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Homesick & Happy - How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow

4.4 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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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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Homesick & Happy - How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow by Michael Thompson is a must read for today's parents. In an age when it's the rare child who walks to school on his own, 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. In Homesick and Happy, renowned child psychologist Michael Thompson, PhD, shares a strong argument for, and a vital guide to, this brief loosening of ties. A great champion of summer camp, he explains how camp ushers your children into a thrilling world offering an environment that most of us at home cannot: an electronics-free zone, a multigenerational community, meaningful daily rituals like group meals and cabin clean-up, and a place where time simply slows down. In the buggy woods, icy swims, campfire sing-alongs, and daring adventures, children have emotionally significant and character-building experiences; they often grow in ways that surprise even themselves; they make lifelong memories and cherished friends. Thompson shows how children who are away from their parents can be both homesick and happy, scared and successful, anxious and exuberant. When kids go to camp-for a week, a month, or the whole summer-they can experience some of the greatest maturation of their lives, and return more independent, strong, and healthy.Author - Michael Thompson.Binding - paper.Pages - 304.Publisher - Random House.Year - 2012.ISBN - 9780345524928.

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  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
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Color: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Michael Thompson's HOMESICK AND HAPPY is at once a tribute to sleepover camps and a plea to parents to give their kids the opportunity to experience time away from home. The book is a collection of interviews Thompson conducted with children, parents, and camp counselors, along with his own insight into the benefits of the camp experience for almost every child.

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.
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Color: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Author Michael Thompson, has produced another solid book (he is the author of Raising Cain), this one designed to encourage parents to allow their kids - both boys and girls- to live away from their parents, at camp or in other ways for part of the summer. Raising Cain focused on the emotional needs of boys. This time around, Thompson covers a wider scope, describing how all children need to learn how to be independent. This may be best accomplished away from parents - for a few weeks or even a couple of months each summer - at an overnight camp.

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?
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Color: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I didn't order this book to read about kids' summer camps, per se. I ordered this book because I know I have a tendency to be an overprotective parent who wants to shelter my child from everything bad. I hoped it would be a good "counter viewpoint" for me, and it was. Definitely food for thought...

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.
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Color: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
****
"..., 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.
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