Expert Advice

Summer Camp Fears

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q
My 10-year-old son doesn't want to go to day camp or overnight summer camp alone. He's gone with a friend before, but he doesn't have anyone to go with this year. Should I encourage him to attend anyway?
A
Have some casual, non-pressured discussions with your son about why he doesn't want to go to camp. Asking him why he doesn't want to go back to the overnight camp without a buddy. Don't force him to attend a camp, but ask him how he'd like to spend the rest of his summer vacation as a beginning point in these discussions. Talk with some of his friends' parents and see what their kids are up to this summer. Perhaps you can still plan some special family times.

He's probably saying "no" to camp because he's fearful or anxious about the experience. Finding out what those fears and anxieties are will tell you more about your son's emotional life, his current concerns, and how to give him the understanding and support that he needs.

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

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