"Spring Break" Advice for Parents

by Erica I. Pena-Vest


The most horrifying day of my life will be the day my sons ask if they can go on “Spring Break”. I’ve got 15 years or so to worry about that but it got me thinking – since I used to do PR for the nation’s most popular Spring Break destination, what advice can I offer parents whose kids are preparing to venture out on their own and run amok? 


1) Make sure your son/daughter is traveling with a group of friends. There is strength in numbers. Make sure those friends are friends you trust and know. It will help a little. 


2) Make sure you have cell phone numbers for everyone in the traveling party, phone number for the hotel, for the local City Hall, for the local Police Department and local fire department. Make sure to have an agreement with your son/daughter in advance that they will check in once a day by calling you. This isn’t because you're being an overprotective parent, but to make sure that your loved one is safe and accounted for.


3) Don’t travel to Mexico. This is not the time. The US State Department, along with many Texas State Agencies and all branches of the military, have advised against it and so do I. If your child insists, have them Google “Mexico violence” and see how many visitors have died there in the past year. Just don’t do it. This isn’t the time to be traveling to Mexico.


4) Make sure that your teens understand that their actions have consequences. Many years back Spring Breakers in Texas were arrested for luring seagulls onto their balcony and then hitting them over the head until they died. They were arrested and charged a $500 fine for each bird they killed or to serve a week in jail for each bird. They killed 6 birds before being caught. Their parents had to fly to Texas to bail them out. Consequence I would explain prior to trip – “You get yourself in that kind of trouble son, you’re gonna do the time. I’ll miss you.” – but that’s just me. Please remind your teens that Spring Break is not a break from reality. Whatever they do there can follow them for life – i.e. Girls Gone Wild. 

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