Tuesday 9 February 2016

Mom's View: Conflicting Feelings About My Kid's 1st Solo Trip Abroad #travel

Mom's Perspective: My Teen Is About to Take His First Solo Trip Abroad

In just over a month my youngest and three of his friends will board a flight to Europe. 

Actually it's connecting flights in an airport I've never been in (and I've been in many) to a country I've never been to (and I've been to several). What if he gets hurt, or mugged or there is an emergency? It would take at least 24 hours to get to him. So I worry, because Moms do that. 

Weighing the Pros and Cons to Each Decision:
When he asked I had mixed feelings: Say No you're too young and hold on tight, or say Yes and let go so he has the chance to be part of this adventure with his friends and have his own life experiences.

It doesn't matter that my youngest child is legally an adult, all I see is a kid that's a work in progress on his way to adulthood. 

So what if at his age I had gone on two Spring Break trips to Fort Lauderdale with my friends. Like somehow I was more mature and Fort Lauderdale at spring break was in any way about mature activities or experiences. But Thing 2 has always been independent and strong willed. He's not easily dissuaded, persuaded or likely to listen to words of wisdom and parental advice. That kid seems determined to reinvent the wheel at every stage of his life, and that kinda worries me.

The perspective is very different from this side of the parent-child equation.

You may not be here yet, or maybe you've already gone through this and lived to tell the story. For me this trip my youngest child is about to take abroad without me there to guide, help and be the voice of sanity is a first and a big step for both of us.

My job is to love, teach and protect him. His job is to grow, learn and eventually pull away and be independent. So what do I do with all my concerns, or how do I deal with the things parents worry about when their teen goes abroad for the first time. How do I make him understand that the majority of the world did not grow up with the same privileges he has had, and he is not invincible. That sometimes caution and a clear head are good options in a world where some things are out of his control. How do I get him to understand the really important messages and life lessons I have to share with him without being a hover-mother? I tell you it's tough. But I opted for yes, pressed enter on "book ticket now", and his tickets are confirmed.

I'm hopeful that he'll have a wonderful time and make some incredible memories, without being arrested, maiming himself, or losing his money or passport. I'll keep you posted.

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about parenting Thing 2.

1 comment :

  1. Sometimes it is just so darn hard to let go. My children are adults and I still worry. And my own mother is 90, and when I leave her place and drive an hour home, she insists I call her when I get home. So I guess it never ends.