It is hard to believe spring break 2017 is upon us. If you have adolescents or teens, you've probably had ongoing conversations about how they will spend their break. If you are a parent of a middle or high school student who will be away with friends on spring break or even if they are home alone, there are some things you need to know to keep your child safe and drug-free.
As kids try to get permission and money for trips, you'll hear phrases like: "Everybody is going. This is a rite of passage." Or: "I'm almost in college--this is what college kids do." "The drinking age is 18 there."
The pressure is on for sure.
This spring break will undoubtedly be a season of "firsts" for teens and pre-teens beginning with their first experience being without an adult for an extended period of time on some days. Other significant "firsts" can include:
These firsts are much more likely to happen under little or no supervision. Taking steps to avoid these dangers is prudent, but more importantly, establishing clear and open lines of communication is key.
Scientists found that, while a teen might make good choices when he is alone, adding friends to the mix makes him more likely to take risks for the reward of relationship instead of considering the cost. Even if your teen generally makes great decisions, getting together with hundreds of other spring breakers can make it seem like the rewards of risk-taking outweigh any future consequences.
If your goal is for your spring breaker to be safe, here are a few things to consider:
Ultimately, the goal is to keep your child, and those around your child, safe over spring break. We all know that one irresponsible decision or crazy post on social media can change the trajectory of a young person's life.
Most of us would probably agree about one thing: It's better to be very clear about the expectations and leave no stone unturned than to wish we had said something.
Don't be afraid to be "that parent" who encourages new experiences, knowing that a strong foundation can help them make the most of their opportunities.
Supervision, at this age, is less about holding your child’s hand and hovering over their shoulder and more about taking certain precautions, setting clear expectations and arming your child with the knowledge and information to make smart and healthy lifestyle choices.
Have fun, stay safe. See you after Spring Break!