by Terri Fedonczak
Founder of Girl Power for Good, Parent Counselor and Author
A Primer for Parents -- Especially of Daughters -- Headed Toward High School and College Spring Break
It’s March, and we are prepping for warmer weather, green beer, and the portent of parental doom (cue scary music) — Spring Break. How can such a festive idea evoke so much dread? Because we have all heard the horror stories about the really bad things that can happen to our teen daughters as well as sons and young adult children, like the tragedy of Natalee Holloway.
|Image from Girl Power for Good|
|Terri Fedonczak, Image from Girl Power for Good|
Vote for good choices with where you spend your money
My girls are forbidden from going to raunchy Spring Break sites, and I enforce that by not paying for travel expenses to those places. Even though my kids are adults, they are still poor college students lacking funds to sponsor their own festivities. I vote for safer alternatives with my dollars. If my kids want to go to places you see on MTV, they will have to raise the funds themselves. This eliminates most of the arguments right off the bat. I make choices based upon our family value of helping others and sometimes that means helping others make good choices. By basing my decisions on our family values, I don’t have to fight my kids; I just remain firmly rooted in what’s right for our family.
Approve roommates, especially if you are paying for the room
Get cell numbers for all the roommates. This may be tricky, but if they want to stay in a room paid for by you, they will comply with your rules. Talk to the roommates to let them know that you care about all of them. Tell them to designate a driver and NEVER leave a friend alone. There are really sketchy people out there who prey upon single girls. Make sure your kids are surrounded by peer who have the same values. This will nip the majority of all problems in the bud.
If your kids are paying themselves, all you can do is trust them
You have raised your kids to act in a way that lines up with your family values -- even when they are away from you. Remind them that everyone has camera phones, and those pictures will follow them FOREVER. If they are going to drink too much (forbidding it won’t stop it) they need to pick a buddy to watch out for them. I know what college students are like, after all, I was one back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
If your kids are still in high school
Don’t your high school teens go on a Spring Break trip without you or a chaperone that you trust—period. This is a recipe for disaster, and no amount of sweet talking by your kid will make it sound any better. If you are unsure whether the chaperone seems trustworthy, err on the side of caution. Better a mad kid than a damaged one.
When all plans have been set, release the outcome
Even if you have taken all these precautions, some uncertainty may still remain. It is crucial to take very good care of yourself to quiet the worry that inevitably arises when your kids are outside your sphere of influence. Be sure to exercise, eat right and get plenty of sleep to quiet the worry. Realize there is nothing you can do except take good care of yourself and be ready to act in case of emergency. Set up emergency contingencies before your kid leaves you. Devise a system whereby your kid communicates with you every day, or twice a day, to let you know that they are alive and well. This is not negotiable. It only takes 1 minute to send a text, and, since they love you, they need to show you by doing this one small thing.
|Terri's new 2014 book, Image from Girl Power for Good|
About Terri Fedonczak
Terri, founder of GirlPowerforGood.com, is also a life coach, parent counselor and author of Field Guide to Plugged-In Parenting, Even if You Were Raised by Wolves which is available on Amazon. Fedonczak takes the girl power message into schools, talking to middle school and high school girls about how to thrive in the wilds of high school, college and beyond.
|Image from Girl Power for Good|