Before They Go, Here Are 4 Must-Have Spring Break Conversations
Spring has sprung its magic in many parts of the country and college students everywhere are packing their bags and heading off to recuperate from midterms. Whether they’re sun bathing in Miami, couch surfing at mom’s, or staying in their dorm, spring break is notorious for being a week of drinking, hook-ups, and sleeping in until a growling stomach awakens you. This spring break we’re challenging parents, older cousins, mentors, and other trusted adults to have important conversations with the young people in their lives.
Wondering what to say? We've got you covered. You should keep it super casual by opening with “what are your plans during spring break?” and go from there. Or you might try a more serious approach like “I know you’re going to have an amazing time on your break, and because I love you, there are some things I want to talk about to make sure you’re safe and having fun.” You could even admit that it’s a little uncomfortable by saying, "I know we don’t usually talk about these things, and this might be a little awkward, but I was reading an article about college kids going on spring break and it said there are four things I should tell a young person I care about beforehand…”
Super easy, right? Use this article as your conversation opener, and you'll both be glad you did.
4 Must Have Spring Break Conversations
1. Have fun.
Parents, trusted adults, and everyone in between, remind the young people in your life that it's okay to have fun and even share personal stories about that one time you did something fun or wild. 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. From sunscreen to condoms, birth control, and responsible drinking—safety is important. Remembering to bring things like birth control or the importance of traveling in groups can be easy to forget, while on vacation. Reminding your college student to lather up when sunbathing, to pack extra condoms, or to always travel with a friend doesn't make you a nag—it just shows that you care.
3. Be respectful.
Sometimes talking about things like consent and treating others with the utmost respect takes the back burner. Talk to your college students 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 to be treated well, too. Tell them how proud you'd be to learn if they stepped in to help if they saw someone disrespecting someone else, be it around drinking, sex, or drugs. They may be over 18, but it's still important to say these things, even if you've said them before.
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 are still and will always be available means the world to them. Offer yourself as a resource and an ally each and every time you speak with your college student!
Chances are that many of the conversations you'll have with your college student may be awkward. But they're necessary. Don't let the fear of a few eye rolls, loud sighs, or long pauses scare you out of having life-changing conversations with the young people you care about the most! 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.