Do you want to know what your teens do on Spring Break?

So you’ve let your teen or young 20-something take a Spring Break trip with his/her friends.  Do you even want to know what’s going on down there or is ignorance bliss?

Did you warn them to stay with their friends? Did you warn them not to go off with a boy alone? Did you invoke Natalee Holloway’s name? Did you tell them under no circumstances to lift their shirts for a “Girls Gone Wild” video? Would you want to know if they did?

Do you make them check in with your daily, nightly? Did you send spies?  Are you attempting reconnaissance?

30 comments Add your comment


April 7th, 2009
7:40 am

Don’t have any input into this subject, but it should make for some great reading..Will be on vacation the rest of the week, so hope everyone has a super Easter weekend..


April 7th, 2009
7:59 am

Well, for one thing, an underage teen in my house wouldn’t be going on spring break alone with friends in the first place, so problem solved. It’s strictly a college-age privilege.

As I told my 20-year-old son when he prepared to go on his first spring break trip with friends from school: 1) “Don’t be stupid.” 2) make sure he had an AAA card in case of car trouble, 3) call or text me when you get there, mid-week to let me know how it’s going (that’s more under the category of “having fun?!”) and again when you hit the road to start back home. (Both of my kids have had it drilled in them: “Call before you drive,” just so I know when they’re on the road – they pretty much do it automatically, now).

And, finally: “If you get arrested for DUI, you can rot in jail until the cows come home,” (a corollary of “don’t be stupid”). That’s my biggest fear/pet peeve/hot button, and both kids know how adamant and unforgiving I am on this topic – I had friends killed by a drunk driver when they were on their way home from a concert in college, and I never forgot it. It’s an action that is completely under their control, and a really, really unforgiveably bad decision. I have a former colleague who is currently serving 10 years in jail for having one too many drinks at happy hour and then being involved in an auto accident in which the other driver died. When she gets out of jail, her baby will be 11 years old, and her two other children will be teenagers. The case made quite an impression on my kids, and was a sad example of unintended consequences.

He’s pretty levelheaded, though, and while I’m sure he had adventures that I will never know about, that’s ok — goodness knows, my parents sure didn’t know every detail of my spring break trips! And let’s face it — he’s 20 years old. If I haven’t raised him right by now, I’ve pretty much blown my chance, eh? Of course, he’s 6′3″ and 210 lbs., so not too many people are going to think about messing with him!

We’ve discussed alcohol use. Even though the drinking age is 21, I think it’s realistic to assume that kids will probably partake when they are in college. And, really, most of the safety rules we’ve talked about also apply to soft drinks: We’ve talked about keeping custody of your own drink, never accepting a drink from someone you don’t know (or, if you do, just discreetly put it down somewhere else), and always make sure that someone else knows where you are supposed to be.

I will freely admit that I will be a lot more nervous about my daughter going on a spring break trip than I was about my son. Chauvanistic, perhaps, but there it is.


April 7th, 2009
8:08 am

My daughter is babysitting for spring break. She had the choice to go to the beach with family friends, but chose to stay home and make money this time. However, we did go to Gatlinburg for the weekend. That’s it for our spring break. Heck, the adults didn’t even drink this weekend…….


April 7th, 2009
8:29 am

Well, I don’t have any kids going on spring break without supervision! THANKFULLY! I would hope that their commen sense upbringing would “kick in” when they are alone, but as most of us know, that doesn’t usually happen. I would request that they call or at least text. Honestly, my teen aged step kids are not responsible enough to spend a week unsupervised! I’m certain they would end up in jail!


April 7th, 2009
8:47 am

My daughter is just 16 and not ready for spring break trips. Heck, I have drilled it into her head the negatives about drugs, alcohol and sex. And pray she had heard me, but fear she will make a catastrophic mistake. At 16 she seems to have lost common sense and I don’t know what has happened with her. Maybe it is just the age, but I am looking forward to meeting with her counslor this month to discuss these changes I have notices.

Funny thing happened over the weekend I have got to share. DD went out with a “friend” Saturday night. We had said she could be out until 11pm. About 8:30pm I get a call from her, but she is not responding when I call her name. Seems her phone butt dailed me. We listened, I ended up txting her while we were listening to them, letting her know everything we overheard. This went on for 30 minutes. Finally I hung up and called her back, boy was she embarrassed when she realized what had happened


April 7th, 2009
9:58 am

LM, did she say anything she REALLY didn’t want you to hear?


April 7th, 2009
10:16 am

That’s what I’d be wondering! It’s amazing what you can find out by looking at texts and listening when they accidentally call!


April 7th, 2009
10:21 am

I think it’s kinda sad that we can’t send our kids off to do the same things we did for spring break. My high school girl friends and I went to PC Beach for the 3 years in High School that we could drive. We stayed at the Chateau Motel (they didn’t used to require a parent as long as you had $$$ and we saves all year to be able to go) right by the amusement park. We would sleep late, lay on the beach and cruise up and down the strip trying to meet cute boys.

We had a great time and there was never a lot of drinking going on…at least not in our group. You could find it if you wanted to.

I had to take this week off from work ( without pay! ) to stay home with my son. We couldn’t afford a vacation this year but are going to make the 1 1/2 drive into Atlanta on Friday to see King Tut other than that…we are SPRING CLEANING!


April 7th, 2009
10:44 am

My HS senior made plans with his buddies to drive to Myrtle Beach over the break, with no reservations. They figured they would find something once they arrived. We put the kabosh on that idea. The father of one of the boys ended up renting a condo in Destin, and offered to go down with them. I haven’t heard anything, other than “I’m fine”.

Youngest just flew home this morning from So. FL. The friend he was supposed to spend the week with came down with a high fever the day after he arrived. He sounded so miserable on the phone, we changed his flight and had him come home early.


April 7th, 2009
11:08 am

I would never allow my kids to go on a spring break trip while still in high school. When they go to college of course they can go and enjoy themselves. But, I would expect to be called. Now at 20, you’re no longer a kid, you’re an adult and should be able to make intelligent decisions.


April 7th, 2009
11:09 am

My daughter is not old enough to do spring break. That being said, she has an older half-sister who is 20 and in college. We both have Facebook pages and are friends on there. She went on spring break to Daytona the week before last with her friends. I gave the normal words of wisdom about staying out of trouble and being safe. Other than a couple of bikini shots, and notes about having a good time, she did not post anything about spring break on her page. HOWEVER, her friends did and they “tagged” her in photos. Whenever someone tags one of your friends in a photo, you are given notice on your home page. Once you click on the tagged photo, you can see all of the rest of the photos in that person’s album. There were several shots of her drinking and partying. I grew up in a household where there was no alcohol or smoking and I nor my siblings drink or smoke. Her parents do. I realize that by the end of the year she will be 21, but it was very uncomfortable for me to see these pictures. I have yet to mention the photos to her, her father (we are no longer together) or her mother, and I am unsure if I ever will.


April 7th, 2009
11:30 am

Joe, The things she said were typical teenager things, the things that got to me was she was making herself to be someone other than she is. When I asked her about it, she just felt he would not like her as she was and she wanted to be someone interesting. I expalined that in a very short period of time he would have seen through the lies and not liked her because of it. That if he asked her out, it was because he wanted to get to know her, not a persona of what she thought he wanted her to be. I also pointed out she has never been a follow the crowd, she has always been very proud of her identity and that she did not feel she had to “fit in” to be like. She needs to stay proud of herself and feel she is worth knowing without putting on a facade.


April 7th, 2009
11:44 am

My children are too young. They have tons of family near the beaches, so it may be that when they are teens I let them go visit. Hopefully they will stay the path under the watchful eyes of extended family…but that is a choice to be made at a later date.

I am curious about this “So you’ve let your teen or young 20-something” I ascribe to the ‘My House, My Rules’ school of thought. However, does a parent really ‘let’ a young 20-something (or a 19 yo who’s been off to school) do anything?

Jesse's Girl

April 7th, 2009
12:04 pm

My kids will not be permitted to partake of Spring Break trips with friends…alone…while still in high school. But when they enter college and have the means to foot the bill for the trip….then sure. They just need to understand one very simple truth….MOM AND DAD WILL NOT BAIL YOUR ARSE OUT OF JAIL IF YOU GET BUSTED FOR SOMETHING STUPID!!!!! Too many kids are allowed to do adult things while still children. The parents of these kids are doing them a HUGE disservice. Our kids need to learn personal responsibility…..I see so many treating life as a Hedonist Resort!!! I am certainly no prude….far from it….but I strive everyday to instill in my children that for everything they do, there is a consequence. Good and bad. For most teenaged goobers….the choices made if allowed to go off with friends for spring break…will be ones they regret.


April 7th, 2009
12:29 pm

We did not let our oldest go while in high school and will certainly not let our youngest. Even the first year of college we were a bit hesitant and laid down some rules, but this year at 20 we really no longer had any say other than, call when you are on the road, call when you get there, check in periodically, call when you leave and call when you get back to school. Call really means text. High schoolers, even with a chaperone, just find so many ways to make bad choices. Not that I don’t trust my two, but why put them in a position where the opportunities are so wide open?


April 7th, 2009
12:32 pm

Mine are 22 and 24 now and my 24 year old just had his last spring break trip of his college years as he is graduating May 2nd. My boys never went on spring break trips in high school, it never even came up as a topic, so this high school spring break is new to me, but perhaps that’s because my boys grew up in South Florida and the beach is right there :)


April 7th, 2009
1:09 pm

I will gladly go chaperone for any teenager…..There is SNOW in Atlanta….UGH! At least if I am off for Spring Break could Mother Nature not send snow?

The kids and I are having fun with board games and will hit a $1 show later. Soup is simmering on the stove. One luxury of being off is getting to do more in my kitchen.


April 7th, 2009
1:15 pm

@FCM: However, does a parent really ‘let’ a young 20-something (or a 19 yo who’s been off to school) do anything?

The answer in most cases is “no”. Once a kid goes off to college and becomes accustomed to making decisions on his own regarding bedtimes, work habits and recreational activities, it’s impossible to go back. And why would you want to? Isn’t this what a parent wants, a kid who is maturing and making his own life decisions? Some parents try — I am constantly amused at a friend of my son’s, whose parent insist on a 12:30 AM curfew when he’s home from college. It’s caused a lot of unnecessary friction, so he has chosen to short-circuit it: he avoids home as much as possible, including sneaking into town to visit friends without staying at home.

The only thing I ask of my 20 year old when he’s home is to give me a call by midnight and let me know his plans for the rest of the evening, so I know whether or not to panic when I wake up the next morning and he’s not here.


April 7th, 2009
1:34 pm

My kids can go in high school as long as a parent or parents are along and REALLY there in person (I will be happy to do that duty any time). I think my boys may want to go skiing on spring break, and my husband will be taking them on that venture (while i cross country, snow shoe and hang out reading in the lodge!). Once they’re in college, if they can afford it, then they can go. I’ll definitely give them the “dos and don’ts” and call to check on them, but after age 18, they can go wherever they want as long as they work for the money to get them there and are making decent grades in college (that is if they want the tuition to keep getting paid).


April 7th, 2009
1:39 pm

I’m with FCM, as long as you live in my house, and I’m footing the bill, I will make the rules.

Now, when my kid comes home from college and is still wanting to take MY car, there will be rules for MY vehicle. I don’t care what time she comes home, but my car must be in the garage at a certain time. I’ve already started using that rule.

When they go to college, and come home during breaks, there are still rules to abide by in my home. It’s just respectful. I’m not running a dorm. But there will not be a curfew for her, just for the car. That’s what my parents did with me.


April 7th, 2009
2:06 pm

Oh JJ I like the car rule. I may have to adopt that in 14 years or so when mine start driving.


April 7th, 2009
2:35 pm

While I was strict with them in high school (no spring break trips), once they got in college IF they could foot the bills completely, I was a little more flexible after their sophomore years. Among the three of them, there might have been 3 spring break trips.

A friend just had her early 20s sons go to PC and they were assaulted within hours of arrival by some people at the pool. One ended up in the hospital with a broken jaw (and no insurance). No security guards, no film, and the police did a less than aggressive job in investigating (did not file a report, for instance). So far the med bills alone are over $10,000. His mouth will be wired for about 8 weeks.


April 7th, 2009
3:41 pm

I don’t understand why you people won’t let your kids out of your sight. You raised them to be responsible, and now you don’t trust them 10 feet away from you.

Give them a little credit, and a little lee-way. Life is full of stupid decisions, all of us have made them. Let them go and make their own stupid decisions. They won’t all get killed on spring break.

Catlady, do you know the ENTIRE story as to why your friend’s kids were assaulted. Maybe they had a little too much to drink and started something they couldn’t finish………

My kids, have been going to PCB for spring break since they were seniors in high school, and not one incident has happened.

You are doing your kids a disservice by keeping them attached to the apron strings. Let them flex their wings, and see what happens.

Not all teenagers do stupid things. There are some pretty responsible ones out there……..


April 7th, 2009
4:39 pm

The boys had arrived about 20 minutes earlier and gone to the pool after putting their suitcases up. The thugs were crashing a wedding shower. One brother got thrown into the pool and the one who got hurt got cold-cocked by one of the thugs. There were witnesses who verified this, when the police went back to interview the actual hotel guests.

I do trust my kids, but I don’t trust other people’s kids and adults who prey on them, especially when there is alcohol. Unsupervised kids whose parents push/allow them into situations they are ill-prepared for.

When I was a grad student the usage at the university women’s clinic SKYROCKETED right after spring break, and it wasn’t because of sunburn.

Of course, a lot of what is discussed on this blog is foreign to me (co-ed sleepovers was one). I was raised with conservative behavior standards (not conservative in other ways, mind you), and my standards for my kids were almost as conservative. As a teacher I see too many kids whose parents give them “freedom” they are not prepared to handle. We get lots of grandmas and grandpas that way. Sometimes I think it is the parents who want the freedom.

Let your children be adults when they ARe adults, IMHO.


April 7th, 2009
5:54 pm

My 18 y/o son, a hs senior, went camping with several friends (all boys) for 3 days, unsupervised. They all came back in one piece. My son is pretty level-headed, but when there more than a few boys together, I fear their cumulative brain power drops. Although he is not a follower, I would not allow an unsupervised trip anywhere else at this point, even if I felt he were ready for it, because I’m not, and I don’t know if his friends are. And, you just don’t know for sure what kids will do, you think you do, and you hope you do, but you don’t know for sure…it just might be the time when stupidity makes an appearance. I don’t see the necessity for a high school student to go away alone. There is plenty of time for that, why rush it?


April 7th, 2009
8:53 pm

@ Storm: no incident has happened that you are aware of. That’s a lot different than no incident happening.

@FCM: yes, parents do have some control over their 20 something year old. I am in college, and my mom has some say over me. For instance, I want a dog, but my mom says I need to wait. She told me point blank: if I get a dog, she will no longer pay rent. Money talks. I have a job, but I am a full time student and cannot work enough to pay rent, bills, food, gas, etc.

It is honestly my experience that high school spring breaks are almost crazier than college spring breaks. In high school it’s all about breaking rules, but college is more just about having fun with your friends. In college, you have freedom all the time, not just the one week of spring break. There’s no need to act up on spring break.


April 7th, 2009
10:56 pm

STORM: I agree with you almost all the way and I will probably let my kids go when they are juniors or seniors in high school. HOWEVER, bad stuff can happen all right. Didn’t you hear about that Natalie girl in Aruba? Sure, isolated incident, and all that. But it’s not an isolated incident when it happens to your kid.

I’m just pointing out, I DO agree with you for the most part.

Proud Parent

April 8th, 2009
8:20 am

My college aged daughter did not ask permission, she informed me she was going out of the country on Spring Break. She and 1 other girl flew to Central America, hung out with a bunch of guys all week, and other than a very brief call to let us know she arrived, we did not hear from her until she got back. She said she had a blast, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

But in her defense . . .

They flew to Honduras to volunteer at an orphanage, the “guys” were all 8-12 year old boys, and she and her friend spent the week tutoring English, driving cattle on horseback, and milking cows. And since the friend did not speak Spanish, my daughter also assumed the role of interpreter. There was virtually no internet of phone service, as the area is very impoverished. And she is 21 year old college junior, so while I still give my opinion, the decisions she makes are hers.

But next year as Seniors they are planning a cruise. :)


April 8th, 2009
8:32 am

LM god bless you and i wish you the best in dealing with your can be very hard.

DB i mostly agree with your posts. my youngest will be 17 when she graduates from high school this spring. she is absolutely not allowed to go on any kind of trip..she and her friends have had a road trip across the country planned since they were in 3rd grade lol..umm guess whos not going? all of them lol…i never told her she couldnt cause i figured id cross that bridge when i came to it and as i was hoping it never came to pass. her age is one thing-imo no one underage (18) should go with friends on a vacation simply for legal reasons if nothing else. i have given this last child (out of 5) a lot more freedom than her older sibs and it really had paid off. she is responsible—not to say she doesnt do things i dont agree with-and not to say she wont do something stupid in the future.the main thing i worry about is any underage drinking or being around pot–i tell her if shes doing it or if she isnt, if shes around when it happens then she will go down with the crowd. i hope she understands this. im sure next summer after she turns 18 (and had 1 year of college under her belt) she will be wanting to go on a trip with friends. at that time she will be told-you are 18-make sure you have resources to get out of any trouble you may get into…of course there is no way id let her stay in a jail somewhere-but she has to know how hard it would be for her to get in trouble states away. she has had some experience of kids in trouble with her older brothers so she understands a little more than most-and she doesnt seem to have that kid attitude of ‘it wont happen to me’ she knows it can. so i can only hope and pray i have taught her well and she wont screw her life up making a stupid mistake or being with the wrong people. thats really all we can ever do.

as far as rules in my house–let me know where you are-when you are on the way home-DONT wake me up coming in making noise!!!! and there are also rules about certain places shes not allowed to go–which is really never an issue as she has the same friends from birth almost.


April 8th, 2009
7:08 pm

AH! I had not consider that parents were funding the 20-somethings…thanks Claire. I agree with the other posters, if mine want to vaca they do it on their dime and when they are legal. Mine will also be required to contribute to their college tuition (grants and scholarships count toward contributions)…I do not ascribe to the “as parents we owe them a college education” theory.

I am keeping these ideas of the parents who there now (or have been) in mind. As I said, for their HS years it is likely that Spring Break will be spent on the beach with their various cousins and hopefully other (adult) extended family.