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It is a distressing thought, sending your teen off on a holiday without you. This can cause parents much stress and anxiety. The good news is, rarely will a teenager want to go alone, without peers.
So at least you have the comfort of knowing that he will have friends accompanying him. There have been many tragedies involving adolescents and young adults who were away from home and were injured or died. The news is filled with stories of these vacationing young people who get abducted, fall off hotel balconies, have car accidents, and other tragedies.
One parent set up a Facebook group urging parents not to allow their teens to go on trips without them. So when is the best time to let your teenager or young adult travel without adult supervision? The answer is no time but that is not realistic, now is it? You have to let them grow up and unfortunately, teenagers have the mindset that it ‘won’t happen to me’ and this often results in reckless behavior and poor judgment.
Nature Versus NurtureThere are those that will tell you that you have to teach your child precautions and good judgment. These people put a lot of weight in the ‘nurture’ concept known as the ‘blank slate theory.’ Scientists will tell you, however, that the ‘nature’ concept may override the ‘nurture concept.’ This means that some teenagers have an adventurous nature and are not easily controlled. Once out of your sight, he may act as he sees fit, especially if he perceives there is no real consequence. With some kids, you have to warn them, caution them, and simply hope your message gets through. Otherwise, your teen will never become a responsible adult.
Parents tend to think of traveling with their kids in the context of a family vacation. Despite the valuable lesson your teenager may have learned from these holidays, it is not the same for them as when they first go somewhere on their own with friends. Whether it is studying abroad or a recreational holiday, the first solo vacation is a memorable lifetime experience, one your teen will talk about when he has children of his own. For teens, this type of freedom is the equivalent of a rite of passage and can empower them for the college years ahead.
Is this Freedom too Soon?
Is He Mature Enough for This?Parents need to consider the maturity level of their teenager prior to allowing him to travel without supervision. People mature at different paces and some teens are not as worldly and knowledgeable as others. One of the hardest things a parent can do is see their teenager become an adult. There is much worry and concern that he needs your protection and guidance, regardless of his age. The problem with this is, people have to survive and part of learning to survive is independence. This is a normal part of life and there is no ‘right’ way to cut the umbilical cord other than to just do it. Parents should always let their young adults know that they are there for him without fostering a dependency that prevents him from standing on his own two feet. Most teenagers are eager and ready to be adults and want the recognition of this. Just remember that teenagers may want to be free but it is still scary for them, too.
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