Orlando Teen Counselor on Girls Gone Wild? Seven Tips to Handle Spring Break
What happens in spring break stays in spring break….the well known rule among spring breakers.There is no denying that spring break “activities” are full of high risk behaviors such as excessive drinking, unprotected sex, and hooking up (in more cases then not hooking up during spring break involves alcohol and drug use).

Alcohol and sex play a prominent and potentially dangerous role in spring break trips of college students.Spring break trips involve more or heavier drinking and increased sexual activity than what occurs normally on college campuses.According to a study published in the Journal of American College Health, the average number of drinks consumed per day is 18 for men on spring break and 10 for women.

The American Medical Association with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2006 conducted a poll of more 600 women ages 17 to 35 as part of a program aimed at reducing high-risk drinking on college campuses.A few Key findings of the 2006 American Medical Association poll include:

  • An overwhelming majority (83 percent) of women had friends who drank the majority of the nights while on spring break.  
  • More than half (59 percent) know friends who were sexually active with more than one partner.
  • Nearly three out of five women know friends who had unprotected sex during spring break.

Each year in Cancun, Mexico, a major spring break destination for American college students, the city and hospitals report an increase in deaths, rapes, injuries, assaults and arrests related to drinking.In Daytona last year county officials reported twice as many rape cases during the month of spring break.  

 What do these statistics mean?There are a large number of students that drink during this time which means lack of judgment and lower inhibitions.Heavy consumption of alcohol can lead spring breakers down a path they may not be ready to walk.Most spring break activities begin with a wet t-shirt or boxer contest.Through out the week, strip contests along with sexual encounters can be seen openly on the beaches among other “activities”.   

HOW YOU CAN PREPARE YOUR TEEN/ YOUNG ADULTFOR SPRING BREAK
Did you know that about 15% of spring breakers are high school students? Although we do not recommend teenagers or young adults to participate in spring break parties, some divorced parents may have trouble agreeing on rules for spring break. What can a parent do to prepare their teenagers/young adults for the spring break experience?

1.SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS.  The statistics show that parents are still the most influential people in their teenagers/young adults’ life.

2.TALK TO THEM ABOUT THE RISKS INVOLVED.Remind them of the risks of alcohol, sexual activity, sunburn, and date rape to just name a few.However, the best precautions are the ones that they decide on and take themselves.

3.SHARE EMERGENCY NUMBERS.Create a list of emergency numbers that your teen or young adult will take with them.The list should be kept with them at all times.Parents should also have the hotel number and cell phone numbers for the friends that will be traveling with their teenager/young adult in case of an emergency.

4.COMMIT THEM TO THE “BUDDY SYSTEM”.Make sure your teen or young adult know they should travel in groups – three or more is best.

5.HELP THEM AVOID THEFT.Spring breakers are easy targets for thieves.They should avoid carrying too much cash, wear expensive jewelry, etc.

6.COORDINATE WITH OTHER PARENTS.If possible talk to the parents of the other people that will be traveling with your teenager/young adult.It would be helpful if the parents are being consistent in the approach.

7.ENCOURAGE AN ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK. Many teenagers and young adults are choosing other alternatives for spring break that involve community service.Most colleges now offer a formal alternative to spring break through their student services offices.

 

 

 

NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the author’s contact information below intact.

Author: Janie Lacy, MS, LMHC, NCC