How Much Freedom Should Your Teen Have?
Teenagers travel freedom is one of the big issues that all parents of teens face at some point in time. How much freedom should you allow your teenager while on vacation? How can you guarantee your teenagers safety while travelling?
How much freedom is enough?
Even the best-behaved teens can get themselves into trouble. Teens can be naïve, too trusting and too eager to make new friends. They might not be mature enough to evaluate risk properly or make the right judgments regarding drugs or alcohol.
There is real danger involved in giving teens too much freedom when travelling. If not sure what to allow then think less is more in this case.
Your teenager may not like it. Actually, it is almost guaranteed that your teen will not like it. But they will understand it some twenty thirty years down the line... when they have their own teens to deal with.
Travelling With Your Teenager
Of course, general travel safety rules apply when on a vacation with teenagers, like how best to avoid theft, accidents, and health issues. There are though few additional issues to bear in mind when travelling with teenagers.
Teenagers want to be independent. They don´t want to hang around their "boring" parents / family members all the time. They want to go out and explore on their own, meet new friends, try new things.
There comes the time that you must relax your "grip" on your teen. However, it does not mean he / she can do whatever they want.
Make sure the rules are clear in advance and explain why they are important. It is best if you can come to an agreement with your teenager in advance about the teenagers travel rules.
For example, when can you're teenager be on his / her own? Ideally, your teenager should never be out and about on his / her own when travelling. If they are not with you, then they should be with some other people you trust. If with new friends, make sure you know who they are and make sure you deem them trustworthy before giving your approval.
You might agree that they can go to the local teenagers' hangout spot with their friends, but emphasize they have to be back at agreed time. You might agree that they can go with their friends to the beach instead of going with the rest of the family. However, they would have to let you know where they are going and come back on the time agreed.
Just make sure your teenager knows the rules in advance, knows they are set for their benefits and because you love them.
Teenagers Travelling On Their Own
It is trickier to keep an eye on teenagers travelling on their own. Now you really have to rely on what you have taught your teen over the years.
There comes the time that teenagers have to go and explore the world on their own. It does not change it that even the best-behaved teens can get themselves into trouble if not careful.
It is therefore important to talk about your teenagers travel safety and how you expect your teenager to behave when travelling on his / her own. Consider how best you can guarantee your teenagers travel safety, for example:
- Go through the general Travel Safety rules with your teenager
- Agree how to be in touch, e.g. by e-mail or phone
- Agree how often to be in touch, e.g. daily or weekly
- Agree emergency plan, i.e. what to do in the case of emergency
You might want to emphasize few points if needed, like drinking sensibly, avoiding unprotected sex, stay away from drugs at all cost, never ever accept carrying parcels for someone else (no matter how well they think they know them), etc.
Don't go overboard though. If you have done your job well over the years, your teenager will be fine. They are likely to experience some minor hiccups on the way but they will learn important lessons from them.
Your teenager may find your teenagers travel rules stupid and seem not to pay attention to them, but it will sink in. Your teenager is likely to behave more responsible if he / she know that you trust them and that you care enough to be concerned about your teenagers travel wellbeing.