Ask Yonca abla: Is she too young to holiday alone?

Dear Yonca abla, 

I’ve been having furious arguments with my youngest. She is 18-years-old and if she passes her exams, could be starting life at university in September. I thought I was being progressive letting her go away from home to study, but now, as if that wasn’t enough, she wants to go on holiday with her school friends. Talk about giving them an inch, they want to take a mile!! 

Now, I wasn’t born yesterday and I know the kinds of things these young people’s holidays are all about: drink, drugs and sex will be a big part. However much I know her mother and I have done a good job raising our kids, these temptations are not easy to resist when all your friends are at it. 

She is my princess and I know I can’t keep her in cotton wool all her life, but for me at 18 she is still too young for these types of holidays and while she lives under my roof and I’m paying for her keep, my rules are what matters. As far as she’s concerned, I’ve become the worst dad ever for not allowing her to go on this holiday. Am I being unreasonable? 

Hakan B.


My dearest Hakan,

You really are one paranoid father. Were you not young once?

It is worrying that you will let your daughter go away to study, yet feel she is not adult enough to go on a vacation with her friends. What were you doing at 18 that’s left you so traumatised? Does the age 18 not hold good memories for you? Let me stop you in your tracks right there!

Yonca 2Firstly, girls are usually far more mature at 18 than boys. Secondly helping your child to grow up also means cutting the cords so she can find out about life for herself: how else will she learn to set sensible limits and which friends to trust? While there are no guarantees in life, the fact you trust her enough to allow her to study away from home suggests she is more than capable of looking after herself for a few weeks with her friends. She may even surprise you and not enjoy it after all.

You won’t know until you let her go, but preventing her means you do put yourself in the doghouse. My advice: trust you have done a good job as a parent and let her have some fun. I’m sure you will be positively surprised with the end result.

Yonca abla

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