Handling your child's upcoming vacation

A psychologist explains how parents can gain a bit of control


No one gets more excited about spring break or the summer vacation than high school and college kids. Parents on the other hand - not so much.  Since quiet time at home is typically not on their to-do list, especially a a spring breaker,  parents need to find ways to alleviate fears about their child being in the middle of "party central".

Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Dr. Scott Bea says parents can start by reminding their kids of what spring break is all about.

"Being with your friends, having low stress, and enjoying the sun and really cautioning them about the hazards of drinking, drug use, and all of the other things that happen on spring break," he said.

Bea encourages parents to stay in touch with their vacationers. Text messages and phone calls can help remind kids of the limits that were set before they left and reduce the tension you're experiencing about what you can't see or control.

Parents of young adults and high school students are typically paying for a spring break or summer trip so Bea says you can be an advocate for your child by setting limits on where they're going and who they'll be with. By making some decisions for them, you can help keep them safe.

"In this group of young adults, typically, the pre-frontal cortex- the part of our brain that helps us make judgments hasn't fully formed yet, so often as parents we are in a much better spot to predict likely consequences of a behavior," explained Bea.

Bea says you can always do a spring break vacation or summer trip as a family too. that allows for more governance and your child still gets the chance to have fun and reduce stress.