Talk to Your Young Person About What to Expect During Spring Break
Popular media has made spring break notorious for being a week of drinking, hook-ups, and sleeping in until your stomach wakes you up demanding a burger and fries. But that isn’t the only way to spend break, and more students are choosing to hang out with friends at home, go on a service trip to help others, or pick up extra shifts at work rather than head to the beach. As the high school or college student in your life heads into spring break don’t get so caught up in packing that you forget to sit down with them to talk about expectations.
If you’re wondering what to say, we've got you covered. Keep it casual by opening with “What are your plans during spring break?” or “What would you like to do with your spring break?” and go from there. If that approach doesn’t work for you, you could try admitting your awkwardness by saying, "I know we don’t usually talk about these things, but I was reading an article about spring break and I wanted to talk to you about what it said before your vacation begins.”
Super easy, right? No matter the type of spring break your young person is planning on having, use this blog as your guide. You'll both be glad you did.
1. Have fun.
Parents, champions, and everyone in between, remind the young people in your life that it's okay to have fun! Consider sharing a personal story about your own spring break experiences. Hearing stories about your youth makes you relatable, further encouraging your young person to be more open with you about their adventures.
2. Stay protected.
Safety first. If they’re heading to the beach they need sunscreen, if they’re heading out on a service trip it’s smart to pack an extra power bank for their electronics, and if they’re staying in town it’s important that the kitchen pantry is as full as their Netflix queue. But, no matter what their plans are, make sure that the young person in your life has a birth control that works for them and some condoms to protect against STIs. Better safe than sorry, right?
3. Be respectful.
Talk to your young person about peer pressure, consent, verbal and non-verbal cues, boundaries, and the like. Let them know that you expect them to treat others with respect and that they should expect the same type of treatment too. Tell them how proud you'd be to hear if they stepped in to help someone being disrespected, be it around drinking, sex, drugs, or anything else. You’ve likely talked to them about consent before, but it’s an important message and it bears repeating.
4. Know I’m always here for you.
A simple, "I'm just a phone call away" might sound corny and super cliché, but reminding your young person that you will always be available means the world to them. Offer yourself as a resource and an ally by making sure they know that you’re a judgement-free place to get advice and help.
Even if you experience a few eye rolls or long pauses, don’t assume you’ve failed to reach your young person—they’re listening and want to know more from you. Conversations like these are necessary and talking about difficult and uncomfortable topics is just a part of life. Learning how to effectively communicate in uncomfortable situations will help prepare your young person for even more complicated conversations later–like negotiating salaries, for example. The more you talk about these things, the easier it gets.