Homesick & Happy - How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow
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- Written by an expert
- Great parenting ideas
- An easy and fairly quick read
- Make your kids happier and heathier
- About the Author - Michael Thompson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, lecturer, consultant, and former seventh-grade teacher. He conducts workshops across the United States and internationally on social cruelty, children's friendships, and boys' development. With Dan Kindlon, Ph.D., he co-authored the New York Times bestseller Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, which was adapted into an acclaimed documentary shown on PBS. With Teresa H. Barker he co-authored The Pressured Chi
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Part of Thompson's message here is that children today are having fewer and fewer opportunities to be on their own, away from well-meaning parents. That means they are having a harder time developing the self-confidence and independence that is so important as they grow up. Too often, Thompson says, parents are doing too much for their children, in the name of "good parenting." We want our children to be happy and confident, to be safe, to have friends, to do well in school, and to be independent people. But these are the very things parents cannot do for their children. Summer sleepover camp, says Thompson, can help children develop these things on their own.
The book provides a number of detailed stories about children who have attended a wide variety of camps, including a long section on homesickness. This is probably the scariest thing about camp, not only for the children who will be suffering from it (almost all children do, Thompson says), but also for the parents who have to receive those horrible letters ("Mom, I HATE it here! Come get me!"). Thompson sees homesickness as a very painful but necessary part of the process of separation - by mastering homesickness, children learn what they're truly capable of. This is the beginning to real independence and confidence.Read more ›
The material in Homesick and Happy might be very difficult for parents to accept, especially when the world can seem more dangerous or scary than ever. Newspaper headlines focus on the worst case situations and yes, they can be gruesome and horrifying. As a result, the instinctive reaction may be to hover, to remain ever more vigilant and to stay close to one's child at all times.
But sooner or later, children mature and will have to navigate life when parents aren't around. Homesick and Happy provides guidelines on how to let children do exactly this by starting with trips away from home. Thompson provides helpful tips on alleviating anxieties - for both children AND parents (often, it is rougher on the parents than the kids).
Thompson describes how children are spending summers focused on academics instead of taking a break from school. Perhaps this is because parents worry about how to keep their kids competitive and believe that studying for hours daily - even in the summer - helps their children stay on top.
But what about opportunities for imaginative play and creativity? What about being part of a community that doesn't include parents...just for awhile?Read more ›
We may want to protect our children from everything and keep them close to us. However, this book - through the author's extensive study of children at summer camp - helps parents to see that there is a balance to be struck. When children are away from their parents, even when they are homesick, they grow and learn in ways that they can never do under their parents watchful eye.
The book provides a list of skills that children can only learn when they are away from home - skills parents alone cannot teach them. There are many case studies of children at camp and their personal experiences. There are suggestions for helping children conquer homesickness, and tips for parents who are missing their children when they are apart.
This was an interesting book, and a good reminder for parents who have to strike a difficult balance - between holding their children close and learning how to let go at the right times.
"..., the thought of sending your 'little ones' off to sleep-away camp can be overwhelming--for you and for them. But parents' first instinct -- to shelter their offspring above all else -- is actually depriving kids of the major developmental milestones that occur through letting them go -- and watching them come back transformed." --Michael G. Thompson
Parents tend to over-protect their children, especially mothers, by keeping them close to family and home. However, child psychologist Michael Thompson, wrote this book to help parents to develop a healthy timely detachment plan. Through his professional study on children attending summer camps otherwise, he came to different conclusions. Book's mission is to advocate assertively that those children sent away from their parents, grow faster and learn in ways unattained when tied to mom's apron, even when feeling occasionally homesick.
Dr. Thompson's argument is supplemented with an elaborate guide to, this plan of scheduled brief vacations that develop ties loosening. He explains how camp prepare young children into a rich world, with a diversified environment that has only to be experienced in person. As a great believer of summer camp, I gradually inserted in their long boring summers. While at home such experiences can be available: PC game-free zone, an independent community, enjoying noisy group meals and camp hang-ups, where time has its own tempo.
In woods, and around lakes, enjoying canoeing and some adventures, youngsters have significant social and emotional growth, that help character-building; creating lifelong memories and dear friendships. Thompson shows how children who are away from their parents can be both homesick and happy, scared and successful, anxious and exuberant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very helpful for parents struggling with kids being away at camp.Published 5 months ago by Maggie Culbertson
I never attended sleep away camp and was apprehensive about sending my child. A group of wonderfully supportive parents talked me away from the ledge and told me to read this... Read morePublished 6 months ago by 39andholding
A must read for parents in the fence with sending their kid(s) to camp. Questions answered, mind at ease, points addressed, and feeling validated... Read morePublished 10 months ago by LRZ19
This is an excellent book for ALL Parents, Counselors or Anyone who works with children to read…..Published 16 months ago by Cathy Bruckert
I am a life long summer camp camper and now administrator and think that this book should be required reading for camp directors and head staff. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Kindle Customer
An easy must read for every parent; articulates what we really know already! You owe tit o yourself and your child.Published on January 14, 2014 by Mitch Reiter
This is a wonderful book to help parents deal with sending their children off to summer camp for the first time. It is well written and it provides many anecdotes about camp life. Read morePublished on July 1, 2013 by JS
I read this the week before my son left for his first sleepaway camp and it put me totally at ease. It also reinforced all of the reasons I knew camp was a great developmental... Read morePublished on June 28, 2013 by Miranda8676