Children’s summer camps and wilderness programs for boys and girls in the United…

July 4, 2011

Summer Camp Teaches Kids Skills to Deal with Moods

sadnessSummer camps can ease the turbulence of youth by allowing kids to explore freely in a new and supportive social setting. A recent article on takes a closer look at 3 Ways to deal with Teenage Anxiety, citing John Duby, M.D., chair of the AAP’s Mental Health Leadership Work Group in analyzing influences that can throw your child into a seemingly spontaneous mood swing. This article addresses how summer camps can strengthen emotional stability and social skills given various triggers of unrest.

Mood: Anger
Potential causes and solutions according to Anxiety.  Avoid heat-of-the-moment exchanges, and set aside a regular and consistent time to chat.
How summer camp could help: Quality summer camps have small counselor-camper ratios to ensure close supervision and positive relationship development. Many counselors are younger and still relate well with what campers are going through socially and personally. This means they can also balance their authority with being the cool older brother/sister figure as opposed to the parental superior, which often enables campers to open up to them. Kids are less likely to face anger issues at summer camp than at home; but if they do, they have a strong support system through which they can process their emotions and communicate consistently.

The Mood: Rudeness
Potential causes and solutions according to Your child may be trying to get your attention, or could be imitating influences from the home or from school. Stand firm against rudeness, but be aware that ‘“Kids often mimic their parents,” as noted by Dr. Duby; be sure to check your own actions and attitude and how they may be impacting your child.
How summer camp could help: Just like parents, sometimes kids just need to get away, and summer camp could be a perfect fix. Dropping campers into a new environment can be disorienting, but soon they get into a joyful groove and feed off of each other’s enthusiasm and focus on new activities rather than grabbing for attention. Camp staff reinforces a constructive atmosphere, with low tolerance for meanness and rudeness, and individual support for campers having trouble adjusting to camp life.

The Mood: Sadness
Potential causes and solutions according to Physical changes or social slights. Distractions may help during the funk, but much like dealing with anger, make yourself available to listen and spend time together (keep in mind that this may often be on your teen’s terms and timeframe).
How summer camp could help: Summer camp provides the ultimate distraction. Your child will get lost in the bustle of arts and crafts, horseback riding, skiing, sports and performance arts. If your child is feeling especially lost or troubled, your family might be interested in a camp that offers spiritual and emotional healing and empowerment, or a religious summer camp. Although no social setting is free from conflict and drama at such a sensitive age, summer camps allow kids to reset or reinvent themselves, make new friends, confide in counselors and break down personal and social barriers.

Camppage, A Summer Camp Directory offers an extensive database of summer camp listings if you are looking for that perfect camp for your child:

Sports summer camps
Arts summer camps
Horseback riding summer camps
Adventure camps
Computer camps
Christian summer camps

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