You’re a parent, you’re not sure what sure you child is in for on their Matric holiday and you want answers.
We hear you and we’ve got them.
Q. I don’t want my child to attend Matric holiday events. What are the alternatives?
A. In the past, parents who have not wanted their children to attend the organised Matric holiday events have offered tangible alternatives including a first car or a laptop in exchange for not attending. In most cases, these are things that Matrics value more than a week of partying, and it helps them to appreciate your opinion.
Parents wary of the larger celebrations have offered a compromise by offering to pay for their children to go smaller, quieter locations while their children would have to pay for themselves to attend the larger events. Some Matrics are now also organizing overseas travel for their Matric holiday, often with friends or family.
The key is to discuss the range of options with your child, and look at exactly what they hope to get out of their end of year celebrations.
Q. Should I buy alcohol for my child?
A. Studies have shown that adolescents are less likely to drink and less likely to engage in binge drinking if parents actively disapprove of this behaviour. Conversely, adolescents whose parents display a permissive attitude towards alcohol consumption tend to drink more.
(Hayes, L., Smart, D., Toumbourou, J.W. & Sanson, A. (2004). Parenting Influences on Adolescent Alcohol Use. Report prepared by the Australian Institute of Family Studies for the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Canberra: Australian Institute of Family Studies)
If my child is under 18?
Supplying liquor to minors is illegal regardless of whether you are their parent or not. In our experience, there is zero tolerance for under age drinking at all the Matric holiday locations and police are particularly vigilant during this time. Buying your child alcohol could potentially place your child in the back of a police van for an evening.
If my child is over 18?
When a student’s money to purchase alcohol comes from their own pocket they are more price-sensitive and tend to purchase and consume less. Matrics are also less likely to share their alcohol with others if they have had to pay for it themselves.
Q. How can I prevent becoming a grandparent over Matric holiday?
A. As embarrassing as it is for both you and your child to discuss their sexual activity on Matric holiday, they will definitely be surrounded with sexual propositions, expectations, and opportunities. And, as well as being away from home – often unsupervised for the first time – and surrounded with pressure from peers, the prevalence of alcohol on Matric holidays makes decision-making that much harder for Matrics. Alcohol is proven to lower inhibitions and impair judgment, and it does affect a person’s ability to say ‘no’.
Discuss options with your child about setting up accountability with their friends. Things that have worked in the past include:
- Each person in the group of friends has a designated sober night to look after their mates.
- Friends can be accountable to one another to make sure no-one goes off with someone alone.
Make sure your child is aware of the consequences of sexual activity outside of a committed relationship. Talk to your young person about whether or not they would like to become a mother or father during their Matric holiday. Is this really a good way to begin their post-school life?
Q. What can I do to help prepare my child for their Matric holiday?
A. Young people on holiday often forget how much mum and dad really do for them, like cooking and cleaning. You can help your child by cooking and freezing meals for them prior to the week, providing a suggested shopping list that includes more than alcohol and Coco Pops, and letting them know that no matter what time of day or night, if they need to call you they can! It is also important to let your child know that no matter what kind of trouble they get into you are willing to listen and to help. If a child thinks their behaviour will cause you to get angry at them, they probably won’t call you, even if they really need help.
Q. Can I get the Red Frog Crew to visit my child on Matric holiday?
A. Yes! You can ring our Red Frog Call Centre on our 24 Hour Hotline to arrange for one of our teams to visit your child in Ballito, Umhlanga or Plettenberg Bay. Our crew can arrange a pancake breakfast, help them keep their room in a livable condition, and just be there to talk to them. The number to call is 076 RED FROG. Please let us know which hotel your child is staying in, and their room number.