Our parenting question of the day... Should we let our kids go on spring break when they're in high school?
My children are still very young but the "Spring Break or No Spring Break" is one of those parenting questions that comes up in our house and with my friends quite a bit this time of year.
It's only natural to look into the parenting crystal ball a little while the kids are young and wonder how you'll approach inevitable future teens and parents issues and questions.
Usually parenting issues are easy to figure out with your spouse when it comes to curfews and items of that nature. The Spring Break question is one of those issues my husband and I don't see eye to eye on. Here we are butting heads on the High School Spring Break issue:
She said: Shock factors wear off over time and bigger things need to happen to get a shock factor anymore. What happened at my Spring Break shocked me back then, but would seem more common place to others today. Honestly, I don't think my parents had a clue what happens at Spring Break, so they thought I was taking a nice vacation to Florida with some friends. (MTV was all videos back then, not footage of Spring Break like it is now.) Honestly, I don't think I had any idea either, as I was incredibly surprised once I got there. Underaged drinking, parties all day and night, kids vomiting in elevators, hanging from balconies, getting arrested and being sent home were only some of the mentionable moments I saw on my trip. I know I sound like a hypocrite here, but there is no way on earth I want to let my children go on a Spring Break trip to a party haven location. It's one thing if we were to take a family trip together, or if they chose a more remote (i.e. non-traditional) location where only their group was going, not the entire teen population; it's another if we wholeheartedly allow them to go on a trip to Mexico, Aruba, or a hotspot in Florida where all the craziness happens. Our kids are responsible, but I fear they could get caught in a bad situation. I can't let my children take a typical, trashy, booze infested Spring Break trip. I need input on where the trip is taken and with whom.
He said: I may be giving myself way too much credit here but when I look back at my Spring Break, I find it was a valuable learning experience. My three friends and I scraped together our own money, made our own accommodations and drove ourselves down to Clearwater Beach, FL. It was probably the first major thing in life we accomplished on our own (I know this isn't saying much). We kept our worried parents heavily involved in our plans and freely accepted their advice so we didn't make any major mistakes or get ourselves into trouble. We made sure our car was safe for the long drive and checked in with our parents often. We weren't blind to the opportunity. We knew we were given a tremendous amount of respect and held up to our end of the bargain. My Spring Break exploits weren't entirely G-rated but I don't want to helicopter over our children either. How can we expect them to learn the yard if we don't give 'em a little leash? The responsibility of a Spring Break trip with friends is a great barometer to see how much trust a young adult has earned. Parents can't just flick a switch whenever parents want their kids to become an adults. I think maturing is a process where kids (hopefully) use parents' guidance to influence their decisions. That said, the Spring Break horror stories on the news and "word of mouth" in the schools scare the heck out of me. I won't allow my kids to go on a Spring Break to a place where their is known trouble. I'd love it if they opted for a chaperoned trip or would be content taking a simple trip "up north" but, by the time they're 17, I can't see myself making them.
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