Beach Week — Talking About It

Remember this is a process, not necessarily a one shot deal.

1. Introduce the topic in a casual way. It’s best to be side-by-side not face-to-face (driving, or in the kitchen, or while shopping)

“Some parents have started talking about Beach Week. What are the kids at school (on your team) saying about it?”

“You know I went to that panel discussion on Beach Week. They had a lot to say about it . . . what have you heard about it?”

“Have you heard anything about Beach Week? There are a ton of stories out there. What things are the kids saying about this?”

 2. The first efforts may not bring anything but one-word answers. Be ready for your teens to bring it up later. You’ve planned this conversation, they haven’t.
3. Take the opportunity to listen to what your child is thinking. It helps to repeat/paraphrase what was said so that your teen feels heard.

Realize that teens don’t anticipate disasters and are naturally programmed to seek out novel experiences. Beach Week may seem like the first step to heading to college, or the final step of the high school experience.

Listen for your teen’s concerns. If you miss them the first time, s/he will mention them again. Your graduate still depends on your wisdom.

Avoid the opportunity to lecture. Reinforce your trust for your teen, but share your concerns about the potential risks associated.

Some teens aren’t really interested in Beach Week. This makes it easy.

Repeat as needed.

4. Be clear from the beginning if you are not planning to agree to the trip. Stay consistent, and know that your concerns will likely be challenged. Responses can include
“I’m willing to talk about it, but I am not inclined to say yes to this idea.”

 “I hear what you are saying, but I’m not convinced that this trip is the wisest choice right now.”

“I know that this is disappointing, and there are plenty of other options we can consider. Beach Week just doesn’t make sense for us.”

 “I’m sorry that you are disappointed/mad/never speaking to me again. I can’t find enough reasons in favor of this kind of trip.”

 “Blame me, it is my fault. And it is my responsibility. I/We take that responsibility seriously.”

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