Tuesday, March 31, 2015

High School Seniors Don't Belong in Mexico...without you!

Writing a parenting blog affords me the opportunity to voice my opinions--whether popular or not.  And my opinion on this topic will not be popular with many but...it is my firm belief that High School Seniors have not earned some type of automatic privilege to celebrate their Spring Break with an unchaperoned trip to Mexico.

I am fully aware of all of the excuses parents make in order to justify sending an 18 year old on holiday with their friends to Mexico.  The prices are affordable.  They are of legal drinking age in Mexico.  Parenting from guilt makes you feel as if they deserve it because they have endured the college application process.  They are most likely heading to college in the fall, and you won't be controlling their decisions or even be aware of them when they are living on campus and not with you.  Parenting from exhaustion makes you give in because your teen wants to go and is making your life miserable unless you say yes.  Or you fall into the "all the other kids are going" trap.  Reach out to the other parents and confirm what your teen is telling you.  Then, perhaps some of the parents can agree to go and chaperone.  To me, this sounds painfully awkward...but it is more responsible than sending them on their own.

The reality is 18 year olds are still painfully immature.  There are truckloads of research confirming that their brains have not fully matured.  And the part of the brain that remains immature is the impulse decision making area.  Therefore, they are physically incapable of making good decisions 100% of the time.  And much more likely to make poor ones in an uncontrolled, unsupervised environment.  Poor choices that in some cases may lead to alcohol poisoning, drug use, and date rape.    Does it make any sense to send them to a foreign country that has a lower drinking age as well as other safety issues?  You have just dedicated 18 years of your life raising this child.  Do you really want to risk this precious investment?  The risks are enough to keep me and my husband saying "No!" and planning a family trip instead.  They will have plenty of time to drink alcohol and experience the partying lifestyle in the years to come if that is what they are seeking.  It is not your parental duty to serve that up to them on a silver (all expense paid) platter.

Seniors can be very persuasive.  I get that.  But stay strong, parents.  And safely launch them onto a college campus in the fall rather than a Mexican nightclub this spring.

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