My own child does not like to camp

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kaa27th
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My own child does not like to camp

Post by kaa27th » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:10 am

I am having an issue with my own son not wanting to camp. He is almost 11 and about to move up to Scouts (without me, I am a cub leader and will remain a cub leader as we have enough Scout leaders in our group, and I enjoy cubs, and my daughter is still a cub as well). I feel that it's time to detach from me somewhat. He is supposed to attend a scout camp this weekend, but does not want to sleep over. His reasons are 1) he is going to miss me and 2) he hates sleeping in a tent. He has camped many times with me, and a couple of times without me, which were difficult, one time we had to pick him up Saturday evening (cabin camp), because he was just beside himself and in tears, the other time he had a pee accident at night the 2nd night (which never ever happens at home).
My husband thinks I should not make him do it. I feel that we need to push him a little, but am afraid it will backfire and he will resist even more next time if it turns out not to be a good experience for him.
Any of you leaders have clingy kids? What do you recommend?
YIS
Akela (formerly Kaa),
Peterborough, ON

Angus Bickerton
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by Angus Bickerton » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:36 am

This is a tough one. It seems to me that this is more about separation anxiety than it is not liking camping. While this is pure supposition/guess work on my part, the previous events are the big red flags. I would be willing to bet that it is not sleeping in a tent that bugs him, but being away from his parents. Looks more and more to be about about anxiety, but as I said, this is a pure guess.

Has your son ever been away to summer camp for a week? If not, then that might be another indicator that he does not like to be away from his parents.

Forcing the issue will probably be a huge mistake, and turn your son off, or make the problem a lot worse. Letting him stay home and not doing anything about it is also a bad idea. I would heartily recommend that you talk to your doctor/pediatrician. The incident of incontinence in the past would be enough for me to seek some counselling or medical assistance. Your son sounds scared to me. My own daughter has anxiety problems, and has a psychiatrist. We have learned to manage these problems, along with a healthy dose of ADHD, really well over the last few years, so seeking this kind of help is in your son's best interests.

Please don't take any advice here. Go to the professionals you trust, as we will only be making guesses about the problem and its resolution.
Angus Bickerton
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There is no armour made that can withstand the truth - Karsa Orlong

kaa27th
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by kaa27th » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:50 am

Thanks Angus, and you are right I do think it is separation anxiety. We are a really tight knit family unit. The only grandparents/relatives my kids have are 1000's of miles away in Europe. So they never had the opportunity as little ones to stay at grandma's for a night to get used to being away from us. Part of the reason we joined scouting was so he would have some opportunities for camps. And I was hoping as he gets older he'd be ok to go away for a night here and a night there, but it does not seem to get easier for him. He does sleep over at his best friends' house without a problem.
YIS
Akela (formerly Kaa),
Peterborough, ON

Sam Wallis
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by Sam Wallis » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:55 am

I would agree with angus. perhaps my only thought is to see if you can encourage more sleepovers with other friends to reduce the separation anxiety? Pushing the issue will create pushback, and it wont make it easier to integrate into the troop next year if mommy has to come claim him in the middle of the night this year.
Truth is a perception, and a individual perception is their truth

ayates
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by ayates » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:39 pm

kaa27th wrote:He does sleep over at his best friends' house without a problem.
Is this friend in Scouts? If not, that might help.

kaa27th
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by kaa27th » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:11 pm

No, the friend is not in scouts. He was in a different cub group last year, but they decided to take a break this year as he had joined cubs a year early and had completed three years. The other cub group does not have a scout section, so he was going to join our scouts with my son next year. However, the mom now thinks they will be too busy with activities to do Scouts next year. So unless her son really pushes for it, I doubt they will sign him up :(
YIS
Akela (formerly Kaa),
Peterborough, ON

bcbagheera
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by bcbagheera » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:46 pm

Where are they camping? Is it close enough for you to be able to visit? Or pick him up if necessary? Maybe even drop him off for the day while you go do something else?

bcbagheera
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by bcbagheera » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:55 pm

By the way, the "accident", did this happen on a cold night? I know when I am at home, I can drink a pot of coffee in an evening and not have to go until I wake up in the morning (sleeping in my nice warm bed), but when I am at camp, one cup and I will be up 2 or 3 times during the night (sleeping in tent, even thought I am toasty warm, my bladder seems to sense this). This could have just been a temperature related event.

kaa27th
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by kaa27th » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:17 pm

Yes, it was a fall camp, and the temp must have been around zero. Could have been due to the cold.
They are camping about 30 minutes away. We have decided that he is not going tonight, but I will take him early tomorrow morning for the day, packed up so he could stay the night if he changes his mind, but promised we'd pick him up before bedtime if he chooses to come home. I do hope he changes his mind!
YIS
Akela (formerly Kaa),
Peterborough, ON

firedog_53
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by firedog_53 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:47 pm

When he camped with you, were you both in a tent? If he was okay sleeping in a tent with you, then one would have to think you and seperation could be the problem.

You say you have sleep overs with his friend, maybe add a sleep over in your yard. Them in a tent, just outside.. see how that works.

Your idea of bringing him for the day and hoping he stays is good!

Hope it works out for him!

FD

Rick Gruchy
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by Rick Gruchy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:33 am

Kaa,

First off, Angus is right, don't take advice for a message board, if you are really concerned talk to a trusted professional.

So why am I going to give advice??????? Oh well, take it with a grain of salt.

I have some professional background working with children and youth. I was also your son at one time. So the first thing I will say is don't get too upset, he'll get over it.

Please do not get too caught up in clinical terms like anxiety and separation anxiety. Your son is going through a big change in his move up to Scouts. He's scared. Coupled with the fact that he has had some unsuccessful camp experiences (one time having to be picked up early and another time wetting the bed) I would guess that he is worried that it is going to happen again and he will not be able to live it down.

Letting him go for the day and evening is a good idea, it will allow him to experience the camp, see what it is all about, and become more comfortable with the idea. Practicing with him some messages to other youth about why he cannot stay is a good idea so he can save face.

The fact that he can sleep over at friends is good. It means that he is not too scared to be away from home. Again it is the unknown of Scout camp with out mum or dad that he is worried about.

If you see that he is becoming overly worried or that this anxiety is creeping into other aspects of his life and he becomes scared about doing things that he used to be able to do, yes seek professional help. Otherwise, let him know it is okay to be scared, that you will support him, that it is normal and that many young people experience this sort of thing. Also, see if he can come up with any ideas to address his fear. You may need to give this current camp a miss, but there are going to be more so how do we get ready for the next one.

Bottom line is that you are his parent and I am confident that you and your son will work through this.

Good luck,

Rick

kaa27th
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by kaa27th » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:46 am

He didn't end up staying, even though the other scouts and 3rd year cubs tried to work on him throughout the day to change his mind. We picked him up at 9pm and he'd had a good day and enjoyed himself. Maybe next time...
YIS
Akela (formerly Kaa),
Peterborough, ON

Rick Gruchy
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by Rick Gruchy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:15 pm

As long as he had fun. He'll get there.

2HC-OldChil
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by 2HC-OldChil » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:09 pm

Perhaps encourage him and a friend to camp out in your backyard and all will be well. Nice to see he had fun.

BalooTwo
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by BalooTwo » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:04 pm

Have 2 sons. Both needed a little 'push'. one is now the acme of camping. loves when you get all 4 seasons in a weekend. the other son, now hates camping. only will do one-night-fair-night camps, maybe. SO, it is a 50/50 from my perspective. A positive mental attitude will make the worst camp fun, a negative or defeatest (?) attitude will make the most fun camp a nightmare. Remember, Scouting does not equal camping. My non-camper son loved the environmental side. There is no BP&P or instruction manuals for kids. :lol: good luck.

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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by southpaw_1979 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:42 am

We have a scout in our troop who comes for the day only often and a lot of the cubs in pack the same. Eventually most of them "come around" and want to stay the weekend, sometimes it starts with one night or just the fact they've had such a good time at camp during the day they don't want to leave. The leadership team simply tries to give positive encouragement and learn the reasons why they prefer not to stay.

It's best not to force them. By not moving up with him if it an attachment to you thing it might help that he won't see you at every meeting and become more comfortable with the idea that you aren't there.

Disclaimer-I'm not a proffesional just things I've observed in our own troop and with our own leaders and their kids

kaa27th
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by kaa27th » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:29 pm

Thanks, all! All the advice has been very helpful, I do hope he comes around and will want to stay in the future. I asked him if he was scared to stay , and he said "no, I just like to sleep in my own comfortable bed", lol, maybe that is all it is. Who knows?
There is another camp coming up in June where I can't go, as I will be doing my WBII somewhere else that weekend. X-ing my fingers he will go for that one. We'll see, I guess.
YIS
Akela (formerly Kaa),
Peterborough, ON

norma
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by norma » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:07 pm

Did he help choose the camping equipment?

You comment about his answer "no I just like to sleep in my own comfortable bed" made me think of it. I have tried a number of different bedding options for camping and some are more comfortable than others.

The foamy that someone else decided was sufficient for him may not be. I was never comfortable on those old inflatable air mattresses that people had, the ones that had tubes the whole length and the 'pillow' balloon thingy at the top. It made camping less enjoyable as I was contemplating how uncomfortable that would be and worrying about how bad the sleep would be making the sleep even worse. The same I really cannot stand sleeping bags with the shiny material on the outside, the way that I sleep I greatly prefer the cotton exterior.

Perhaps have some different options for sleeping equipment be explored. If you can borrow different things from friends and family so you don't have the expense of all the different equipment and let him choose which is the most comfortable.

But pushing too hard now (right at the start when everything else about the program is unsure) may not be the best timing. Once he gets more into the program and sees/hears about the adventures that the other Scouts are having at the different camps there may be more interest in trying to camp again.

kaa27th
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Re: My own child does not like to camp

Post by kaa27th » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:27 am

Good point. We do have really comfortable self inflating sleeping pads. At home he sleeps with 3 big pillows all around him, not really feasible at camp. He did choose his own sleeping bag out of the two really warm ones we have. That said, they are all shiny on the outside. Something to think about for the next camp.
YIS
Akela (formerly Kaa),
Peterborough, ON

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