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Summer Camp and Attachment Parenting

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  • Summer Camp and Attachment Parenting

    My daughter is 11 and found this great camp five hours away. We visited it twice in two days and LOVE it and love the people who run it.

    HOWEVER, they have a policy of no telephone contact at all for ten days. This feels so unnatural to me. Can you really go from attachment parenting to this, just like that?

    This was my daughter's idea. She is a very independent girl. She has no problem not telephoning me. She thinks it is a small price to pay to be able to ride horses and kayak and make new friends.

    I am feeling sick to my stomach thinking that I can't talk to her. Background, she is an only child of two older parents. I nursed her until forever, we homeschool her, we never put her in day care, except for on-site day care where both my husband and me could go in to see her whenever we wanted. Family bed, etc.

    Is this normal?

  • #2
    Gosh, that's a tough one! It does sound very unnatural and not right that they don't allow you to call. Did they say why they have that policy?

    If it were my child and he really, really wanted to go, I would probably let him as long as he was very independent like you say your daughter is. It does sound like a great opportunity. Do you think she really will be okay not talking to you, or is she letting the excitement of going clouding her thinking to where she THINKS she will be okay.

    Does the camp last 10 days or is it longer and you just can't call for 10 days? If she changes her mind and wants to come home will they contact you so you can go get her? I would just make sure that's an option and also find out why they have that strange policy.

    Good luck!
    Amy

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    • #3
      That is a hard one! I don't think there is any 'right' answer.

      One of the hallmarks of attachment parenting is responding to the emotional needs of your children. I don't think an 11 year old can really predict how she will do with 10 days of no contact with you -- especially since her attachment to you is strong. And the camp policy makes it impossible for you to respond to her needs if she does become upset at the separation.

      Could you call one of the camp counselors? Perhaps you could have a special arrangement to check in daily? Or perhaps you could speak with the camp director about changing this policy and educate them about a child's need for reassurance from their parents?

      If you decide that this doesn't work for you, is there another option for a camp? Perhaps one closer? Or a day camp?

      Good luck figuring this out!

      Rachel

      Comment


      • #4
        I read your question a few days ago and decided to ponder before responding. After reading Amy and Rachel's responses I just want to say that I agree completely with their comments and concerns and have the same questions for the camp organizers.

        My children are also homeschooled and I can see their getting all excited about going "somewhere else" for an extended period of time and then having second thoughts after they were there a few days. I would want to make absolutely sure they could call me to come get them if they needed me to. A camp that won't allow that would be very suspicious in my mind.

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by connerleesmom View Post
          It does sound very unnatural and not right that they don't allow you to call. Did they say why they have that policy?
          They say it is a logistical nightmare to allow 100 children to call once per day. And, others who I have asked on other sites say it makes kids more homesick, not less. But, I think if they just had a pay phone and let kids line up whenever they wanted to, I would worry less about her happiness and safety.

          Originally posted by connerleesmom View Post
          If it were my child and he really, really wanted to go, I would probably let him as long as he was very independent like you say your daughter is. It does sound like a great opportunity.
          I am letting her go, we already decided we are willing to live with this policy. But it just sounds so unnatural and not very attachment parenting to me.

          Originally posted by connerleesmom View Post
          Do you think she really will be okay not talking to you, or is she letting the excitement of going clouding her thinking to where she THINKS she will be okay.
          I think she will be OK and I will be OK, but I think it is such an unnecessary unnatural thing to separate child from parent like that.

          Originally posted by connerleesmom View Post
          Does the camp last 10 days or is it longer and you just can't call for 10 days? If she changes her mind and wants to come home will they contact you so you can go get her? I would just make sure that's an option and also find out why they have that strange policy. Good luck! Amy
          There are five day camps but they conflict with her first life (dance and theatre), so the only one that she could do was that ten-day one. I made a big deal about it and they said that I could call on day 3 and that they would let her talk to me. I tried to get one more phone call in there and they said, "you really need to find another camp." Since she has her heart set on this one, I don't want her to be black listed there so I didn't press it anymore.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by APIRachel View Post
            And the camp policy makes it impossible for you to respond to her needs if she does become upset at the separation.
            That is what I am worried about. If she is miserable, i won't find out until day 3 or day 10. They said if the kid gets really really homesick, they will let the kid call home. And, they said that once ever other year, it does happen, one kid gets picked up from being too homesick.

            Originally posted by APIRachel View Post
            Could you call one of the camp counselors? Perhaps you could have a special arrangement to check in daily?
            They said I can call daily, and talk to counselors and find out how she is doing. But they won't let me talk to her directly unless it is an emergency.

            Originally posted by APIRachel View Post
            Or perhaps you could speak with the camp director about changing this policy and educate them about a child's need for reassurance from their parents?
            I wish I could do this. They have had this camp for 40 or so years and they have had this policy throughout. Again, from talking to other people on other boards (specifically Mothering Magazine), they say this is a typical policy. Also, 99 of the posts there are disagreeing with me. So, I thought maybe AP parents would be more sympathetic and I have found that y'all are!

            Originally posted by APIRachel View Post
            If you decide that this doesn't work for you, is there another option for a camp? Perhaps one closer? Or a day camp?
            She did her own research and there is not another that she likes better. I found one where moms and daughters could do a horseback riding camp for a week together. She thought that was too weird.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Robynn View Post
              My children are also homeschooled and I can see their getting all excited about going "somewhere else" for an extended period of time and then having second thoughts after they were there a few days. I would want to make absolutely sure they could call me to come get them if they needed me to. A camp that won't allow that would be very suspicious in my mind.

              Good luck!
              I am suspicious. At first, I thought How do I know these people that my daughter found on the internet are not going to leave the country with my child? Now, having visited them on two different days, and talked to three officials there, and asked around the town about them, that is not my worry. My worry is that if she does have second thoughts that they won't let her call. She reassures me that she will get out of there if she really wants to, but still . .

              Comment


              • #8
                can you give her a cell phone?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have heard of such policies before - not usually quite so stringent . .but from what I understand it's based on the idea that most children will overcome their homesickness or never even get homesick if they are kept busy and aren't reminded of their seperation from their parents with frequent calls. As far as I'm concerned the policy should be that the parents are not to call the kids ( why needlessly upset them if they're getting along fine untill they hear mom saying ' i miss you so much')but the kids should be free to call their parents if they need them or miss them.
                  There is a camp I am interested in putting my son in the future - it's a camp specifically for children with siblings who have special needs / disabilities. I have been looking into it - he won't even be the right age for at least another 5 years - but I'm a litle dismayed by their ' homesickness policy' as they call it. Basically it says that if a child is homesick the camp staff will ' work with the child' to overcome his homesickness and parents will only be involved if the child makes the decision to go home. To some degree I ' get' what camps and such are trying to accomplish with these policies - it's similar to classroom teachers who don't want parents lingering and popping in - because children sometimes get more riled up when they see their parents where they would have been ' fine' otherwise. I guess my issue is that some children are ' fine' only because they're too inhibitied or introverted to actually admit to their sadness for anyone but their most trusted and loved ones. I think it's a fine balance - I guess when it comes down to it my stance is that I can agree with the limit on parents geting in touch with their kids but that I feel if kids want to get in touch with their paents they should be able to. That would seem more fair and balanced.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PaxMamma View Post
                    can you give her a cell phone?
                    No, she cannot take a cell phone or computer. They didn't say anything about a pager or a texter, but I am thinking those are also not allowed. She can take an iPod, but can only use it in the evenings during wind down time.

                    I understand that all these electronic gadgets can interfere with the camping experience. I am not paying for her to sit in her bunk bed all day and talk to nobody, but her friends and her family from home. But I do not understand why she can't call me when she needs to.

                    Comment

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