DEAR ABBY: My children are 10 and 12. When my wife and I suggest that we all do something together, they whine and moan. We have to force them to go, or end up getting upset with them and staying home.
We live five minutes from the beach, but the kids say they "don't like" going to the beach. The bay is down the road, and we used to fish there all the time, have picnics, visit the local zoo and other outdoor activities. But we rarely go anymore. It seems that unless it involves spending money -- like going on boardwalk rides or trips to the arcade -- the children don't want to go. They would rather play on the computer, watch TV, or ride their bikes up and down the street.
Should we ease up and let them do their own thing since they are getting older, or continue to try to do family things together? -- DISAPPOINTED DAD, NORTH CAPE MAY, N.J.
DEAR DAD: You and your wife are the parents in your family, and your wishes should be respected. Yes, your children are getting older, but doing something as a family twice a month isn't a punishment.
Perhaps you should ask them what THEY would like to do as a family. Another thought: Allow them both to include a friend in these activities. It could turn out to be more fun for all concerned. Give it a try.