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Thursday 25 April 2019

I worry about my son going on holidays

Stock Image: AFP/Getty Images
Stock Image: AFP/Getty Images

Mary O'Conor

My 19-year-old son is going on holidays with his friends to Spain very soon. I'm worried sick that something will happen to him/them.

We always talk freely to each other but this time I'm afraid to talk about keeping safe, as he will just stop me and switch off - as he thinks he knows it all.

Can you give me advice on how to approach the subject.

Mary replies: Every year around this time there are reports of accidents and sometimes fatalities happening to our young folk as they holiday.

It is only natural that you will worry and it is also natural that you talk to him about keeping safe.

Explain that when he is a parent himself he will understand how you are feeling and tell him that you need his help in easing your worries.

Apart from the day-to-day safety elements you will also be pointing out the dangers of drinking too much and your fears around drugs. Of course he will try to stop you but you will have to keep going. Some of it will sink in even if he seems to ignore you.

I remember smiling to myself as I found phrases that my own mother said to me - which I totally resented at the time - popping out of my mouth when dealing with my own children.

You can also ask him to text or WhatsApp you a couple of times, and explain to him that it is for your peace of mind.

You are in the process of cutting the ties and letting your son advance into adulthood, and sometimes that is a very difficult process. So hang in there, realise that it is normal for parents to worry and remember that technology is your friend in keeping lines of communication open between you.

The fact that you have a good relationship with him already will stand to you while he is away. The alternative of saying nothing, while it may be easier, is failing in your duties as a parent.

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