Would you let your teen cross the border into Mexico for Spring Break? Should you? Is it safe to let him or her spread their wings and experience very different life south of the border? We ask the experts…
Many parents are faced with an awkward moment when they have to decide if they want to grant their teen’s request to travel across the border for Spring Break. It’s true that Spring Break is almost a right of passage nowadays, and no parent wants to be the one to put the kybosh on their child’s fun, but this is one subject that needs some serious consideration.
Is it safe, for one thing? Would your child be in danger, or is there strength in numbers?
- We put your questions to the experts and it’s fair to say the answer was unanimous: NO, you should not let your child cross the border for Spring Break. Not one expert we spoke to would recommend allowing your potentially headstrong teen to head into Mexico.
- Mexico at the moment is simply too dangerous. No matter how sensible your child is or purports to be, by far the easiest way to keep him or her safe is to make sure they don’t put themselves in harm’s way in the first place.
- Teens and Mexico just don’t mix well. Most teens are far too relaxed about potential danger, and do not have a great degree of situational awareness. They may walk around with a cell phone, constantly texting or making calls, paying very little heed to their potentially dangerous surroundings. At the same time, they mark themselves out as easy targets for opportunistic thieves.
- There’s a lot of pressure that comes with Spring Break. Kids are encouraged to be wild, to show their riotous side and to mix in with whatever happens. There’s an incredible amount of peer pressure that can make even the strongest teen buckle.
- While no parent ever wants to see their child in trouble or arrested for a crime such as intoxication even in their home state, the situation is so much worse when it’s south of the border. The difference in laws and apparent freedom are often not good for teen visitors.
- Spring Break unsupervised has led to many life-changing moments, and not all for the best. For many teens it’s their very first taste at being truly free and unsupervised, so it’s not surprising they go a little wild. What may be high jinks at home, however, can become a brush with the law in Mexico.
- Some teens come home with unexpected and unwanted pregnancies, while others are arrested for intoxication or need hospital treatment for the same. It’s simply not true that what goes on in Spring Break stays in Spring Break.
Bearing all of the above in mind, you’ve decided to say NO to your teen. He or she CANNOT go across the border for Spring Break. But is that really the end of it?
- You’re going to have to ask yourself some more tough questions now, starting with whether your teen may be bold enough to break your rules and decide to go to Mexico on Spring Break anyway. Be honest with yourself; no parent wants to think their child is capable of breaking their trust, but you need to protect your unthinking teen and be prepared for all eventualities.
- He or she may not realize the consequences of their actions (teenagers rarely do) so you need to think of it for them. Therefore, you’ll either want to lay the law down firmly before Spring Break, letting them know what will happen if they do decide to sneak off, or take affirmative action in other ways.
- We’re talking about hiding your child’s passport somewhere where he or she cannot find it; activating a GPS tracker on your child’s phone or adding one to the car so you can follow him or her wherever they go, or controlling their money supply so there’s no point in taking off anyway.
- It’s not nice to assume your child may disobey your orders, or to indicate a lack of trust in him or her, but sometimes you have to take drastic action to make sure you know they’re protected. That’s why you’re the parent and they are the teen.