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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
Speaking for all April 7, 2008, 4:05 PM

Shut up and grab a Brew!!

Robinn April 7, 2008, 4:06 PM

Sorry, parents. You are responsible if you let them go off on their own like that!! It is completely nuts to let a child (and yes, they are children) off on his/her own in that age group!! I know I had zero common sense then and kids are a lot wilder (and more clueless) now. Sure Natalee Holloway’s mother didn’t actually kill her…but she allowed her to be where she could be killed.

kala April 7, 2008, 4:07 PM

kis just wanna have fun!

Daveeee April 7, 2008, 4:09 PM

I still am crazy. I have sex, drink & do (some) drugs. Nothing wrong with that. You need to have limits. Need to be responsible. I work 40+ hours for my day job & I have a part-time which I work 40+ a month & I go to school part-time. I’M STILL ALIVE. =] People need to get a life, leave everyone alone, if your not hurting anyone, then shuuuufly don’t bother me.

Ted April 7, 2008, 4:13 PM

I have no problem with Spring Break in general terms.
Been there, seen that, got the t-shirt, the hangovers, the VD, the stolen stereo, the trashed car, the vomit and condoms on the hotel room floor.

Yeah, it was great. Then I grew up. Now I feel lucky that nothing real bad happened.

Some of you who have gone or are planning to go will grow up and some of you wont. I am just trying to save my kids from learning the hard way.

I guess what gets me is that enforcement is so lax in the party locations. I guess the dollar is still King, no matter what happens.

Bama April 7, 2008, 4:22 PM

I grew up in Daytona Beach (Spring Break Central- for many years)And I have experienced first hand Spring Break and the HORRIBLE things that go along with it. I would never let a child (yes, they are still children if they are under 21) of mine go on Spring Break where so many things that can end up harming them take place. YES, I was a teenager and a college student,and, YES I have done things I am not proud of,but,part of our responsibility as a parent is to make sure our children are safe, and this is not safe!

Kelly April 7, 2008, 4:31 PM

RE: Obviously ANON you didn’t read my post all the way through Anon or you wouldn’t have given this stupid response.

I KNOW I don’t have control over who they’re gonna meet in life…hopefully they won’t encounter too many dumbasses like yourself.

I love my kids enough to know the difference between being their parent and being their buddy.

And BECAUSE of that distinction, my kids aren’t the ones acting like drunken morons in that video.

Maybe you are and that works for you, but it seems to me YOU need to get real.

That’s it…end of story.


Anonymous on April 7, 2008 4:04 PM wrote:

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.

matt April 7, 2008, 4:32 PM

so im a college student, and i live in alaska, a far way from beaches and typical “spring break” spots. i think this article is crap because this stuff happens everywhere. you dont have to go to florida or mexico or anything like that to drink, or do drugs. this article is saying its dangerous to send your kids on break but this can happen anywhere, and where the kids are is not gonna stop them from doing any of this stuff. in the video it talks about minor consumption, i know plenty of kids with minor consumption and drug charges, it happens everywhere, stopping your kid from going to florida WONT STOP THEM. oh and also, kids in the video, you just posted on the internet you do drugs and say you dont want your parents to find out. well congrats its on the internet for everyone to see, including your parents.. smart move

Anonymous April 7, 2008, 4:38 PM

Well no duh! I mean what do they think teen agers do when they go away for spring break? I never even went away for spring break when I was in college! These days kids as young as 15 go down there. Why are parents so surprised when their kids are doing drugs and drinking over spring break? What do they think they are going to do?

Trim Man April 7, 2008, 4:46 PM

So they get some trim on spring break! Whats the big deal!

mike April 7, 2008, 4:46 PM

Jeez the women in this country (USA) drive me nuts. All you do is talk about sex and substances (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, Viagra, vitamins, painkillers etc. etc. etc.) and stuff to pop to prevent breast cancer, etc. etc., all day long, can’t find a women’s magazine without article after article about your sex life, sex problems, sex hang-ups, sex tips, how to make your man better at sex, this very website has the - you guessed it! - “love & sex” tab, flip on the TV and you see Carrie smoking her icky head off and talking to Samantha talking to Charlotte to whatever-the-hell-her-nasty-redheaded-name-is on That Show about sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex. And you are shocked to hear that your late-teen and early twenties daughters, not too bright but not wacko either, are doing….horrors! just what you did twenty something years ago and still jabber jabber jabber about today!!! Did you ever see the Woodstock footage? Saturday Night Fever? 80s music videos? Puhlease! Stop it! Shut up!

Newsflash…sometimes bad things happen to good people, sometimes good things happen to bad people. Some of these kids will have something “unchosen” happen…but most will not, most are having the times of their lives and will emerge from high school and college just fine. Just like you did.

Live with it…if you can’t, ask your doctor for something to take with water.

Evalina April 7, 2008, 4:47 PM

Spring Break wasn’t a big deal in my area, so none of us (popular kids or unpopular) in my graduating class ever went away on spring break. But I do recall that one year my best guy friend told his folks he was going on a cross-country tour with his band-mates and that his parents couldn’t stop him because he’d just turned 18 (had not graduated yet) and he was an adult. They couldn’t tell him what to do anymore. The next morning his mother handed him an eviction notice and told him if he wasn’t off property by nightfall she’d call the police and say he was tresspassing. His dad dragged all his furniture to the curb. He ended up buming around for about two weeks and realized he wasn’t getting any sympathy from anybody because all his friends’ parents (mine included) charged him rent to stay with them for the night. He wasn’t really a bad kid - made decent grades in school and planned on going to college - so he freaked when he tried juggling school and being homeless and having a job all at the same time. After those two weeks he went back to his folks and begged them to let him come back. The money he saved up for his cross-country trip went to buying himself new furniture and clothes and things because his parents had trashed or sold all his stuff in the meantime. So he never went on that trip. Lived with them until he graduated from the community college around here - must have been about 23 by then. I still talk to him sometimes - he lives out of state now and is working on his PhD in engineering, has a son and a very nice wife. NOBODY in our group ever pulled anything like that after that - we were scared our folks would do the same thing! So, you talk about kids learning to be independent and growing up and rites of passage - I say, make ‘em homeless for a week or two if you’re determined to show them how to be independent. No parental support, no bailing them out of jail, nothing, until they come back and promise to follow your rules. People don’t like being “independent” when it means they have to suffer the consequences without any loving support behind them.

Sarah April 7, 2008, 4:50 PM

Boy, am I glad the days of Spring Break craziness are over for me ! As a parent, you hold your breath for a week, and make your children crazy with advice about good behavior. It’s major headache.

Steve Nap City April 7, 2008, 4:55 PM

Spring Break = Drunk Chicks… parents let your daughters come party haha

Athena April 7, 2008, 5:03 PM

I’m 18, I’ve never had a drink of alcohol in my life, and I don’t plan on drinking until I’m 21. I made a promise to myself, and I’m so close now, why break it now? It’s only 2 more years and a few months. There’s definitely been the temptation now that I’m in college, but I can have a good time without alcohol. It’s just not something I feel I need to do.

Drugs are messed up, too. I’ve never done drugs (never even smoked a cigarette!) and I don’t plan on ever doing it. My parents raised me to be better than that.

The kids in this video are the extreme of the situation, brought on by peer pressure and a lack of monitoring by their parents. They need help.

Jim April 7, 2008, 5:09 PM

I’m 65 years old, a great grandfather. I raised 6 kids. Every single one of them thought they invented sex, drugs and rock n roll. Each one thought their problems were unique to their generation. Parents need to be parents, not friends. Kids have friends at school. They need parents at home.
All 6 are productive adults. All 6 went to college. (now I’m broke, but they are OK)
I would rather send my kids to Floida for 2 weeks ten Iraq for 15 months.

Empty April 7, 2008, 5:10 PM

I did go on a few spring breaks—that I paid for myself. I can not say nothing against Spring Breaking. Currently I am 27 years old and teens are going to do those things there on their spring break or they are probably already doing them behind your back anyways. I was a very good student and has great values. I may have got drunk a few times on spring break but I didnt go to the point of having sex with everyone and doing hard core drugs. I personally believe most of the teens who go all out on spring break is already do those things anyways. I went on spring break to get away from the school work and have fun with my friends. Parents just need to be more open with their kids. Keep it honest with your kids and they will honest with you if they feel like the communication is open. My parents always said if you are old enough to ask the question you are old enough to hear the answer. So let your kids/teens know what your values are and what you expect out of spring break. I turned out okay. I did party and had fun ( maybe not to the extent of others) and I graduated college with a nursing degree. I truely believe I would allow my teen ( when i do have kids) to go on spring break because I will allow the open communication between parent and kid. We have all been a teen before with peer pressure and if thats all your teen ends up doing is getting drunk I don’t see a problem. They could be out there killing someone.

Avi April 7, 2008, 5:12 PM

I’m a 20 year old college student and I personally find it hilarious that this video was shocking. I see this every weekend at a typical party. This is nothing unusual. Spring Break really is just an extended party. To those who didn’t know, have you been living under a rock? To parents trying to remedy this situation, either don’t pay for the tickets for your kids, or be logical and instead try and educate your kid on how to be safe. Everyone (even kids) know the health consequences of drugs and alcohol but clearly we don’t care. I know so many people who’s philosophy is “well something is going to kill me someday.” And honestly, if it’s health your concerned about, most parents should be more concerned with their kids lack of a healthy diet and exercise. But in terms of substances, I personally think the biggest downfall of “health education” in high schools is that they just teach you that you shouldn’t drink or smoke or have sex at a young age. Clearly telling us no is not going to stop us, so educate us. If you can’t tell the signs of alcohol poisoning, you’re not going to be able to help your friends if they need help; if you don’t know much about weed, acid, E, whatever, it’s easy to overdose or let yourself be taken advantage of. Kids are going to experiment no matter what, the same way that most of our parents did when they were our age. So establish a relationship of trust with your kid so they’ll feel more comfortable sharing this kind of stuff with you, and they will be more inclined to listen to what you have to say about it (especially if you used to be one of the party kids). And don’t forbid your child to do anything because by the time we’re 18, we’re legal adults, like it or not (even if drinking is still illegal)and forbidding your child just makes them want to rebel as if saying: “I’m the authority, you HAVE to listen to me” not “I’m the authority, but I want to talk to you and am willing to listen to you”.

ur mom April 7, 2008, 5:13 PM

idk spring break iz for ppl lookin to hve fun its the time to let go who gives a f*#@ come on fyi reality cheak THIS ISNT NEW NEWS!!!! dah

cris April 7, 2008, 5:19 PM

I’m thinking that by the time a teen is in college and old enough to go to spring break, the era where they can be forbiden to do something by their parents is long gone. The things that happen in spring break are the same things that hapen in campus and in the real world. Parents can no longer tell them wutto do or not because, lets ace it you cant. By that age the “kids” can go to war, kill, maim, can smoke and get married, what are parents going to realisticly do that will actully help their kids. The lessons have to be learned much earlier than college, because by the time teens get there arents no longer have the authority they used to. By then parents can give advice and warnings, but grounding and saying “You cantgo” as if your talking to a 5 year old will no longer do. The only response you will get is resentment, and as soon as the kid gets some freedom will abuse it because they never learned to deal with freedom or make their own decisions. That is the fact, think back on kids you went to high school with, the ones whose parents never let out or never let drink or party. Werent they the first ones to go binge drnking once they had the freedom in college. And those kids whose parents tusted them enough to let them go partying, whose parents taught responsibility to and treated like adults, behaved like adults. I kno i did, i went partying and drank and had my fun, but my parents gave me the freedom to do so and the tools to use that freedom responsibly. If you think by not letting kids go to spring break you are protectig them, then you have another thing coming. Because a teen that has not been taught responsibility and does not share a respectful relationship with their parents will find a way to get in big trouble no matter where they are. By respect i mean mutual respect, the kid respects his parents and himself enough to make good decisions, and the parent respects the kid enough to let them make their own decisions, while still giving them advice and warnings.

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