Sending your teen away for the summer is no small decision. It takes a lot of planning, and in some cases persuasion, to convince your teen they will have a great time. If it is their first time leaving home or your family for an extended period of time, or they simply dislike leaving home to begin with, then some challenges might arise. Here are three pro’s and con’s for you to consider if you are thinking about sending your teen away for summer break.
- Leaving home without parents can actually change a teen’s perspective on their life. Getting the opportunity to live for a short while with a new set of rules and to escape the dreary routine of everyday life. After all, having to stay within close proximity to home all summer long isn’t what most teens consider “fun”.
- Sending your teen to summer camps without internet or other technology is a great way to prove to your teen(s) that is possible to survive without constantly updating a social network or texting. There are many camps in national parks, forests, etc. that offer minimal technology environment for teens.
- It’s cliché to say but absence makes the heart grow fonder. So if you have a teen that is particularly reluctant to leave home they will be overjoyed to see you when they get back. Sometimes going away can help ease tension and bottled up resentment in teens because of the distraction it creates.
- While away, homesickness is common and, though typically mild, some teens have it more severely than others. This can lead to rash behavior, such as unreasonable outbursts and disrespectful behavior toward superiors and others. I recommend having your teen pack pictures of family, friends, pets, and anything else that they would miss in particular.
- While away, teens are given the opportunity to shut you out completely. There will be nothing forcing them to engage in any form of communication with you let alone anything personal. This is more likely to happen if you already have a broken relationship with your teen. In that case you should repair the relationship as best as you can beforehand
- Teens are very attached to their friends so being forced to leave them for anything less than a relaxing vacation might not go over peacefully. If an argument does occur it is essential to try and resolve it before your teen departs. If not, they will be leaving you on a sour note which is far from desired for both sides.
Clearly, as a parent you have a considerable amount of things to think about before making the decision to send your teen away during summer break. Ultimately, though it depends on their outlook on life and attitude towards leaving home. The best way to make departing as peaceful as possible is to discuss it with them at least a month or two beforehand. It gives teens who are reluctant a chance to discover something exciting for them and for those who love the idea from the beginning more time to enjoy planning.
Image: vastateparksstaff from Flickr