Posted: Mar 13, 2013 11:00 AM
Spring break is rapidly approaching. For older teens, this means the opportunity to hit the beach with other kids. How do you keep your teens safe without locking them up at home? Real moms chime in with tips, advice and tales from wild spring breaks from their own teen years.

Whether we grew up watching MTV or partied in Cancun ourselves, modern moms know what spring break is all about for many teens. As spring break approaches, learn how to deal with your teen's wishes to travel and party over the holiday.

Don't get snowed

If you can't be with them, make sure the adults that are parent the same way you do.

Some teens are going to lie about spring break activities. Mom Jenny Grace shares that her brother and his friends created elaborate alibis and drove to Mexico. They broke down and sold a parent's van for $50. "No one died," Grace says, "so there's that." To avoid this kind of spring break mishap, don't take a teen's word without serious proof that everything is what it seems. "The key to keeping your kids safe and out of trouble over spring break is making sure they are accountable to responsible adults," says mom of teens Stefanie Mullen. "If you can't be with them, make sure the adults that are parent the same way you do.

Remember stranger danger

Your teen has grown out of the days when you had to remind him to hold your hand at the mall, but stranger danger still exists. If you allow your teen to travel or attend parties during spring break, bring up concerns with strangers. Remind your teen not to accept drinks from strangers, not to go anywhere alone with strangers and to use the buddy system with friends. Mom Denise DellaRocco can't believe that her parents allowed her to spend the day with a total stranger back in the late 80's. "Without a second thought I drove 30 minutes away to his house, took a leisurely boat tour, all with no cell phone for back up," DellaRocco says. "To this day it still blows my mind that they allowed it!"

I asked my mom when I was in college for $500 to go to Daytona for spring break and she offered me twice as much to notgo.

Make home the place to be

If you're not going to give your teen permission (or funds) to travel over spring break, give her opportunities to have fun at home. Staying in town doesn't have to be a prison sentence. While you probably don't want to resort to bribing, it's not an unheard of option. "I asked my mom when I was in college for $500 to go to Daytona for spring break and she offered me twice as much to not go," says mom Jean Moses, a legal assistant. "I took the deal."

More spring break safety tips^

  • Talk to your teen early and often about drug and alcohol abuse. Break out the big guns when you have "the talk," such as these statistics on college drinking.
  • Remind your teen to practice safe sex and avoid situations that could impair judgment or increase the risk of sexual assault.
  • Make sure your teen packs necessary medications, prescriptions and health insurance information, as well as copies of major identification.
  • Check in on a regular basis. Let your teen know that text messages are fine, as long as she checks in. Consider a code word if you're worried someone could be using your teen's phone.
  • Help your teen stay safe in the sun. Pack lots of sunscreen and a reusable water bottle for keeping hydrated.

What if your teen doesn't want to travel or party?

Not every teen is a wild partier and not every family can afford travel over spring break during high school or college. Whether your circumstances won't allow it or you have an introverted kid, make the time off of school special. Mom Karen Humphrey goes out of her way to spend time with her son during spring break. "We'll probably be 'tourists' in our town, go to the art gallery, hit some food trucks. Lots of day trips," Humphrey says.

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