Thursday, July 10, 2008

Camp as a cure for overinvolved parenting

I read with interest this article about "Kid-sick parents" who are sadly missing their children who are away at camp. It used to be the kids who missed their parents, but now the roles are reversed as parents face "an empty house."

I believe that overinvolved parenting is a real phenomenon, one that has affected me to some extent. We're so focused on creating a close bond with our kids that we may remain attached to the point where we are depriving them from independent exploration.

So when I signed up my daughter for a three-day beginner camp this year, I was consciously choosing this opportunity for her to operate "on her own" within the boundaries of a safe community.

She is definitely ready to give it a try, and I really hope she likes it. I look back at my own childhood, and I realize that even as I am seeking out opportunities for my daughter to grow into independence, she still has so much less autonomy than I did at her age. By fourth grade I had the run of the neighborhood on my bike.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that on many levels, increased supervision is a good thing. But it looks like a quality summer camp is becoming one of the best opportunities to give our kids some growing room, as we step away from our helicopter parent tendencies and allow them to navigate camp culture on their own.

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Blogger Amy@UWM said...

Hmmm. Suffering from my own kid-sickness (blogged about it at Deep South Moms and at my personal blog)But I don't consider myself a helicopter mom. Just a mom who misses her kid.

8:46 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

Hi Amy,

In two weeks I am sure I'll be asking for your empathy when my daughter goes away for the first time! I did not mean to be judgmental in my post, and I am sorry if it came across that way. I admit that I can be an overinvolved parent at times--and it came as a shock when I first realized that. So I am looking at this issue as someone who is grappling with it, too.

I appreciate camp as an ever-rarer opportunity for independence for the tween set. It's important to let our kids go even if it's hard for us to do so.

The USA Today article mentioned that some camps have installed web cams so that parents can look in. This is totally over the line IMO. As the article said, don't send you kids unless you trust the camp. Some parents have such a hard time letting go that they really overstep their kids' boundaries.

Thanks for your comment & I'll check out your blog.

11:00 AM  

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