The thought of my kids going to schoolies has always sent a chill down my spine. Possibly because I remember what I was like – Ha ha!
I spent 2 years living on The Gold Coast. Walking through Cavill Avenue during "Schoolies" was an interesting experience.
Literally, thousands of teenagers filling the streets looking for a good time.
Schoolies is a rite of passage for Australian kids and there seems to be a new trend emerging for schoolies to travel to places like Bali and Thailand.
Would you allow your kid to go? And do you have a choice? If they’re over 18 probably not. I suppose we just need to think about educating them around things like safety and general things to be aware of.
Because these kids are amped they’ve just spent 13 years at school and their life is about to change significantly. They’re ready to party the last thing they’re worried about is logistics and safety concerns.
That’s our job! So here’s a list of things you need to be talking about with your kids.
Don’t just bring these points up driving along in the car. Try to set the scene so they feel relaxed. I know this is hard but you really need to be coming from a place of caring rather than just a parent “raving on” You really want them to listen to what you have to say.
I would suggest taking them out for a bite to eat. Just somewhere that’s on mutual grounds you want them to feel like you trust them and they are ‘grown up’. I remember my parents would say “you’re adults now so I’m going to talk to you like one. But that means I also expect you to act like one.”
Are their friends trustworthy?
Ask them if they feel safe with the people they are travelling with? This will open dialogue and get them thinking about safety.
Do they have a plan if they get separated from their group?
Bring up the idea of making a central meeting place, so if they lose their friends there is a meet up point.
Ask they call or text you once a day
Tell them you don’t want to be cramping their style but you want to know that they’re safe, everyday.
Ask them for a list of their friend’s names and mobile numbers
They may not ‘want’ to give it to you but tell them that you require it. Hopefully you’ve met some of their friends prior. If not, it may be a good idea to initiate some kind of get-together like a BBQ or the likes. Assure them you will not be ringing their friends unless you haven’t checked in for the day. Or incase of an emergency.
Befriend the parents of the other kids that are going
Do your best to connect with the other parents of the kids that are going. That way you have a group of people that you have access to just incase you can’t get a hold of your teenager.
There would be nothing worse than trying to get access to these details when you’re stressed and panicked. It’s also a good idea to chat with the parents about your ‘rules’ too that way your teenager won’t feel so embarrassed with calling you to check in because all of the kids will be doing the same.
Tell them not to separate
Educate them around not separating, especially at night. Encourage them to bring up the conversation with their friends too. Maybe they could make a pact to look out for each other and stay together at all times.
Think about travel insurance
If your child hurts themselves overseas the medical expenses can stack up really quickly! One of the most common forms of transport in places like Bali and Thailand are Scooters and unfortunately this is where a lot of people come unstuck.
Actually, it was just the other day when a friend whilst on holidays in Bali posted a picture of his friends scooter stack on facebook saying “Alcohol and scooters don’t mix” that’s a given isn’t it? But to some it musn’t be. I think people just get into holiday mode and become too complacent.
Also just double check the policy to see if they are covered for motorbikes or scooters because some policies don’t cover those items. (My friend on facebook was not covered and it hit his pocket hard)
I know we don’t like to even think about that stuff but these kinds of things happen and we’re best to be prepared.
It would be terrible to have bills for thousands of dollars. Here’s a link to look over for your peace of mind.
Cultures and Laws in different Countries
Do some research about the different cultures in the country they’re travelling to. There’s sites like Tripadvisor that can help you out. The other thing to think about is the laws in that country.
You know what teenagers are like they’re not thinking about that stuff. Police and laws in Bali and Thailand are nothing like here in Australia. You and I know that but our kids more than likely don’t, so educate them.
Talk about Drugs and Alcohol
Talk to them about knowing their limits and tell them they don’t need alcohol to have a good time. If they’re over 18 and choose to drink chat with them about limiting the amount they drink, to drink a glass or bottle of water inbetween drinks and to make sure they’ve eaten food prior to drinking.
Also bring up drink spiking, tell them to keep their drink with them at all times. It’s also worth noting that travel insurance policies might not cover your child if something happens to them while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so check with the insurer when you take out a policy.
The sex chat
A survey of over 1,500 teenagers show about 30 per cent of school-leavers had sex during Schoolies week, and more than half of them without a condom. So that chat is quite important, even though you really hope to dear lord your kids aren’t having sex it’s worth talking to them about protection and maybe even giving them some condoms.
All you can do is educate and hope that your teenager listens to what you have to say.
All the best to the parents of Schoolies 2014 – I will be thinking of you!
This was a sponsored post brought to you by the Insurance Council.