When You Should NOT Send Your Child to Camp
At our midwest summer camp, we recognize that camp can be a great opportunity for child development by facilitating kids’ abilities to stretch and empower themselves. We also recognize that certain parents may not quite be ready to allow that experience for their child. Below are some times when you as a parent should probably not send your child to camp.
If, as a parent, you are genuinely uncomfortable with the whole idea of camp—i.e. you can’t bear the thought of your child missing home; you struggle with your child being away from you; and you can’t confidently think that your child will be successful at camp, it is quite likely that your child’s camp experience will be unsuccessful.
This might happen because you might not be able to allow your child to go through the difficulty that can be part of the camp experience for an anxious child. If you can’t send your child off to camp with positive messages, your anxiety and fears might spill over to your already-anxious child, and make it even harder for your child to adjust to camp life.
This all might come to a head when your child experiences some level of (normal) emotional discomfort, including missing home. Your child most likely will then reach out to you and ask, maybe even beg, to be “rescued”. At that point, if you’re not sufficiently ready to experience some parental discomfort, you won’t be capable of providing the encouragement your child needs.
If all this happens, you’ll probably consider picking your child up early from camp. And your child’s aborted camp stay may become a negative memory of failure thought of often, even into the days when long gone from your nest.
So, when you should not send your child to camp is if you’re both very anxious about it. If as a parent you can’t be confident and ready for your child’s camp experience, then your child might not be able to work through the empowering challenges coming their way. Instead, wait until you overcome your anxiety, or take concrete steps to address your anxiety (i.e by talking to trusted friends with a different perspective, or otherwise seeking information that can help you become more comfortable with the concept). By gaining confidence in the camp experience, you can make it okay to send your child to camp.