After 18 years of guiding your child through decisions, they head off to college where they can sleep through their 8 a.m. class or eat nothing but Cheetos and Mountain Dew for breakfast lunch and dinner; the majority of control is lost. So, as hard as it was, you accepted your new, smaller role as a college student’s parent. You were forced to let go and trust that your child would make the right decision without your assistance.
Months go by and you’re finally trusting that your son or daughter will remember that electricity and water do not mix, when they bring up their plans for a Spring Break trip. Whatever you do don’t panic or tell them they can’t go. Realistically speaking, it’s not the MTV beer fest you’re imagining, and it doesn’t mean her purse will be stolen as soon as she reaches the hotel lobby either. So, before you allow your mind to imagine the worst-case scenarios, remember: Your student has earned a break from not only research papers, tests and lab reports, but from the chill of the Bradford winter as well. They want to soak up the sun with their friends on the beach. If they’ve worked hard, and if they have the money to spend, trust them. You let them go off to college and live on their own, so a week at the beach is nothing.
Here are some suggestions that may ease your mind:
- Just because your child is technically an adult, you’re still a worried parent, and rightfully so. So, don’t hesitate to talk with your student. Communicate to him or her your concerns and expectations when traveling. “I forbid you to go” will
only generate the “I’m an adult and you can’t tell me what to do” response. This may shut down the open lines of communication, and you won’t get to give them safety tips for their trip.
- Encourage him or her to choose a destination you both feel comfortable with. While places like Mexico and Colombia may not meet your safety requirements, Florida beaches will give student the sun-and-fun fix they’re craving. Do your research to figure out which places are safe and which are dangerous.
- When you’ve collaborated on a destination, continue to a part of the planning process. The more you know about her plans, the less likely you are to worry. You should ask for the hotel information: address, telephone number, room number. Also, know who she’s traveling with. Ask him for his friends’ cell phone numbers, just in case you can’t reach him because he forgot to charge his phone.
- Set a designated check-in phone call time. Talking to your son every day will calm your nerves. It will show you that he is not only safe, but also responsible for following through with your agreement.
Spring Break is just another obstacle in the “letting go” process for parents. It may be hard to accept that your student doesn’t want to spend his or her break baking cookies with mom or cleaning out the garage with dad.