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Single parenting

S Updated
This isn't really about divorce, more the after effects. I feel exusted tonight... My 13 year old daughter has brought home a letter asking if she wants to go on a school trip next year when she will be 15 to Africa, yes you heard correctly Africa! Gone are the days of school trips to the local church yard to do brass rubbings or the nearest beach to do orienteering now the most beautiful, and precious person in your life can go on an expedition to help Africans in a project that will (supposedly) help people in their lives whilst experiencing a different culture at the same time. Her school has run the trip for the last two years to different places and most have said it was a fantastic experience although terrifying for the parents! My d has heard about the trips and has been talking about it for years. She desperately wants to go and I can see if all goes well it really would be an amazing adventure for her. However..... I really feel it is a step too far. At 13 she's not particularly streetwise so thought of trusting her life to strangers in a country that is thousands of miles away in a world that is sooo dangerous now terrifies me. As a single parent ( her dad is in her life but has no contact with me and really doesn't seem to care about her) the decision is on my shoulders. Some people make decisions quickly, on gut feelings and don't go back on their choices right or wrong. I however get very anxious and I have already had several sleepless nights worrying about the right thing to do. I mull over every little detail, trying to predict what might happen if I choose one way and then the other, it's hell. My gut feeling is to say no. I'm sure that when she's older she will travel and have lots of adventures in her life and I hope she does. The last thing I want for her is to stay in the same town get pregnant and spend her life looking after everyone else and not seeing the world, But at 15 if something did go wrong I don't think I would be able to live with myself. As you can tell from the post so far I'm a worrier lol and I don't want to make a decision based on my worry head! So I will go to the meeting next week and find out all the details and then make an informed decision. If it's still no I know my daughter will be really upset but not as much as I will be if something happened to her. The weight of making all the decision in a family really is sooooo hard sometimes

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Hi Sungirl - I know exactly how you feel about the stress and anxiety this causes you. I had recently started paying for a similar trip when my ex decided to leave the family, not that he was making any financial contribution towards it.

The nearer the time for departure of the trip got the more I worried, particularly as my son was flying with Malaysian Airways who had lost two planes earlier that year. I was like a cat on a hot tin roof whilst he was flying and only relaxed when I knew the flight had landed. There isn't just the cost of the tip to take into account, but the equipment needed and the jabs for their protection.

However, my son had an amazing time, and I am sure his experiences out there will remain with him for the rest of his life. In addition he was able to rely on his experience for his uni applications and was able to speak about them during his interview.

Children can mature amazingly well between the ages of 13 and 15, I know my son did. I did have to think long and hard about the trip he went on - he was going to the jungle with wild animals, if he didn't go he wouldn't have experienced the wildlife he did. The story about a crocodile disappearing under their boat is quite scary, but can you imagine the excitement of it too. He even saw Steve Backshall at the airport :-)

Please go along the the meeting with an open mind and suggest to your daughter this does not mean she is definitely going. I had exactly the same worries as you.

You will make the right decision, and like you say if that is a no, there will be plenty of opportunity for travel later in life.

Take Care xx
You know what they say a problem shared is a problem halved!

I have a child with a disability & every time my child asks me to do something different out of his norm my protective mother instincts kick in & I rebel against the idea, but after a while once I've talked it through with someone I start to see another side to the argument, this person used to be my husband he was always the sane one out of both of us, but as we all know on this site that isn't always that easy anymore!

Do what u think is best, let's face it u have been doing it all yourself recently, however looking at it objectively- the voice of reason so too speak the school would not put ur Daughter in any danger (too much litigation now a days) & perhaps it would help her to see something that she wouldn't see in this country & this I think is good for kids it might even make her really appreciate what she has at home, a stable loving home, your Daughter is probably a lot wiser than u think!

However on saying this there is also the financial implications & this will also need to have a decision that may be the make or break of the trip, as a whole family we would have struggled now we're not together it would probably be a make or break kind of a decision!!

What ever ur decision sit ur Daughter down & explain the best way that u can, she will understand & still love you...

Take care of you xx
I agree with the others. She is too young at the moment and I think you should tell her that it would be better to wait a couple of years. Are there any other pending school trips that are nearer?

I totally understand where you are coming from as my daughter is 14 and has very little contact i.e. email with her father so all major decisions are mine. It can be an overwhelming responsibility to be the sole person in charge and yes, I get that there will be fallout and angst but that goes with teenage territory.
Listen to your gut instinct.
On a different theme, as a teacher I really wish that schools would rein in these trips -they are divisive and unnecessary. If the aim is to help others then there is plenty to be done in the local community. ;)
Unfortunately for your precious daughter this is the wrong time for you to be making this kind of decision. You hate to say no, but at this moment you do not need extra anxiety and you will be on edge from the moment you say yes and for the whole time she was away.

I agree schools are venturing far and wide for school trips now, and that comes with added dangers which you don't need the worry of right now. It's a huge decision and I don't envy you, but you won't be the only parent at that school having sleepless nights about this venture.

My opinion for what it's worth is that the time isn't right for you or for her. She's not particularly streetwise and you'd be terrified. If you can afford to, I would offer her an alternative, somewhere she's never been before. No where is risk free, but there are safer places. There will be plenty of time for her to go on these adventures when she's older, more mature and able to take care of herself. But don't tell her that as she probably thinks she's terribly grown up already! If they've run it for the past two years, there will presumably be another one when she's a bit older and you're in a better place to make such a decision.

Has the Local Authority had an input on the risk assessment for this trip? As I understand it,centres providing activities in this country have to be licensed, but those abroad do not. There would be shots for risk of disease,the logistics of getting the students there and taking good care of them whilst away, in addition to what has become normal dangers of international travel which would all have to be taken into account.

I'd join Vastra and be the most unpopular Mum in the northern hemisphere - I'd say no and suffer the fall out.
It's hard being the only one to share these tough decisions, especially if it will be unpopular with your daughter. Many other parents will have similar questions, so go along with an open mind to the meeting.
As for extravagant school trips, it's the same here too. My son's primary school already have an annual camp and visit places like Canberra. However this year they came up with an expensive teacher-supervised trip to Hong Kong to play soccer. I thought it was totally over the top, didn't want to set a precedent for similar future high school trips and said no, and am now officially the meanest mother in the world!