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Spring Break Confessions: Part 1

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Teens go for the fun, sun, and surf ... and many add massive amounts of drinking, drugs, and dangerous sex when they get there.

These spring break confessions are shocking testimonials from real teens for whom going away means going to scary extremes--getting drunk and high, hooking up with strangers--and, too often, ending up arrested, sexually assaulted, or clinging to life in the hospital.

Although stories like Natalee Holloway's make front page news, author, pediatrician and ML contributor Dr. Cara Natterson says most teens can't anticipate consequences because, "their frontal lobe, the C.E.O. of their brain, isn't fully developed yet," which is why so many teens still live like there's no tomorrow.

So, how can you keep your child safe? "The most important thing is to set limits," says Dr. Natterson. "If you know the situation will be wild, don't let him or her go. It is equally important to keep talking to your child. Bluntly tell him or her what worries you. Use short-term examples like: 'You won't to be able to play sports next week,' instead of talking about long-term addiction or eventual loss of brain-cells."

"While it is true that the chemistry of the teen brain, with its impulse-intensive responses, will often win out over your words of warning--your words are still valuable," says Dr. Natterson. "Every time you sit with your child and have that talk, it's another piece of hay on the haystack. Eventually the stack gets big enough that you are influencing your child's decisions." Ready to get started? Download our discussion guide: HTML or PDF.

Did you or your child go on spring break? Take our Spring Break Survey.
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Coming tomorrow: Shocking teen confessions about spring break sex.


next: Kegels for *Dads* ... Say What?
185 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous April 7, 2008, 3:15 PM

The morons in the film are already on their way to the looney bin!

Anonymous April 7, 2008, 3:17 PM

Do they honestly think that this is new news?

thatkid April 7, 2008, 3:22 PM

uh, did the author of this just realize that kids go to spring break for the sex, drugs, and drinking? cuz i so then the author has prolly been sheltered their entire life. the point is we r kids and want to be kids, you putting loads of schoolwork and stressing us kids out are what turns us to doing stuff like this. the secret to gettng kids to stop doing drugs….stop stressing us out!

Anoymous April 7, 2008, 3:28 PM

this are the type of kids that won’t make it to the age of 21.. sad.

Jolis April 7, 2008, 3:30 PM

Hmm…. teens have been doing this for how long? Couldn’t have been just the past couple of years.

What amazes me is that, I hear about this stuff over and over and over, and it doesn’t seem like anything’s being done about it. People like to talk about it and bring it to our attention all the time, and say it’s bad, but why isn’t it stopping and decreasing?

Parents, you have enough on your hands. Maybe you’d like to think your child is innocent, or if you’re aware of what they do, it’s not that bad. First of all, I don’t see how anything like drinking and partying should be allowed. Teens will be teens—if you let them get away with making a name for teens like that. Teens can be teens without all the drinking and drugs and sex.

If you say any of those three are what a teen is, then I must not be a teen. Keep an eye on your kid, and make them suffer the consequences.

Julia April 7, 2008, 3:35 PM

To get an idea of the dynamics of spring break, check out the famous classic movie ‘Where The Boys Are’, released circa 1960, starring George Hamilton and company. (Don’t even go NEAR that 1984 version).

(If you are fortunate, you may also procure a copy of the novel by Glendon Swarthout. The novel, lest you are interested, served as the inspiration for the movie).

Andrew April 7, 2008, 3:36 PM

i went to spring break the past 5 years. i shared sexual relations with atleast 3 woman a night sometimes 3 at one time and i never wore a condom. i’m still clean too. ya we drank and did an ungodly amount of drugs but i’m still alive and i had a good time. i’d want my kids to do the same as long as there 18 or older. drugs are a recreational activity not to do all the time but once in a while. cant blame somone that wants to do a little speed or blotter here and there. go out and have fun kids. party it up like it’s your last and take advantage of peoples generosity with there drugs and alcohol. that doesn’t happen that often.

thetruth April 7, 2008, 3:39 PM

Newsflash—these videos may just as well be 15 year olds. Welcome to high school, where the biggest open secret is real life. Do you honestly believe that your teen respects you? Delusion isn’t only caused by drugs…

DEB April 7, 2008, 3:42 PM


carolyn April 7, 2008, 3:43 PM

Mel, if you’re reading this, thank you for what you wrote. As a parent of 3 teenagers (including one college student)I think you’re right on the money. I wish your message could be on the evening news. You’ll be a great parent one day. My guess is that you were parented well. It happens that way, doesn’t it? Good luck.

ERin April 7, 2008, 3:46 PM

This is nothing new, but the reckless drug using is news to me. Whe I was in high school I wouldn’t dare do drugs. I was terrified of them. I don’t have children, but I do mentor some kids. I have been able to deter some from wanting to try drugs by being straight up about what’s in them and how you can be hooked from the first time you try them, especially with coke, meth, and heroine. I’m not going to lie, I myanot have done drugs in high school, but I was no stranger to alcohol and casual sex. I am so ashamed of my past now and telling them about this really gets their attention. You have GOT to talk to your kids and even if you don’t have any, if they come to you, TALK to them!! It is so important. Parents, please create an open realtionship with your children early on so they will not be afraid to talk to you about things. They have to know that your door is open and they have to know that you will not judge or get angry about any “confessions” they may have. They have to feel comfortable coming to you and this starts as a toddler. You may not stop them from doing everything but you will be amazed at what you can prevent. My mom knew that I drank, she wasn’t ok with it but she did trust me to always know what I was doing and to let her know where I was. I told her early on that she did not raise a dummy and that the more boundaries she set on me the more I was going to rebel and lie… With this, we were able to come to compromises about places I could and curfews. She always knew where I was. This helps. The casual sex thing came later, towards the end of high school… One thing that I tell girl teens is that their peers are ALWAYS going to find out what they have done with a guy, and if that thought doesnt embarrass them enough then I don’t know what will. I also encourage them to think abou the future intsead of living in the moment all the time. It’s good to live it up and have fun in the present but it is also good to think about how your decisions may effect you down the road. How will they feel about what they have done later in life? How will they feel about themselves? It’s not “cool” to be sitting in a ditch without a diploma or job or a place to go because you got addicted to heroine one spring break nor is it “cool” to be pregnant and not know who the father is all because of one drunken week and I think it is the least “cool” of all to loooking for a friend that disappeared after one drunken night or to be the friend that disappeared. They don’t think it could happen to them but it is happening more and more everyday. They need a slap in the face of reality. They need to talk to people that have been in these situations and then they might start thinking twice.

noneyabusiness April 7, 2008, 3:48 PM


you think that controlling your kids will solve the problem? it wont. that means that once you upset them, they will throw the rules all out the window just to spite you for controlling them. The anger is going to come out some way. And you know what? all relationships are based on some type of friendship. it doesnt mean you let them do whatever they want. the stricter you are, the more they’ll rebel to spite you. How would you like it if your parents never trusted you and tried to control every aspect of your life huh?

taking risks and living life is better that being safe but not living at all. this does not mean you should let them do whatever they want, but just tell them that you trust them and theyll come around.

dont accuse them always of things they didnt do or theyll just think that you know what? they already accuse me why nod do it? parents are supposed to support their kids and believe them.

usually kids do drugs or alcohol because of family problems, whether its fighting or being ignored. they usually do it to piss you off or comfort themselves. this is the ROOT of the problem.

And Dr. Natterson is wrong. The more you stress everything, the more insignificant each hay piece will seem. Soon it all blurs and all you hear is bzzz bzz bzzzz.

just love your kids and LET THEM KNOW!!

take this advise and use it!!!

steve April 7, 2008, 3:50 PM

Andrew of April 7….u must be nuts!

SMC April 7, 2008, 3:51 PM

This is a self centered Generation. They watch reality shows; Jerry Springer; idiots like Britney as icons.
Teens looking for the 15 minutes of fame.
Shocked that these cities..don’t SHUT DOWN the underage drinking.
Parents living through their kids; being friend?
Anyone who lets their kids go..are IDIOTS.
Missing girls from Aruba?
Teens…….lack maturity and common sense.
Wow, who do you think you are? Were you never a teen and therefore have always been this reasonable and open-minded? I’m in high school and I realize that what these kids are doing is dumb, but it’s their choice if they want to mess their lives up. Not all teens are immature, nor do they all lack common sense. The only time you ever hear about teens is when it’s something bad. You never hear about the good things. I believe that just about everyone on here has made a decent point except you. Think before you go around judging others so you don’t sound so ignorant next time.

Jenn April 7, 2008, 3:51 PM

Spring Break is the reason I didn’t finish college the first time! I was on a full ride scholarship to play volleyball at a division 1 school. I loved the social aspect of school and loved Spring Break!

We all know that these parties are not anything new. Most kids won’t even parttake in them, some get way too caught up in them. I agree that it really has a lot to do with the values instilled by parents as to what direction a college student decides to go with it. I grew up a product of the 70’s watching my parents and their friends have a little too much fun in my presence. I think it influenced me a bit to be curious as to that party lifestyle when I got old enough. My parents changed their ways and mellowed out completely by the time I was in later elementary school and they talked to me about drugs and alcohol. But unfortunately they never talked to me about sex. And sex was this huge taboo thing in our house. So what did I do on spring break? Yeah, probably about 10 different guys…in a week. I really wish my parents would have made a bigger deal about talking to me about sex and making it clear to me that sex is a “normal” thing between loving partners. I think I wouldn’t have rebelled so much and had so much sex if I had a different perspective on it. I have two daughters of my own now and I plan on being completely open with them so that they know the truth about sex and drugs and alcohol, and not make them such taboo objects that may cause them to overdo it.

nathan April 7, 2008, 3:57 PM

I grew up in fort lauderdale when that was the only location for spring break… so i got attend spring break from the rtime I was about 14 til i was out of college. It’s fun. It’s that simple. And tho it’s a much bigger party the kids are doing the same thing at college parties, block parties and so on. I also have a 27 year old and I know aboput the parties he attended, and he nver went on spring break.

Jennifer April 7, 2008, 3:59 PM

I have been to South Padre because I lived in the area and let me tell you that it’s so easy to do ANYTHING there. Not just on Spring break, but all the time. Mexico is not even 30 min away also. Vendors don’t care about the kids it’s easy money. Parents shouldn’t be so oblivious to this. Nothing good comes out of spring break, and newsflash. It’s happening everyday. Open your eyes and you’ll see

rosie April 7, 2008, 4:01 PM

so whil teenagers brains may be out of wach it doesn’t mean kids can’t make decisions for themselves… if you controled your kid and they’re living in your basemant do you think there might be a connection between the two? way to think maybe your frontal lobe ain’t screwed on quite right!!!

elizabeth April 7, 2008, 4:04 PM

aww..this is sad. to know that kids choose to do these things. people say you shouldnt do this stuff because its unhealthy. i dont do drugs because its WRONG. some of the kids were almost about to cry. plus i think its sad that the parents dont care enough to check up on them. also the kids dont want their parents to find out. thats sad because they dont even trust their own parents

Anonymous April 7, 2008, 4:04 PM

Carol, no one cares. Kim, do you know what you’re saying? Kelly, get real. Your children are in your house for right now, not forever. Once they leave, you don’t have control over what they do or who they’re with.

Not all children are going to go out and experiment like those in the video (And yes, I am a college student; I know this for certain), but we all learn in different ways. For some, being around people who’ve made those mistakes is enough. For others, like the kids in the video, it takes a predicament like being caught, getting hurt or catching a disease to see the harm that drugs, alcohol and unsafe sex can expose you to.

If your child has enough integrity or cares enough about the damage they’re doing to themselves, then eventually they’ll realize that maybe those kinds of activites aren’t enjoyable enough for them to keep doing them.

As adults, you’ve probably done some things that you weren’t supposed to do. Maybe they weren’t as severe as the things your children are exposed to now, but look at the times we live in. Drugs and alcohol are out there, and yes, your children WILL be presented with opportunities to try them REGARDLESS of the company they keep. Don’t ever think the fact that you’ve managed to keep them under a tight watch up until this point is enough to stop them once they’re gone. Parents make that mistake all the time. I’ve seen it before. I’ve lived it.

The tighter the leash and the more control you exercise now, the more likely they are to go out and do it anyway. My parents thought the same way because I made straight A’s in high school. I was involved with lots of sports and clubs. I go to a top school, and yes, all of my friends are the same way.

Be realistic.

Teach your children to learn their own personal limits and trust that they’ll use good judgment. That’s all you CAN do.

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