TRACEY FEATURED IN HOMETOWN LIFE – Tells Parents, “Just Say No” to Teens Planning Spring Break Exploits
Spring Break forum aims to help ‘pressured parents’ reach kids.
This is the time of year when many parents are cajoled, hustled and pressured by teens to plunk down deposits for Spring Break adventures. Parents who have an inkling that an unchaperoned or barely-chaperoned trip out of the country is not a good idea — but just can’t say “no” — may find support and the information they need at a Spring Break forum, Wednesday, Oct. 27, at the Berkley High School Auditorium.
Sponsored by the Tri-Community Coalition, the program features New York screenwriter Tracey Jackson whose Lucky Ducks documentary questioned why there is an epidemic of unhappy, yet supposedly lucky teens. Jackson took her privileged, then, 15-year-old daughter to the slums of Mumbai for three weeks in the spring of 2008. She documented the journey in her film.
“I was trying to put a halt to a lot of what I saw going on around me. I was certainly to blame because she was spoiled, and I had not said ‘no’ when I should have, or followed through with consequences when I said I would,” said Jackson from her home in New York. “I think that’s a big problem in our parenting. There are a lot of empty threats.”
Jackson, who blogs for the Partnership for Drug-Free America, will talk about some of the reasons parents don’t say “no,” and how one’s background and situation influence their decision-making.
“There’s a lot of guilty parenting,” she said. “Divorced parents often make choices based on guilt. Parents who work a lot make choices based on guilt because they feel they’re not showing up as much as they could … Some parents give in and indulge financially because they didn’t have much as a child, and now they can afford to give and they want their child to have everything.”
Jackson just recently allowed her 11-year-old daughter to have a cell-phone.
“It’s been a battle,” she admitted. “I would not give her a cell phone when most of her friends had cell phones. She was too young.”
While the experience in Mumbai was certainly an eye-opener, Jackson’s daughter was still determined to go on that rite-of-passage Spring Break senior year trip. Despite the protests — “Now, I won’t be popular. Everyone’s going.” — Jackson told her daughter the trip was non-negotiable.
“Would you let your kid leave the country unchaperoned for one week with older friends where the average boy drinks 18 drinks and the average girl drinks 10 a day, to drink from morning till morning and have unsupervised sex and God knows what happens. We all know of Natalee Halloway,” she said. “I don’t think these trips are safe. Most kids do come home, but no 17-year-old should fall out a window because they’re drunk in Mexico or the Caribbean because their parent let them go to a place that was unsafe and that they knew was a bad choice.”
Jackson came across as a very down-to-earth mom. She said her parenting style changed after the two years she spent making Lucky Ducks. Jackson is likely to share interesting observations about boomer parents, the lack of family and community support, and the benefits of parents having a “backup” of friends or a coalition like the TCC. Teens are invited to attend the forum, and “experienced” parents might add their own advice.
A MOM’S EXPERIENCE
One local parent who wished to remain anonymous wrote a lengthy e-mail to me last week about her son’s experience last year on a Spring Break trip to Mexico.
“The kids put so much pressure on you. You are nervous, but it appears that all the other parent are OK with the trip,” she wrote. “There a lots of activities and things for the kids to do. The resort looks amazing.”
This mom’s son returned home safely, but his details of the trip were unnerving.
“I realized it was a constant drinking to the point of kids needing medical attention, passing out, etc. There were even kids (whose parents were on the trip with them) that drank to the point of needing medical assistance,” she shared. “When you send them to an ‘all-inclusive resort,’ where they can drink as much as they want with no supervision for an entire week in the sun, they are going to overindulge.”
This parent learned that when kids come back from these trips they want to “keep the party going.” But there are consequences that may effect their lives for years to come.
Need some help saying “no?” The Spring Break forum begins at 7 p.m., Oct. 27 in the Berkley High School Auditorium located at 2325 Catalpa. Contact the TCC at (248) 837-8008 or visit www.tricommunitycoalition.org. Learn more about Tracey Jackson’s documentary Lucky Ducks at www.traceyjacksononline.com.
Find the original article at: http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20101024/LIFE/10240311