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A Great Place for Safety-Net Families to Vacation

My family doesn’t vacation much. Oh, sure, we take trips. A few hundred miles, staying with friends, maybe a middle-of-the-road hotel, hitting up the local Denny’s or IHOP, but we’re really not “travelers.” We’ve never done Europe or gone to Hawaii. But two years ago, my wife and I finally realized that our daughters (now 11 and 16) would not be with us forever, and so we decided to venture to the Club Med Village in Ixtapa, Mexico.

(Let me take this moment to let you know that I do not work for Club Med, am not affiliated with the resort, and am not getting a penny from them for writing this piece.)

Wonderful experience! The kids loved it. My wife, Mary and I thought it was fabulous. And although it was difficult for us to come up with the funds for the trip, it created such wonderful memories that we decided to go again this summer.

Just this week, we returned from a weeklong stay at Club Med Cancun in Mexico. Again, an incredible experience.

I started to reflect as to what made these trips so fabulous.  And other than the incredible cuisine, the hospitable staff, and the wonderful weather, I realize it was because the two Club Meds we visited were perfect resorts for Safety-Net Parents. Parents who give their kids opportunities, help them find their passions, build their strengths, but also allow them to experience failure (SafetyNetters.com).

I wrote a book called Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting in which I coined the term “Safety-Net Parents.” I realize that if families can find the funds, Club Med Ixtapa and Cancun are the perfect places to kick off Safety-Netting with your kids, something you can take back with you once the trip is over.

Opportunities Safety-Net Parents give their kids opportunities to explore areas of interest. Club Med offers opportunities galore for little kids to teens: water skiing, kayaking, volleyball, snorkeling, trapeze, trampoline, performing on stage, cooking, meeting new people, and more.

Passions With so many opportunities, children have the chance to discover their passions and start to build them into strengths. My eldest, Riley, fell in love with the trapeze: a passion. She would practice it everyday until she started to become pretty good: a strength.

Failure Failure is important for success in life. It lets our children learn from their mistakes, as well as allows them to appreciate success after they have failed. The wonderful thing about Club Med is that there is room for failure. The G.O.s (stands for “Gentle Organizers… the ones who run the show) help, train and assist. And, when a kid doesn’t succeed, they are there to inspire, pick up, and dust off.

Independence Raising happy successful children means that as parents we need to teach them independence. In this day and age, it’s tough for many parents to let go even a little bit, yet one of the most important jobs we have is to prepare our children for adulthood. Club Med is set up so that the young ones can have some semblance of independence, from the safety of the Village, to the Kids Clubs, to the organized games, events, and activities.

Modeling One of the things that I found during my research is that Safety-Net Parents model the behaviors they want their children to embody. They don’t say one thing then proceed to do something else: tell their kids to eat right while eating a bag of chips or force their child to read but never pick up a book of their own. At Club Med, parents have the perfect opportunity to model for their kids. Parents can partake in physical activities, try something new, and choose healthy cuisine.

We had so much to do at Club Med that although we had two flat screen TVs in the rooms, neither was ever turned on during our week stay. My little one, Grace, took risks and tried new foods: Beef Wellington, beef tongue tacos, ceviche, escargot, frog legs, crème brulee, octopus, and calamari.

As a family, we have decided to use our money more on memories and experiences and less on physical items. And, we have discovered that some of the best places on earth to do this are the Club Med Villages in Cancun and Ixtapa.

Although it was a stretch for us financially, my wife and I realized that it was a very important investment for us as a family, and specifically an investment for our daughters’ futures. These are memories they will take with them forever and experiences they will build upon, strengthening their confidence, self-esteem, and passions.

I am sure there are other vacation locales where Safety-Net Parents can take their children and have the opportunities to raise happy, successful young people. Please share these below. In the meantime, if you are considering a Safety-Net Family vacation, check out Club Med (by the way, there are actual safety-nets in the circus areas).

America’s Relationship Guru

Leon Scott Baxter, “America’s Relationship Guru,” is the author of Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting and the founder of SafetyNetters.com. He’s the father of two girls, 12 and 16, and has taught elementary school for eighteen years.