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Talk me down....
Old 06-20-2019, 04:24 AM
  #1

I have one 10 year old son. He is smart, funny, creative, generous and most of the time, polite.

Last year I had a knee replacement and he had to go to summer camp so I could focus on physical therapy, doctors, pain control.... he loved it. There are 50 kids, ages 5-12. The director is a fantastic teaching assistant from my school. He had an awesome summer and couldnít wait to go back.

This year, he doesnít know as many kids and since heís going into 5th grade, he is in the older age group- with kids going into 6th and 7th grades. They donít like the same things, he is concerned about taking toys that that wonít be thought of as ďgrown up enoughĒ. This summer camp is amazing and after this first week, they take 5 or 6 little trips a week- mini golf, the childrenís theater, swimming..... but this week has been hard. He doesnít complain about going, but feels very left out and shy about joining in games. He has had his feelings hurt when he asked one of the boys in his group if he could play and they told him no.

Now, I want to rush in, take him out of camp (this year he doesnít have to go) and keep him home with me. My head says that he is learning about getting along, having to become more confident and heís getting an opportunity to do things he wouldnít get to with me. Since heís an only child, I want him to have the chance to be around other kids the camp is week to week, and I am going to have him go next week. After that, Iím just not sure.

Tell me I am not damaging my child and that he will survive this and be ok.


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Old 06-20-2019, 05:09 AM
  #2

I donít know. If he is miserable and doesnít have to go (because you are home) I would probably keep him home. Just my opinion. That is a large age range of kids. See how next week goes and then decide?
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One more week
Old 06-20-2019, 05:19 AM
  #3

I agree with giving it one more week, then giving him the option of not going after that. No reason for him to be unhappy. It just sounds like itís not a good fit of kids for him. It happens. Luckily he doesnít have to go.

Talk to him and see what he thinks.
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camp
Old 06-20-2019, 05:29 AM
  #4

The camp sounds great and filled a need in your life last summer. If camp isn't feeling comfortable for your son this summer let him stay home. Let him enjoy having time with you. Why can't you going to a theater program with him,play mini-golf, or go swimming together?
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:40 AM
  #5

Could he be moved into a younger group? He may fit in better with 3rd and 4th graders and frankly unless he's particularly mature, I'd prefer him with younger kids to 7th graders.


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Old 06-20-2019, 05:43 AM
  #6

I think one more week is a good plan. If he were home I could take him swimming, but some things I am physically not able to do. (Having to have other knee replaced- hopefully in the distant future). I feel better- the first few days of camp last year were a little tough. It’s the getting to know each other, rules and procedures week. He is a a young 10- just turned 10 a month ago. It’s his only chance to be around other kids- our neighborhood doesn’t have any kids close to his age and he goes to the school I teach in, not the neighborhood school.

The camp director is an assistant from my school and I’m going to ask her about moving him into the other group. He would probably have way more in common with them than the older kids.
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Send him...
Old 06-20-2019, 06:05 AM
  #7

This was my DD 6th and 9th grade hell. Any skills he can pick up to be more comfortable around people who marginally don't really care about him is a boon.

My DD is an only. Went sent her to camp for sole reason learning to deal with humanity in a less structured setting. In school, everyone has to more or less be nice, be inclusive....blah blah blah. Camp still has structure, but not everyone is going to be sensitive to my DD who loved Warrior Cats and MLP. My DD was really behind curb on people being low level jerks. Petty stuff siblings do each other. You need to know you can survived if everyone isn't exactly thrilled with you.

That being said, last year DD when to a non required 4 day camp for a school elective. She was basically ignored the whole four days. The elective is cliquey, and the chaperones (parents) let the kids to what they wanted. The grades were separated, so DD wouldn't hang out with the other grade levels It was 4 days of eating lunch by yourself.

I can't expect 14 year old girls to look beyond themselves and include people they don't know or care about. I do expect adults to have a clue stick about that. Everyone knows I'm a *buck it up buttercup* type person. What went on at that camp was total BS, and I hear other stories that confirmed what went down with others. She's doesn't want to go, and I said fine.
(The teacher is "shocked" DD isn't going this year. Insert near fatal eye roll here.)

Anyhoo..if.camp is the first scenario, keep sending him. If it's a remake of Mean Girl II, I'd probably pull the plug. The school camp was extra difficult because DD was stuck and couldn't socialize outside her grade level.

ETA: I would not move him in the younger group UNLESS he gets an "job title" like junior assistant helper or something like that.

This is a low level stakes game for learning, besides just purely pleasure. DD middle school starts at 6 grade, and not all the classes have just 6 graders. She had to learn those coping skills to survive. The 6 graders looked like babies next to the 8th graders.

If your son doesn't start until 7th grade for middle school,...you have the luxury of time. Girls start the "we don't talk about toys and Warrior Cats" earlier than boys.
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:28 AM
  #8

Iím sure this is old-fashioned and out of sync with todayís parenting, but back in the Dark Ages I gave my kids time to adjust. I found that what they hated one week, they loved the next. Iíd buy into their misery only to have their quick-change reactions leaving me in sad dust while they were just fine and didnít even recall the wretchedness.

Maybe give it some time and ask him if thereís anything about Camp he does like.
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:32 AM
  #9

You said better than I could! That is my way of thinking. It wonít be the last time he feels this way or the last time has to learn to cope with people he doesnít have much in common with. The camp is very structured and well run, but it isnít like school where he would be with the same age group. He is also one of the only kids with no siblings- I told him I canít help there! DS hasnít really complained, just says they donít like the same things as he does. Middle school starts here in 6th grade as well.

We will see what next week brings when they are busy and out and about.
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One last little tbought...
Old 06-20-2019, 06:57 AM
  #10

When I worked summer camps, we did have older boys with Aspergers, that were kept in the younger group because their social skills were 3rd/4th grade, not 5th going on 6th and forget interacting with a 14 year old.

The only crud part of that was field trips. Younger group was excluded from things like going on water slides/rock walls for example. The older kids in the younger group didn't care about those things anyway. Legos>wall climbing

Giving advice without knowing the people involved is hard. If your son just needs a gentle push, look at my first response. If it's your son loves Legos, Minecraft and things that the younger kids like, and socially he's really over his head, I'd ask him what he would like. Go with the younger group or stay put? I wouldn't offer stay home a first option unless he brings it up.

HTH


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Old 06-20-2019, 07:06 AM
  #11

Tawaki- you hit it- he adore Legos and Minecraft. We basically have LEGO land in our playroom!
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:54 PM
  #12

Give him another week and then sit him down to discuss whether it is something he should continue. Sometimes it takes some kids awhile to adjust to new situations. I know I was always like that. I always say I am slow to warm. Also, as kids approach the preteen era they become more aware of being "cool" and fitting in.

If he doesn't continue with camp try to get him involved in a few other activities like at a park district or library.
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:24 PM
  #13

If he is still not happy next week, I would pull him out. There are lots of other ways for him to get socialization so I wouldn't worry about that. Are all the kids together, or could he be moved back to the younger group where his friends are? The summer before 3rd grade our DD was tested for gifted and qualified. She was staffed and we started her that year (our gifted program in our district is FT). She was miserable for social reasons. We didn't pull her out right away because we thought she would be challenged and learn more, but the day they were going on a field trip and I saw her walking to the bus by herself, the only one, I went to the principal and had her staffed back into gen ed. She started singing in the shower before school the following Monday! Its so hard to not fit in socially and I just don't see any point in continuing when that is the case.

Nancy
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:49 PM
  #14

Quote:
If he is still not happy next week, I would pull him out. There are lots of other ways for him to get socialization so I wouldn't worry about that.
I agree. There are other ways to socialize.

You mentioned that being with kids he's not completely comfortable with will help him build confidence, but if he feels too uncomfortable or left out for too long, it could actually tear down his confidence instead of building it up.

Summer vacation should be enjoyable. He builds social skills during the school year. Maybe he needs to do whatever makes him happy this summer whether that's staying put in the group he's in, moving to a younger group, or staying home. There's something to be said for just enjoying summer vacation.
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:05 PM
  #15

DS and I had a good talk today. He wants to stay at camp next week. They have all the 9-12 year olds in one group. DS has s buddy that he has been hanging out with that is the same age. He is in Noy Scouts so I reached out to a couple of those moms to see about getting together soon.

I appreciate all the advice and suggestions! This parenting gig is tough.
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