Moms Talk: Sending the Kids Abroad
At what age is it appropriate for children to buy a plane ticket and turn into present-day Edith Whartons?
Denise Zonfrillo: "My oldest sister let her son go to England when he was a teenager and it was an incredible experience for him. However, he was with a small church group. I'm not sure how a parent could ever be 'okay' letting a child travel alone, so far away, at any age. I think if my kids were to travel to a foreign country even as adults, I'd still have a knot in my stomach. Yes, I do believe that movies, such as Taken, and news stories (remember Natalee Holloway?) have great influence on our decisions to let them go distances on their own before entering adulthood."
Jan Randall: "A child alone, abroad? No way. I'd be uncomfortable with my 28-year-old going by herself to probably most foreign countries. She did go to South Korea with a group of teens and a couple of adult chaperones from our church for 10 days shortly after she turned 16 and it was an awesome experience for her. As for urban legends, I check every single one on snopes.com. There is so much untrue and half true garbage floating around the Internet that I always check things out that people send me.
Kimberly Sluter: "Studying abroad was one of the most amazing and educational experiences of my life. I will be encouraging my children to take advantage of any exchange or study abroad experiences that are presented to them. There are a number of programs that exist and boast many years of providing safe programs for high schoolers and college students. I think that participating in one of these programs is a privilege and would like to treat it as one. If my sons earn the privilege I will be there to support them. I'm sure it is tough for parents to live this supporting role especially since I can't even imagine putting my son on a school bus someday. I imagine I will solicit advice from my own parents as they supported me in 2001. I was studying on a ship in the middle of the pacific ocean over Sept. 11, 2001. I spent a semester at sea traveling from Vancouver, BC to Japan, Hong Kong, China, India, Seychelles, South Africa, Brazil and Cuba returning stateside in Miami, FL. I returned to a changed country. Post 9/11 America seemed just as foreign as the countries I visited during that semester."
Eileen Famiglietti: "I’ll be going to England in a few weeks! My kids are not coming, and as far as them flying alone, once they are out of high school and going to college is the youngest I’d let them fly alone. I don’t know about urban legend and news stories, but the movie, Taken with Liam Neesen freaked me out and had me worried about my 15-year-old niece that was flying shortly after I saw the movie. So movies dissuaded me. I would want someone with them that I could trust if I couldn’t be there with them on the plane."
Darline Almeida: "As for me, I think it depends who my child is going with and where, age also plays a role, their maturity level and what they are doing. The reason why they are traveling alone etc. That all needs to be put into consideration. As parents, we all need to let go someday and allow our children to spread their wings."