If you have teenagers, the words "spring break" have fostered many a conversation.
Along with those words often come the words, "with my friends".
Meaning: only kids and no adults on a road trip for hours to the beach with a million other teens.
What I'm getting ready to say may be controversial, but here goes:
My high school kids are not permitted go on spring break without an adult.
Yes, even my high school senior.
DISCLAIMER: This is my philosophy. I realize my views are in the minority.
However, my philosophy doesn't mean I'm judging yours if yours differs.
Additionally? I am well aware that, "they are growing up" and that I, "can't watch them forever", just so ya know.
While I'm not going to give you specifics about conversations with my kids since people at school read here (Hi, people at school!), but also because the conversations are usually just long variations of, "Whyyyyy nott?", and it would bore you to tears.
Why my high school kids are not permitted go on spring break without an adult:
1. Long-distance traveling can present unfamiliar scenarios.
A fender bender, a blown tire, an empty gas tank, lost keys, a stolen wallet or a finger mangled in a door at a gas station (happened on a road trip I was on, once) are all things they have to learn to handle, at some point.
However? I'd rather have a responsible person there to demonstrate what to do than have them trying to decide if they should hitch-hike for help or not.
2. Many beach places require you to be 25 (spring break rules) to rent AND check into them.
Some situations would be illegal for them to be there alone.
What if I'm charged with something for allowing it?
What would happen if they got kicked out?
3. My kid isn't 18.
However, even if she was, she is still in high school, we decide what happens.
Until you can handle it without calling me if you get arrested in the middle of the night, you aren't "on your own" in my house.
4. Other people can put them in a bad situation.
I'm not particularly worried they'll do something stupid, but what if someone in their extended (meaning other friends they met up with there) group does?
It only takes one moment for someone to run off into the sunset in vodka-laced tears (Hint: it's in the Sonic cups they carry around the beach) after teh dramaz.
What if they didn't come back?
5. Drinking to excess is very, very real.
Again, I'm not particularly worried about my kids and their friends doing so (but, group mentality can be a strange thing, sometimes), but I am concerned about the ability to recognize an alcohol poisoning emergency around them and what to do about it.
6. But, they aren't in college, yet.
Yes, I do know Busy Girl will be in college soon (yikes), but there is a big difference between a second semester college freshman and a high school senior.
Yes, there is.
Now, does "adult" mean someone escorting them to the beach and fastening water wings for them?
Water wings keep you from learning to swim (another post for another time).
They can take their own car, do their own things for the most part, but I require them to have an adult with them as a back up as they learn to handle things, not to stay on top of them.
It's not a matter of trusting them, I trust them and their abilities, but traveling and spring break can present situations that require adult decision-making, and someone needs to be there.
I realize you can't live as if every day was the "worst scenario", and the trip will more than likely be uneventful, but I consider this trip to be intermediate training for the next few years to come.
I don't wanna know.
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- Why my kids have to have an adult on spring break