ve had enough

If my parents, who by the way did not have mobile gadgets then, saw me annoying any other people, they would stamp on it immediately. In short, I felt disciplined, but didn’t feel it spoiled my fun. Rightly or wrongly, it seems that this attention to detail in monitoring children’s behaviour has been somewhat eroded. Liberalism, being woke, and perhaps too much over-discipline in the past, has caused parents to back off or not bother. Regardless, just look at how kids today behave and it is obvious to me that the pendulum has swung too far in the wrong direction.

The consequence of all of this is that adults-only holidays are on the rise. Getting away from it with no little cherubs shouting and bawling all day is exactly what is offered and more and more people are opting for this style of break. A quick Google search of adults-only holidays throws up tens of thousands of hits with all the big tour operators offering this style of package. Not to mention a whole host of new entrants who see the opportunity in this proposition. Descriptors like retreat, escape and heaven all pop up as these providers know that we want a holiday without the weans. But there is a price to pay.

The typical adults-only holiday in, for example, the Greek islands can set you back almost double what you would pay for a typical package self-catering room. The adults-only complexes have bigger rooms, junior suites and jacuzzis for that romantic evening. It all looks exactly what I and many like me fancy when on holiday.

But, is it right that we have to stump up for a little relaxation, while crap parenting is left unchecked? Even using this language opens me up to the liberal airy-fairy lot who will accuse me of being out of touch and old school. But, I wonder how many of you feel the same way.

There is a whole army, that is getting bigger and bigger, of folks who have had enough of screaming kids and uninterested parents, who are moving to the new world of adults-only. They are happy to stick a bit more on the credit card for some peace and quiet. No, adults-only is no longer for the few, but is becoming mainstream as the world changes and adapts to this new generation.