Your 16-year-old rushes home with a flyer offering discount air-fare and hotel rooms in Cancun. Everyone’s going and if you say no, you will destroy their social life, they’ll lose all their friends, and life as they know it will end. Whether it’s Cancun, South Padre Island, or Miami Beach, Spring Break is fast approaching and teens as young as 15 with stuffed backpacks and promises to behave, will be dropped off at boarding gates nationwide. Worried parents will head home wondering “what was I thinking,” and “why didn’t I just say no.” As reports of wild-parties, binge drinking and depravity air on local news networks, night-mares begin and it is just day one of a weeklong getaway. Saying no to adolescents and teens can be challenging. Improving Lives Counseling Services offers a safe, welcoming, balanced environment to voice your concerns and for your teen to substantiate their request.
Health and safety experts say; “there are plenty of reasons you shouldn’t let your teen engage in spring break festivities.” A study conducted by the American Medical Association found that, “teens had an alarming tendency to binge on alcohol and engage in high-risk sexual activity. One in five had sexual experiences they later regretted.” The Journal of American College Health reported, “the average male consumed 18 drinks per day and the average female 10 drinks per day.” Alcohol poisoning, thefts, injuries, rapes and deaths are reported each year. Even the most trusted, well-behaved, responsible teen can find themselves in dangerous situations – “The strip is a melting pot of drugs, sex and nudity.” Law enforcement suggests; “sending teens on spring break unescorted is risky business.” Many teens return home and confess they never should have been allowed to go. Is it a right-of-passage?
Teens today don’t want to hear what happened last year or the year before. They live in the present and can’t foresee anything going wrong. Fitting in and being accepted in a circle of friends is more important than ever before. Failure to make this “all important” trip can lead to teasing, bullying, anxiety and depression. Returning to school they find themselves ostracized, exiled from conversations and discussions of, “who got the worst STD, who knew more people who had to be rushed to the hospital or whose roommate threw up the most times in one night.” Despite the promises of abstinence, the pleas, the sulking and the cries, teens don’t possess the maturity needed to handle themselves in bleak surroundings. Many find it hard to say “No” when surrounded by friends or immersed in a crowd of peers.
The internet is full of articles on the dangers of unescorted teens on spring break, the importance of saying “No”, and the crying and sulking you’ll endure for days. Our team of professional counselors and therapist suggest open, honest, respectful conversation. We have the knowledge, skills and tools needed to “have the talk”, “just say no”, and not end up the most loathed parent in the universe. Adolescents and teens are prone to relentless begging, playing one parent against the other, using flight and shutting down. Using repeat excuses can make a child feel they are not being heard and the confrontational “No” (end of conversation) can affect self-esteem and self-worth. Unfortunately, parents can be just as manipulative as adolescents and teens. Maintaining open communications is important.
Improving Lives Counseling Services can help. Don’t wait until your beautiful, smart, bright-eyed 15-year-old hands you a travel brochure. Family counseling for a healthy, happy family is just as important as it is for a family facing challenges – and is more effective when the entire family unit attends. Although most families turn to therapy when something unpleasant is going on, scheduling a family therapy session to improve relationships, communications, listening skills, rules, roles and expectations is suggested to keep things flowing. We offer individual, couples, family, group and video counseling sessions. Spring break is closer than you think. Call us.