Parent Tips For Emotionally Preparing Your Child For Summer Camp

• EMPATHY
– Must have secure attachments at home
1. Open, honest communication
2. Feels valued, trusted, respected
3. Parents genuinely recognize strengths and gently work on weaknesses

– Importance of modeling sympathetic feelings and caring behaviors
1. Putting oneself in someone else’s shoes
2. Parents display respectful, empathic behavior toward others
3. Parents compliment when behavior is present, make suggestions when it is not

• SOCIAL SKILLS
– Respecting others feelings and needs
1. Learning about proper ways to treat others
2. Parents model respect toward spouse and children, along with outsiders
3. Discuss and teach respectful versus disrespectful
4. Balance solitary activities with social activities; virtual with real
a. Limit time allowed on devices for extra-curricular activity
b. Children do not need cell phones except for special circumstances
c. Desktops, televisions, phones belong in public rooms for bedtime
d. Encourage using electronics in a public room (especially for children)
e. No devices during meal times, dinners out, holidays

– Learning to be part of a team
1. Value of working with a group
a. Experiences transfer to the larger world
b. You cannot always be in control
c. Teams can often accomplish more than an individual
d. Importance of comradery, sharing
2. Can’t always be decision maker or leader
3. Value of being a supportive person
4. Feeling proud of the group, the family, the team versus being the superstar

– Taking turns, manners and compromise
1. Enables other to feel valued
2. Bossy or Bully does not help in the long run
3. Need experiences of “must improve” or expects self to be perfect all the time
4. Model manners and compromise
5. Point out others proper behaviors

• RESPONSIBILITY
– Set the example and maintain the standard
1. Model responsible, honest, good behavior
2. Follow through with consequences for bad, dishonest, irresponsible behavior
3. Use every opportunity to highlight others (and child’s) responsible behavior and initiate discussions about why this behavior was good and the opportunities that lie ahead as a result.

– Choices and consequences
1. One of the hardest things parents must do is to enforce consequences when necessary.
2. Model and discuss often the relationship between choice and consequence. Use current events, experiences with peers, examples from others to illustrate.

– Be firm and consistent; follow through
1. Hardest thing for parents is following through
2. Kids will wear you down until you break and you must teach them that you will not break
3. Rules are made for reasons. If there is not a good reason, then the rule makes no sense. Have intelligent, developmentally appropriate conversations so they understand

• MORALS & ETHICS
– Discuss and model good behavior, discuss related consequences
1. Becoming a parent comes with rules, expectations and practicing what you preach.
2. If you cheat, they learn to cheat
(Skipping school on a test day, lying to a friend)

– Honesty and integrity versus lying and cheating
1. You are the most important role model in your child’s life
2. Children read between the lines; when you cheat to get ahead, you normalize the behavior
3. Winning is never more important than ethics/the process
4. Trust is built on a history of truth-telling, even when the truth hurts

– Respecting others and oneself
1. Model honesty and making the right choices over money, popularity, and winning
2. Treat others the way you want your child to treat others

• HEALTHY VALUES
– Being part of a community
1. It’s not all about me
2. You can make a difference
3. Peer pressure and keeping up can be offset with feeling good about oneself, proud of one’s accomplishments, valuing diversity
4. Authenticity is more important than being part of the crowd
5. Lead by example; talk about successes and accomplishments earned through honest, hard work
6. Use every opportunity to highlight the value and goodness of healthy values in others and oneself

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