Needless to say, I am so unhappy with my beloved Dolphins and WHY they are in the news these days. It is truly hard to comprehend that two guys, the size of refrigerators, are battling like little kids on the playground. The media then takes hold of the story and we find all of these wonderful “teachable moments”. Really??
Are we overdoing the bully label? As it has been said, are we “sissifying” our kids? Are kids, because of their attachment to their electronic devices unable to have a controversial conversation successfully? Must they hide behind the anonymity and protection of the text? Do they find their power behind a text but unable to stand up and communicate in person? I am concerned about this generation.
Every time an incident like this hits the news, I dig even deeper in my belief in the value of summer camp away from home. There is only one person that needs to get stronger, bolder, more confident, and more competent to make your child successful and that is your child. And by disconnecting, from electronics and from parents, your child MUST learn how to speak for him or herself.
What happens when you find just the right camp for your child?
They disconnect from over or under-protective parents and have to count on themselves.
They are put into an environment where they have a very high probability of success.
They are guided by staff that are trained well in raising and guiding children.
They must speak to people because they cannot and/or hide behind electronics.
They are exposed to a wide variety of activities for interest and a few activities for developing competency and potentially a competitive edge.
They develop confidence and competence and bring it home.
The result: they practice being a strong human being in a small society. WOW! All from a 3- 7 week experience. It works. It is an investment. It has tremendous value. It does cross over into their behavior and strength at home and in school.
Can a child be bullied at camp? Yes. This can happen ESPECIALLY when a parent wants their child to do something that really is not who they are. I am not talking about encouraging your child to get some physical activity because they prefer to sit behind a computer. I am talking about sending your child to a competitive and intense sports camp, because the friend next door is going, and your son or daughter really is not a great athlete. A choice like this will typically result in your child feeling left out, ostracized or picked on. He/she will feel unworthy and uninterested. But placing them in a camp that offers a wide variety with good instruction, you will help your child move, gain competency and ultimately gain confidence. He/she will be surrounded by like minded kids and the chance of bullying is slim or none.
And yet, if they are bullied, every reputable camp is trained on handling situations where bullying occurs. The American Camping Association is very proactive in providing training materials to all camp directors and their staff. And a good camp expert understands which camps offer the right environment for your child. Policies must be in place with specific guidelines on how to handle the situation. But most importantly, the camps and staff are trained to stop the opportunity to bully before it becomes a major issue. Click here to read a wonderful outline of the type of planning done for bullying.
Where do you stand as a parent? What are your goals to help your child speak up on behalf of themselves? Big or small, old or young, bullying occurs. Standing up to the bully, and believing in yourself, is the best medicine to stopping the action. Please share your conversations with your kids. Let’s start the dialogue.