The summer months are quickly approaching. What are your family’s summer vacation plans? Often, parents with an only child consider bringing along their child’s friend. Please don’t make this decision in haste or just because your child begs you to. There is a lot to consider and here are a few helpful suggestions.
Who will pay the costs? This is a very important issue that needs to be addressed with the other parents. Gather all your information first – such as transportation costs, hotel costs, approximate cost for food, costs for renting equipment (such as swim or snorkel gear), costs for admission to various theme parks and movie theaters, etc. You might initially think that there would not be much extra cost, but once you sit down and plan it out, the high cost may surprise you. In the end, you may just decide to bear the entire cost for the friend to make this a more enjoyable vacation for your child.
What will you do for discipline? Since your form of discipline for your child may not be what the other parents approve of, this is also a critical topic to discuss. There should be clear guidelines established beforehand. But, even prior to your discussions with them, how well do you know the child? Is the child one who is well-behaved and respectful when in your company? Is this friendship one that you as a parent would like to encourage? As Christians, we should always be mindful of who our children are friends with and who can influence them. 1 Corinthians 15:33 states “Bad company ruins good morals.” (ESV).
What will you do in the event medical care is needed? Again, this needs to be planned out. In the event of a medical emergency, you will need to have the authority to obtain and provide medical care for this child. Make sure you have the legal authority to do so. Often, a copy of the child’s health insurance card and a letter from the parents is enough.
When I was growing up, I went on many trips with my best friend as she was an only child. We all had a lot of fun, parents included. But, that all stemmed from them knowing me and my parents well, as well as me knowing them well. I felt comfortable being with them and was not a discipline problem. It all worked out wonderfully!