17 Year Olds Going on Spring Break Without Parents
March 06, 2012
Ann Arbor, MI
Arghhh...my daughter wants to go on spring break to FL with her friends. They plan on driving from MI to FL. Of course, no parents are going. I told my daughter, "no way, you can't go. When you are an adult, that's different, but you are too young and so are your friends. I cannot believe these parents letting these 17 year olds go without supervision." Of course, she thinks I'm a monster. I'm stumped. I get that eventually kids grow up, but come on, 17 is too young. What are your thoughts mamas?
Well, mamas this is getting worse. She's threatening to move out. I found out that at 17, she can move out and there's not a thing her dad nor I can do about it. She cussed both of us out, not to mention lied about certain things. It's devastating to both her dad and I to think that she cares more about going down there to party then her relationship with us. It's a very sad day for us. We thought we did a better job in raising her.
Ahh wouldn't life be so much easier if all the moms did what you wanted...but they don't.
The reason is every kid is different. My older two were well grounded and if they had asked I would have let them. Then again perhaps because they had good heads on their shoulders they had no desire to go on a spring break trip.
I see no reason why I would have held my children back but you see a reason so by all means hold her back.
I would like to point out in a year you are going to have to allow her to go to college. I would be concerned if at 17 I could not trust my kids to go on a trip with friends when in a year they were going to pretty much live on their own. I am not saying this as a reason to let her go on the trip, just thinking you may want to work on that. College makes spring break look like a chastity retreat, ya know?
Oh my goodness my stomach aches just thinking about this. Absolutely not. I don't even have a starting point for what a bad idea this is. Let's just leave it at the fact they aren't of legal age. End of story.
Honestly, the more she throws a temper tantrum about wanting what she wants when she wants it (else she'll move out (run away from home)), she's vividly demonstrating she's not mature enough for the trip.
She's in a rush to be an adult? Fine.
Pull back on providing some/most/all of her luxuries and she can get off her behind to earn the money to provide them for herself.
She can cook for herself, wash for herself, pay her own cell phone bill, pay for gas in what ever car she uses and her car insurance, pay for the portion of the utilities (water, electricity, etc) and food she consumes in your household.
Call the other parents. I'd be surprised if they were all saying yes to this. My 16 year old has occasionally pulled the old "but everyone else's mom is letting them do it" and of course it's usually not true. Plus I'm sure it's illegal, I don't think they can rent a hotel room until they are at least 18. What's the plan, to sleep in the car for a week?
Even if the other parents DO say yes, I would still say no, she's still a minor, period.
Ugh, I hate parenting teenagers!!! I want my cuddling, nursing baby moments back :(
How about showing her some teens that have gone missing like Natalie Hollaway and Brittanee Drexel. I am sure there are countless others that end up in bad situations too that we never hear about.
Spring break is for college students not HS students. Most of the areas that they go to are geared for young adults not teens. I would not let my child go at 17 and I would not want her going if she were older either.
Too bad, too sad...she WILL live until she's 18 (perhaps cuz' you DIDN'T let her go) then it will be HER decision...You are RIGHT! Hold your ground!
I am mom to 4 daughters, 42, 38, 36, 34 & grandaughters, grown & not, great grandaughter...ups, downs, in-betweens, laughs, tears, fights, etc.. I would not have EVER allowed any one of them to travel from MI to FL & stay for spring break @ 17, it's just the way it is!
With your update, it is obvious she is not mature enough to go on this trip. So sad, too bad.. . No wonder you are not allowing her to go.. Just remind her you are not allowing her to go on the trip and this is because SHE acts like a child when she has a tantrum. She is too old to act like this. My mom used to tell us that if we "make threats, she will make us prove it."
I would have daughter sit down today and make a written plan on how she is going to move out.. and use Ladybugs list of expenses she will now be responsible for. Include food and clothing.. Then ask her what job she is going to start working at to pay for this new "freedom" she is threatening.
Have her put pen to paper and chart it out.
Is she just turned 17 or is she almost 18? Is she paying for everything or is she expecting you to pay?
As one mom said, our daughter had JUST turned 18 when she left for college almost 3000 miles away,
From the moment she left, it was out of our hands. She could have done whatever she wanted, essentially. She has always been a good kid and very sensible. Her friends are like her and can make good decisions.
When I was 17, almost 18, I went to the coast with my boyfriend (now my husband) and 2 of his guy friends.. No shenanigans, except we did drink at the condo.. Lots of Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daquries. And so In our case we were all good kids. We paid for everything..
Remember, no cell phones back then.. so we used land lines to check in with our parents.
BUT, Ias I always say, follow your own mommy heart and Mommy brain. If it is telling you no way.. stick with it.. and no regrets. Maybe think of an alternative fun thing for your daughter.
I know a lot of girls who ended up pregnant and with stds on Spring Break trips to Florida, doing wet t-shirt contests, getting totally drunk, b/c the majority of the crowd are college kids.... Doesn't anyone ever watch MTV Spring Break concerts? So, sure, she can be doing that stuff at home, but not for a whole week with no parental supervision... so my answer would be no way.
I started college (away from home) when I had just turned 17. My mom and her girlfriend drove to Florida when they were 16 and 17. It depends on the kids. She will be old enough to enlist in less than a year.
I think that most states now have graduated licensing programs that restrict 17 and 18 year olds from driving with more than 1 other person in the car who is not family, or under 21, or similar restrictions. Check your state's graduated driver's license program. Unless the driver is over 21, it seems like they'd be illegal the minute they pulled out of the driveway! Also, when my son was 17, he couldn't drive between midnight and 5 am unless it was an emergency or work-related. That's a long drive your daughter wants to go on. If they planned to drive straight through and switch drivers, again, they'd be breaking the law.
I would tell her that she could go, but that I would be going with her.
And that she would be flying to FL with me. She would not be driving.
End of story.
If she is threatening to move out, remind her that she will need to pay for an apartment, her car insurance, gas, her phone, and all of her college expenses herself. Turn off the phone, take the computer and all the other fun stuff that you bought. She's a grown up - she can get that all herself. Ask for her house key and her car key and send her on her way. It's tough love - it's not easy, but you gotta do what you gotta do
Stay strong mama!! I think you are definitely doing the right thing. She's too young and it doesn't matter how much you trust your child, my parents did so with me and it took one stupid guy to turn that all around. I spent a good two years earning back my parents trust. I was a good girl, but like I said, it takes one guy to show your daughter the attention she desires and it can all go down hill. She has plenty of years ahead of her to go on trips with her friends. Lead by example and let your daughter be mad, she'll get over it.
No adults? My answer would be absolutely not. At 17 you are still legally responsible for her. The question to ask is: how would you feel if, god forbid, something awful happened to her or a friend or an innocent bystander? Could you live with yourself? Maturity level aside, could you trust her friends? Your daughter could be totally mature and trustworthy but in the absence of adults and miles from home she could be persuaded by her friends to make bad choices. You wouldn't sleep the whole time she was gone!
No way, not without adults. My parents were the same way and I thought they were monsters, UNTIL I grew old enough to realize they had my safety in mind. My dgtr and her friends are planning a huge high school graduation trip (for June 2013) and guess what.....parents will be going along. It's a dangerous world out there, especially for the young and naive, no matter how smart they think they are at 17.
No, no, no and no. Good for you!! Your daughter may be less than thrilled with you at the moment but we're not here to be their friend and clearly, you know that. There's no way I'd let my daughter, at 17, drive down to FL and go for spring break. Stay strong, mama!!
I went on spring break when I was in high school and I was 16 years old. This was, of course, in 1984. But I was a good kid, and my friends were all "good kids". We drank a bit and parties, but never got out of hand. There were 5 of us. We lived in PA and we only drove to NJ to do it, so that's different. No parents where there. I'm not sure what to say, cause my experience was fine, but just putting in a good word for the "good kids" who do spring break. Some kids have the smarts, conscience, peer pressure strength and judgement to do it. Is yours one of them?
I wonder if a lot of her friends are 18? That happened to us one year.
My stepdaughter ended up going on a "semi-supervised" spring break her senior year. We had a long discussion, and I was not really for it, but she had been a really good kid up to that point. The worst thing that happened (that we heard about) was a burnt nose, although there was definitely drinking that went on.
All that said, I would not be for it, and I agree, it is very possible that if you talk to the other parents you'll discover that you are all being told that everyone else bought into it. Kids are wily that way.
Fortunately she's still 17 and you can say no way. Once she's legal it is more of a gray area, and you only have purse strings and resources at your disposal to back up a firm no.
ETA: if you read my general posts, I'm a pretty liberal, and even permissive parent at times, but completely unsupervised spring break in Florida? That would be a tough sell.
But it would be a good exercise to have her make a case for it, even if you don't see yourself ever saying yes. It would help you and her walk through possible scenarios and work-arounds for next year, when she will be in college and WILL go. And it gives her a chance to hear you not just saying no, but why.
Is she a good kid generally? What are these friends like, do you trust them? What are some of the things you really worry about, can you talk them over specifically with her?
My initial thought when reading this was, I wouldn't let my 17 year old go. But then remembered that my parents let me drive 5 hours to seattle to meet friends and go to a concert at 17. The fact that they trusted me meant everything to me. I also think it added to my growth, maturity, and independence.
However, it just as easily could have gone badly. And just because I didn't drink or hook up with a boy didn't mean I was immune to the temptations. It really could have gone either way.
Today is the culture of full blown spring break debauchery. No doubt she will be in the heart of it. Perhaps you could compromise and tell her she can go on an all girls vacation, but not to a place thats notorious for spring break partying.
There is a big difference between a "monster parent" who deprives their child of love, housing and food and one who would allow them to engage in self-destructive behaviors when they're too young to be able to process the consequences. I'd rather be the latter any day and I want to encourage you to stick to your guns. You know better - she doesn't - and you'd never forgive yourself if something happened.
Spring Break to me is VERY SCARY! I am with you all the way on this one!
I know that kids do have to grow up sometime, but to me, sending a bunch of girls away to a destination Spring Break just has 'Bad Idea' written all over it!!! No! No! NO! Drinking, sex...ugh! NO!!!
~Even though at 17 I had been on my own and was doing A LOT worse, I would not be comfortable letting my child go. She can go when she is in college and I have no say so...although it is still as equally scary at that age, to me anyway!
You are being a good mom not a monster.
Too many things can happen when there is not an adult there to counter the peer pressure to do things they normally wouldn't -- not to mention the danger just in driving that far and all the other things that could happen.
Your job is not over, do not let her threaten you. Can your child support herself? Who did she expect to fund her trip? Tell Miss Independent at 17, "you are free to move out and support yourself".
Pack up everything in her room that SHE did not pay for (except the cloths on her back). I mean everything and put it in storage or a place where she has NO access. If there is a car in your name, take it away, cancel insurance and infrom the DMV that your daughter is no longer insured...They will suspend her license. Close down the cell phone, credit cards, debit cards etc.
You and dad are devastitated...she will be too...Wish her well on her independence...and let her know if/when she decides to show you and her father the love and respect you deserve, she will be welcome back home, but things will definately change. . Ask for her house keys and/or change the locks.
She wants to play hardball...show your daughter life is not a game.
You are right, your kid is wrong, let someone else's kids parents bury them before their life begings or in other cases never find a body. Dramatic? Does it happen? YES
At 17 she can't do anything by herself anyways. NO hotel will rent to 17 y.o.'s and all the dance clubs are 18 and over. That said, I did go to Florida my senior year and I was 18. I guess my answer would depend on the maturity of my daughter and how well I knew the girls she wanted to go with. Can one of the girls parents, or you, offer to go with?
Hmmmm, that's a tough one. As a mom myself, I'd want to say NO WAY!! But then I think about my own experiences. I left for college when I was 17. Drove from DE to FL for Spring Break my freshman year, at barely age 18. My parents actually encouraged us (gave me and 4 friends their time share for the week). So I don't know. Maybe kids mature a ton in that one year? I can see both sides. But I am fully with YOU - I'd be too worried. Maybe tell her what while she's under your roof she this is the way it is. When she leaves for college things will change a bit.
Not in this lifetime. It is a tragedy waiting to happen. Driving from Michigan
to Florida in itself would scare me to death. These kids have not been
driving that long and that is far. Then they get to Florida, party like they
never have and have to drive back at 17. No way! You cannot usually get
a hotel room at that age, however, during spring break I bet these hotels
do it. Do not give in. She will hate you but you will have your daughter.
I remember several years ago a 17 yo went to Florida with friends. Told
her mother she was staying at friends house. Well she got to Florida,
they had her on tape walking out of hotel and that was the end. Never
I wouldnt let her. Too young......It kinda reminds me of a story about my brother. He was 17 and in the marines.....had graduated high school 6 months early and went to boot camp and came back to walk with his class. he had a class in FL he had to go to. My mom had to go with him because no place would let him get a hotel room.....even though he was emancipated and a marine. Hold your ground.
I think it ultimately depends on your kid and what kind of 17 year old she is -maturity-wise, etc. I did this at 17. I went away to college at 16! I will tell you this -and you should ask her -who is going that's 25 or over? Or are they staying in the vacation home of someone they know? Why? There is truly no place left in Florida, particularly the spring break cities, that will rent to ANYONE under 25. You have to show up with a photo ID and sign all the rental agreements or check in. Even flea bag motels have learned their lessons! So, ask her where they plan to stay and how they plan to rent or check into this place. Then -call the place and find out their policies. Even if she goes and has reservations, it would be a nightmare for them to get there thinking they'll wing it with the age requirement and find out -no-not going to happen. They've been doing this at most places since the 90s. I went with a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds in the 80s, but we had to stay at a friend's house in PC Beach in the 90s, because this policy had become so widespread we couldn't rent anything -even though we were over 21! Even motels wouldn't take a reservation, and now we go to Florida once or twice a year and I notice every time we check in or reserve a condo -it says you must be 25 to reserve the room or rent the condo.
Definitely talk to all the other parents who are letting their kids go and get their feedback. It would also really depend on where they're going plus the type of kid she is as to whether I would allow it. Panama City, Destin, Daytona -HUGE party destinations for the high school and college crowd. I might let her go, but I would have to find out A LOT more details first! And, it is an incredibly long drive for them. It's only 6 hours for us.
No way would she be going - case closed as far as I am concerned. Go broken record on her. No, no, decision final, don't ask again.
As far as moving out she is throwing a tantrum. No way does she have any intention of moving out. Next time she threatens. Tell her you will be sad, miss her but that when she lives in your house it is by your rules, then ask if she like you to help her pack - if not then you expect her to drop it.
Her threats are just that - threats. Really where is she going to go? Helping her pack will silence the threats and let her know that you stand 110% behind your decision.
At 17 she is legally not an adult. She cannot use a credit card, cannot use a debit card, write a check, etc...because they are written contracts, a promise to pay when the item is presented at the bank. She therefore would have to carry everything in cash with her. Legally that is. I know many places don't even look at the cards nowadays though. I usually do.
I would say no also. I know of too many "kids" who ended up pregnant from their first Spring Break away from home. It's almost as high and the babies born 9 months after prom.
Give her a list of your monthly expenses. Tell her if she moves out then she believes she is mature enough, responsible enough, and financially secure enough to be on her own. That should give her a pause before she packs her bags. She's just mad, she'll get over it. I'm young enough to remember my parents refusing to let me go on my senior trip (but mom, everyone else is going!!!) and how angry I was. Looking back, they did the right thing. No way my kid would be allowed to go. I hope those parents that are allowing their kids to go are ready to be grandparents...
I was 18 my first spring break trip. I was a good kid, basically. I'd never gotten into any real trouble, being an athlete really kept me out of the normal teen trouble like drinking and stuff, etc. But on that trip we took the seats out of a van and filled it floor to ceiling with alcohol. We took pictures of the fridge we had in our condo and it was ALL alcohol, except 1 little thing of crab dip. We drank it all. We drank what other people bought. I took $2k with me and had nothing when I got back (dunno where it went). I had my first threesome with strangers (bartender and waiter at a restaurant---MY FRIEND invited them over, not me, but I ended up with them). We were kicked out of the condos for skinny dipping and "stuff". And that's just what I'd admit on a public post. Don't send a 17 year old (not even legal) THAT far, for THAT event, with no adult. It's not a NORMAL trip. I took road trips to neighboring states (we went to 6 Aerosmith concerts that year) and got in no trouble, but had the times of our lives. We used to just get in the car and drive until something caught our attention or something interesting happened, and we never got in trouble. Yes we started school and were perfectly fine/normal. BUT spring break in Florida was not "supposed" to be normal. If they want a good time at the beach, they can go anywhere along the east coast without going down "there".
If they just want an adventure, this is a really big country with plenty of options. But that specific trip at that specific time is about partying, hard. Noone goes there to "find themselves". She could take the trip as a senior trip, or wait for freshman year to take the trip, but if she's 17 and in high school, there's no reason for that. For those that say they were in college at 17, they STARTED college and already had a year (almost) of independence and getting their feet wet before spring break, unless they started college at age 16 which would be quite rare. Good kids can make stupid mistakes when there's no responsible adult around...she's not going to have to deal just with her own maturity and choices, but with the friends she's with---she'll be dealing with consequences of THEIR choices on this trip too. It can get weird for a high schooler.
And someone mentioned the MEN. Seriously, there's a big difference between a 17 year old and a 22 year old man (average senior's age). And there are PLENTY of older guys (into the 30s) that are trolling around happy to pick up any leftovers or work their own games. That sounds weird, but it's true. I'm all for young people exploring, having adventures, trying out independence a little at a time. But it should be a little at a time. Not diving into the deep end before they have had PRACTICE swimming. I'm a fairly permissive parent, but for a 17 year old on a Fla spring break? Absofreakinglutely not.
I went on a spring break trip when I was in highschool. I was a senior just turned 18. But it was a school sponsored trip. We went to jamaica there were a few teachers and a few parents who went along. No way I would allow my kid to go on a trip without parental / teacher supervision. To many weirdo's out there these days. Stick to your guns and when she is an adult with children of her own she will understand it.
It's funny, I worked with my VP of Sales (female) yesterday and this was one of our topics at lunch....just how different things are today. She took a BUS from Chicago to Florida for spring break when she was that age and the parents didn't even question it. My parents were so disconnected from their children, I did whatever I wanted to.
Is your daughter in high school? My daughter was 17 when she graduated as were a lot of her friends and they migrated across the country for college at 17. My daughter was a was/is better kid than I was, not that I was bad but I grew up very young.
I was pretty lucky in that I have traveled a ton with my daughter so it was easier to plan something for us before she got bored and tried to plan something crazy for herself.
If she is in high school it would be a "no" unless she wanted her mom there with her.
There is no magic maturity gift when they turn 18 so I always gave her room to grow and make good decisions. That included flying cross country solo on the "red eye" when she was 14.
I went to Padre Island when I was 17. Memories were definitely made! But honestly...we were lucky to get home alive. I don't think I'd ever let my daughter go. But boy was it fun! Still puts a smile on my face 20 yrs later.
Oh heck no. We laid that out when SS wanted to do a beach weekend after Prom. We were perfectly willing to be the most uncool parents on the planet because he was only 17 and his friends were 16-18. SD has either not wanted to do same or knows better than to ask. She can go next year. SS has since borrowed our van and gone to the beach for an extended stay and come back in one piece but he was 19 then.
Even though I was a young 18 in college and was basically on my own, we still had the RA, the RD, our advisor, etc. College is sending her to a community where there are people trying to get the frosh settled in and looking out for them (I was amazed at the resources SS had). It's not an unsupervised several hundred mile journey to a beach for a big party.
Her reaction says it all, she is too young if that is how she is reacting. Before her over reaction, I would have said that in general I think 17 is too young but that a lot depends on her, her friends, how well she handles responsibility, whether she has ever had problems with drugs or alcohol, how well you know the other kids, etc. I think at 17, kids deserve to have us sit down and have an adult conversation about the pros and cons: what makes you think you are old enough to go? why do you think I am concerned that you are too young? If she can't have a discussion like that , then it is certain that she is too young. Sorry you are going through this.
BTW, do you know any of the parents of the other kids? What was their thought process in all this?
They need at least one very responsible chaperone. There is too much temptation on Spring Break. Parties all day and night, drinking, drugs, sex with strangers, ect ect. There are also the people who prey on young women who may not be totally innocent but are also not totally aware of what can happen. I am sometimes a 'worst sceniro' type person but after watching shows like Vanished with Beth Holloway I get it. Most of the time they will be safe and just have a lot of fun but there have been too many cases of young people simply vanishing while on vacation.
Even if you tell she has to call you daily at least once or twice--if she doesn't make that second daily call she could be hurt--missing--or her phone died. But if something did happen you wouldn't know for many hours and then still be a day away by air.
Tell she can go but only if one of the parents goes along. And make sure that parent is a responsible person. That parent should have to sign a pledge with the other parents that she will not drink-do drugs ect while chaperoning the kids.
Well 17in a judges eyes are legal adults. So I can see where other parents are allowing it. Also I see your point of view n if ur gong ho with a parent going why don't u go. But remember not to be too pushy n motherly you have to be the mom who goes to ave fun too but watches over. I would be scared n flipping too but I would also be the one to go just to make sure everyone's safe.
I would call the other parents. Does she want to go with close friends? Do you know the parents of these kids? Who would let their child with just 1 yr of driving experience (maybe less) drive such a far and long distance.
That could be one of the most DIFFICULT ages ! I hear that all the time from friends w/ 16 and 17 yr olds.
At age 13, 14, 15 it's a tad easier...then, 16 and 17... come and it's much harder !
I remember when teens went to Spring Break and slept on the beach. Yikes !
I have not read these other responses, but I am from GR and when I was 17, I went to Ft. Myers along with 10 other girls, we drove down in 2 cars. We all came back alive :) Do you trust your daughter? Is she willing to help pay for the trip? She'll be gone at college soon, with no parents.....give her a chance. You'll be a wreck all week like my mom was, but I was able to prove that she was able to trust me and she realized that "her baby" was growing into an adult. I know it's hard, and I would probably react like you at first, but sit down and really think about why she can't go. If she was already 18 and still a senior, would you let her go?
18 maybe... I've heard too many horror stories of underage partying etc. God forbid an accident in another state and who can speak for her treatment. Many of these kids seem like responsible young adults until they get this freedom and most Spring Break trips turn into anything goes!!
I was 17 when I went to Florida for spring break. Senior year trip. and yes...I drank-ALOT, and I flirted with lots of boys, and I had fun. However I was aware of what was unacceptable and what would put me in danger, etc. I was never alone I always had my friends near. I didn't drive drunk or get into a car with someone who was drunk. I didn't put myself in a position to be alone with a stranger either, if I was talking to people I didn't know, someone was with me. I was raised that way. My parents were always sure to tell me about situations that were dangerous. It was ok if they scared me, they wanted to scare me and it worked! LOL They let me go knowing that they had told me what I needed to know and that I'd learned from it, and I'd be ok. If you have kept your daughter sheltered at all, then by all means don't send her there. If she has been disrespectful and disobedient...dont' send her there. But if you have made her fully aware of the bad in the world and how to be smart, and she has worked hard and been a good girl, gets good grades, doesn't get into trouble stuff like that....she deserves her "right of passage" and to have a fun time with her senior friends.