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Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

Our family loves to travel. And ever since the kids were old enough to attend school, we looked forward to the spring break holiday with great anticipation.

The first few times we traveled on spring break, it made a real dent in our bank account. However, after a couple of years I learned how to plan ahead and avoid costly airline tickets and accommodations. We also learned to leave a few days ahead of the school schedule to avoid the rush hour and all of the hectic travel buzz.

spring break

Each year, the kids were so excited and anxious to get to our destination that the phrase “are we there yet” became forever embedded in my mind. As I look back at the fun we had with the four little munchkins, I can’t fathom that they are now all grown up and that spring break no longer includes mom and dad.

In the mind of a teenager, the idea of a spring break is a simple one. Going away usually means, three things -- party, party and party some more. Unfortunately for my kids, my husband and I happened to vacation in Acapulco a few years prior to their becoming teenagers. What we witnessed there caused us to vow that we will never let our kids away from home during this time.

Picture the following scenario: a large number of girls aged 17, 18 and 19 laying across the top of the bar while the boys bought shots, poured them into the girls’ bellies and drank from there. Meanwhile, the bartender poured alcohol straight into the girls’ mouths. With an admission price of $20 that covers all you can drink within an hour, you can guess what happens. Most of the kids are obliviously drunk, and half of them are throwing up. Bouncers are located through out the club, but the situation constantly seems on the edge of losing control. The only positive to this horrific scene was knowing that the kids all arrived in taxis and would not be driving back to their hotels.

One advantage of being a young parent is that we are young enough to remember how we had fun. Plus, we can still walk in into a nightclub and at least observe from the back to see what we are up against. Of course we are also the biggest hypocrites, and what was good enough for us is out of the question for our kids. When my kids became teens and I started to freak out every time they would go out of the house, my art teacher gave me some sage advice. She said, “You have to let them go and hope that the same God that watched over you will protect them.” These words kept me going for few years, until Acapulco everything changed.

Fast forward a few years and we have become very unpopular parents who don’t allow their kids to travel during spring break. Not surprisingly, we’ve had more than a few fights and disagreements with our children. You can imagine the resentment our daughter felt when we said that we can no longer stop her but we don’t support her going in any way. Of course, she quickly brought up the fact that if she was a boy she would be allowed to go. We readily agreed that the double standard remains, and we pled guilty as charged. However, that doesn’t mean we would support our son if he wanted to go.

My husband and I feel fortunate to have kids that actually value our opinion and usually listen to our advice, even if it’s done with much resentment. However, we can easily live with the resentment as long as they stay home. If you have kids that plan on going away this spring break, talk to them and ask them not to go. If bribery works, embrace it and go for it!

I admit to being a hypocrite on this subject, but the safety of my kids means everything to me. They can accuse me of being unfair and resent me for a while, but as long as they are next to me (or at least in a vicinity where I can convince myself that I’m in control of the situation) I can sleep soundly at night.

When my eldest daughter turned 8 months old, I complained to my grandma that she never let me sleep. Grandma responded that infants don’t let their parents sleep, and when they grow up, parents refuse to sleep and stay up worrying until they get home. That, my friends, is my reality at the moment.

Happy Spring!



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