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The Internalised Parent

As a parent, sending your children off on their summer travels (no matter their age) can often become a source of anxiety.

A euphoric and care free mentality takes over all of us while we are on holiday and our principle aim is simply to enjoy ourselves. For young adults who are unaccompanied, this can lead to careless and even dangerous behaviour.

However, children or young adults have internalised their parent’s values and teachings which contribute to their safety while travelling. For example, we all have a reasonably curious but sceptical mind set when analysing the intentions of strangers. This is partly the result of the teachings of our parents and serves as a principle source of safety while surrounded by strangers in a foreign country.

The “internalised parent” exists when there is a balance between parent and child, in which the child/ young person recognises something they can value from home while they are away. However, it also relies on parents keeping their children/young people in mind. It is important to realise a balance between over anxiety and shutting out thoughts about their children.

There are many ways to ensure that your children keep safe while travelling this summer:

  • Dehydration has a number of effects on physical and mental health. It is often not recognised, especially by UK families. It is one of the biggest causes of sickness, injury and mortality amongst young travellers. While dehydration can be physically dangerous, it can also result in fatigue and difficulty concentrating but it can also induce mood swings and cause irritability. Ensuring that your child remembers to keep hydrated during their travels will go a long way in keeping them safe.
  • Adapting to new surroundings, for example being aware of the flow of traffic in a new area
  • Be people savvy! The same dangers apply abroad as at home
  • Ensuring they have travel insurance or a E11 card if travelling in Europe
  • Ensuring they are up to date on vaccinations
  • Using government websites which list safer destinations
  • Stay in single story buildings in developing countries in earthquake zones
  • Stay in the lower floors of high rise buildings

Anxiety is a completely natural feeling for parents who are sending their children off on their summer travels. However, as parents it is important to recognise the “internalised parent” within their children and trust in the ability of their children to act on the values and teachings learnt in the home, while acknowledging how hard it is to let them go.


Rafan House is a clinically-governed psychotherapeutic clinic based in Harley Street.   We offer specialised and discreet conversations with individuals, families and organisations who are seeking help with the demands of 21st-century life.