More likely than not, high school seniors and 4th years in college are not going to be spending this next month or so making their papers an A+ and studying for finals and exams. Mentally, they are pretty much done with school. All that is on their mind now is graduation, summer, and that unparalleled feeling of having completed schooling. Before they move on to higher education or work, they plan on taking a well-deserved vacation with some friends. As their proud parent, you are supportive of this; you too feel they deserve it. Yet, you cannot help but have some reservations before they graduate and leave.
Now that they are no longer a minor, you have less control and say over them. To them, this is freedom when they want to go out and have fun. At the same time, this can be heartbreaking if something bad happens, and you, as a parent, are limited on the help you can provide.
For example, if your child is arrested at the age of 15 for committing a crime, they would not have a trial by jury. Instead, a judge would determine any consequences, and consequences would not include jail time. A prison sentence is not a punishment option for a minor; they would be released back to your custody. However, if your child is arrested at the age of 18 or older, the criminal proceedings are more serious. They will have a trial with a jury, and they can face a possible prison sentence. You could help bail your child out of jail during the trial, but if they are denied bail, there is nothing you can do but wait.
To make matters more complicated, criminal proceedings are more difficult to navigate when it is an arrest that was made outside of your home state. The defendant would most likely need to be present at the trial, which will be held in the state they were arrested. That means the defendant would have to make proper arrangements to be there, when they could be back in their home state going to work, school, or just relaxing. This gets expensive.
Since your child plans on taking a trip, you will want to make sure they are aware of their actions, and to not act on something that can lead to a bad situation. A way to help show that you are not trying to lecture them and give off an “I do not quite trust you” attitude is to also let them know to be aware of the actions of others around them. You trust them, but you do not trust strangers. Your child could be a well-rounded individual, but you never know about the motives of others.