Your Child’s Camp Experience Benefits You, Too

August 13, 2012

In today’s world, parents can feel external pressure to make sure children are involved in the “right” activities, get into the “right” schools or classes, and — oh yeah — that they’re having fun, too!

But what if there is a way to instill independence and ownership in children — not to mention, resiliency — so that they want to achieve their own brand of success and navigate an ever-changing world? Camp experiences are excellent ways for children to learn these skills.

And those same experiences — where children learn to take healthy risks, make friends, and live as their own individuals within a supportive community — benefit parents, too! When children are at camp, new parenting perspectives abound.

In a recent interview for TIME’s Healthland, author and psychologist Michael Thompson, PhD, says that for parents who feel they must be “constantly supervising and monitoring," sending a child to camp "throws you up against your own philosophy and habits of constant supervision and control. When you send your child to camp, you have to give that up.”

New studies are finding that intensive parenting — defined as “being involved in every aspect of a child’s life” and always putting your child's needs before your own — can be detrimental to the mental health of parents, specifically mothers.

But when children are at camp, knowing they’re in a developmentally appropriate setting and thriving all on their own alleviates the pressure many parents may feel to be overly involved.

It’s time to add parents to the list of those who gain positive development from a camp experience — a win/win for parents and children!

Photo courtesy of Cheley Colorado Camps, Estes Park, Colorado