Former summer campers often describe their experiences as "life changing", despite the fact that they spend far less time at camp than home or school. This article discusses one reason that camps have a disproportionate impact on the children they serve.
Parents often make a basic mistake when they talk with their children: They focus on the challenges rather than the triumphs of the day. Taking a different approach—interviewing for power rather than pain—helps develop capability and optimism in their children.
Parents deep desire to help their children often leads them to do too much. From their children's social lives to their academic performance, they provide more help than their children truly need, overestimating their ability to affect outcomes. Instead, they should create narratives for their children that prime them for success. After that, they should simply do less.
A Kent State University study linked frequent cell phone usage to reduced happiness in students, but did not prove causality. This article provides evidence that the relationship is, in fact causal: the cell phone usage causes the reduction in happiness for the users.
Technology provides many exciting options for education, but it can also impede the development of critical skills. These skills are interpersonal (oral communication & collaboration) and non cognitive (grit, optimism, self control). Any discussion of education must include options that are non-technological if we want to create truly successful adults.
Parents worry that technology has too strong a hold on their children but are unsure how to reduce tech usage. Their children do not want arbitrary limits. The following approach changes the conversation and increases the chances for success.
Young adults lack many skills that are critical to success in the 21st century. Ironically, perhaps the best place to learn these modern skills is at one of the last tech-free environments: summer camp.
The role of the parent is two-fold: providing safety and protection while fostering independence and success. Typically, the modern parent overachieves on the safety front, which impedes independence and later success.
TV programs targeted at children portray adults and parents as fools. While this is amusing to children, it is harmful to their relationships with parents. Here are some suggestions to address this challenge.
Parents should strive to provide growth experiences for their children that stretch them. Summer camp can be a great opportunity to do this. Also, parents should embrace their role as emotional leaders with their children.
Do our children lack skills that our grandparents had in abundance? The modern child and teenager is substituting face-to-face interaction with cyber-relationships. This electronic dis-intermediation can impair a child's ability to develop the wide array of skills that are critical to interpersonal relations.
As response to my blog entitle "The Gift of Failure" made me realize that I may have failed in articulating my thoughts. I am a huge believer in support, love, and attachment. I, however, think the parenting pendulum has swung to over-protection versus resilience. Parents that understand this balance with provide their children with a critical gift.
Parents are deeply focused on getting their children into the "right schools," but many spend less effort preparing them to shine once there. While few might suspect it, summer camp is an extraordinary opportunity to prepare a child for life beyond the home.