There’s a new trend happening… and it’s a scary proposition for parents. Teens traveling alone.
Teenagers are at an age where they like independence. Not only do they like having their independence, they also like being around people their own age and being away from the watchful eye of mom and dad. Thus, the question arises as to whether parents should let teenagers (16+) travel someplace alone or with a group of friends?
As parents, most of us would probably respond quickly with “No!” Safety is the biggest issue. While travel can be liberating and eye-opening, it can still be dangerous. After all, what can a parent do if their son or daughter goes missing or runs into a problem? Will they know to go to the embassy? What if there is a medical emergency? (I’m anxious just typing this.)
We ALL know what the cons to teen travel are… are their any pros?
Confidence: Travel makes you do things you normally wouldn’t do… forcing teens to flex their independence muscles. Helping teens with decision making is another confidence builder.
Self Esteem: Teenage years are a time of uncertainty. Travel can help our teenagers to believe in themselves, allowing them to overcome the “I can’t do it” attitude. Solo teen travel, and the independence that comes with that, PROVES that they are capable young adults.
Eye-opening: Being exposed to different cultures, social norms, and values can help them to have more empathy and emotional intelligence. Many times, our teens have tunnel vision, with only one frame of reference. Travel helps teens see the world in a different way, bringing wisdom.
When teens travel on their own, they’re in charge. It shows that they can problem-solve effectively and handle being in charge of their own welfare. This also contributes greatly to self-esteem and self-worth.
In writing this article, I’ve had my eyes opened a bit. Every piece of information about teen travel has asked the question “Do you trust your parenting?” And yes, yes I do. I do NOT however, completely trust everyone else. And that’s the issue for me. Perhaps allowing small trips with friends, in places you know are safe is the answer. There is no doubt that it can bolster confidence and improve problem solving skills.