Published: July 18, 2018
"You're going to do WHAT?!"
Oooh, you totally saw that coming.
No matter what kind of a relationship you have with your mom, there's a pretty good chance that the idea of you getting out of a perfectly good airplane at altitude is going to send her into some sort of tizzy. Right? After all: She cares about your safety! You probably assume that there's no way you're going to be able to convince your mom skydiving is safe enough for her baby.
We're here to tell you that it's probably going to be easier than you think, especially if you watch your approach. At our beautiful skydiving center in Missouri, we've been introducing new skydivers to the sport for decades. We're parents ourselves. We understand how she feels! We also know how you feel. And we know how to get those two perspectives to agree.
1. You don't actually have to get a yes.
The minimum legal age to do a tandem skydive in the United States is 18 years old, which is the age of legal adulthood in America. You can't do a skydive before that age limit--no exceptions. That age limit is in place to protect you (as safe skydiving requires your full understanding of and participation in the procedures), us (because your legal agreement to jump is a must in this unfortunate culture of litigation) and your mom (as it comes time in every mom's life that she's gotta watch you take calculated risks). So: In order to do a tandem skydive, you must show us a valid photo ID, issued by the government, that shows that you've officially spun around the sun 18 times.
What does this mean for you? Well: Since you have to be an adult in order to skydive, you don't actually need your mom's permission to get it done. Talking to your mom about skydiving before you blow out 18 candles won't gain you any ground. If you're not quite there yet, take advantage of the time! Research skydiving, celebrate that landmark 18th birthday with an awesome tandem skydive (it's a tradition, man!), and then tell mom all about it afterward.
2. Pay for it yourself.
This is a pro tip, y'all: If you're convincing your mom that skydiving is safe so she'll bankroll your adventure, it's a better idea to save your breath and save your pennies. We've seen that play attempted a lot, and it literally never ends well.
Instead, show off your adulting skills. If you're waiting to turn 18, use the time between now and then to save up for your skydive. Honestly, it won't take too long to scrape together the funds you need to make your first tandem skydive at a reputable, safety-first skydiving operation (like us, of course). A few weeks off the frappuccinos will do the trick--and your mom will be stoked that you showed the initiative, even if the photos make her a little weak-kneed.
3. Demonstrate your great decision-making prowess.
Your mom's big job in raising you was to bring up a thoughtful, wise, well-considered human, correct? Think of skydiving as the best possible way to show her what great work she did. After all: the way you approach the pre-skydiving process can really highlight your talent for research, risk management and execution.
Your first step is to find a dropzone that adheres to the highest safety standards in the sport of skydiving. To do so, check out the database maintained by the United States Parachute Association. USPA member dropzones follow a higher standard of safety, training and maintenance than other dropzones, and they're more closely regulated. If you're in Missouri, you're close to us (awesome!) but if you're in another part of the country, you'll likely find a USPA dropzone a short jaunt away. Stick with that list!
Secondly, pop over to another part of the USPA website to have a look at the safety statistics for skydiving. You'll almost certainly have a surprise lurking there for you. Spoiler: tandem skydiving is, statistically speaking, safer than vacuuming. What?! Right. As it turns out, your mom is the stone-cold badass, not you.
4. Ask her to join you.
Speaking of which: The fact of the matter is that you don't know your mom as well as you think you do. There's no question that your mom wants you to be safe, and that she's going to react to what she sees as recklessness. Of course! But guess what? Once mom knows the facts about the safety of skydiving, and has a chance to sit with the tremendous personal growth that tends to come hand-in-hand with even one single tandem skydive, she might just come out with the fact that she's always wanted to do it, too. She might end up on the same plane as you! We see it happen all the time.
When all is said and done, here's what you need to know about convincing your parents that skydiving is safe: It's definitely not as hard as you think it's going to be, and the folks who watch you make your first skydive might be the same folks who watched you take your first steps. One thing's for sure: We'll be right here to high-five the whole family!