How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

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How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby nani » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:51 pm

Hi

Need help pls. My 14yr ds is still afraid of overnight camp despite been to one in P5. Have spoke and encourage him but not very successful. He really gets butterflies in his stomachache and weep whenever he talk and think about it.

I have tried talking to him that he'd been thru once there will not be any issue to go thru another this time. But he said it was a bad experience to him (thou there wasn't any major issue besides homesick). As much as I would love to encourage him and be brave, I don't know how to go about doing it. I've read so much on internet, even a part when we talk about sending kids to overnight camp, the child has to be willing party, but for schools its mandatory. Sigh....

Appreciate any advice. Thanks

nani
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Re: How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby bebebub » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:06 pm

nani wrote:Hi

Need help pls. My 14yr ds is still afraid of overnight camp despite been to one in P5. Have spoke and encourage him but not very successful. He really gets butterflies in his stomachache and weep whenever he talk and think about it.

I have tried talking to him that he'd been thru once there will not be any issue to go thru another this time. But he said it was a bad experience to him (thou there wasn't any major issue besides homesick). As much as I would love to encourage him and be brave, I don't know how to go about doing it. I've read so much on internet, even a part when we talk about sending kids to overnight camp, the child has to be willing party, but for schools its mandatory. Sigh....

Appreciate any advice. Thanks

Can pack your ds to relatives' house n stay over on weekends? Let him practise getting use to the idea of being away from you/home.

bebebub
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Re: How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby slmkhoo » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:26 pm

Can you identify a cause? It's strange for a teenager to be so attached to home that even a night away seems such a big deal.

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Re: How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby Mawar » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:28 pm

Does he know the reasons for his anxiety? Does he snore or is he a heavy sleeper or he had episodes of bedwetting? Or is he afraid of some boys in class who might bully or play nasty pranks on him?

Can he bring along a mobile phone so that he can contact you? Can you request to have his closest friend to be in the same group?

The sleepover as suggested by a parent is a wonderful idea.

Mawar
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Re: How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby Desserts » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:44 pm

Hi nani, same here! I can relate to your case .
Since aft the p5 camp, my dd is so scared of over night camps. She s also an introvert. She turned quiet and so stressed yesterday aft knowing that there s a sec 1 orientation camp and kept asking me to write a letter of excuse so that she could come home at night. I kept encouraging her that it won't be as bad as the p5 camp. I think she was traumatized during the p5 outdoor camp, it was so regimental, almost military style. If they were late to report, their shoes would be kicked into the drains and the trainers did nasty things to them. Dd and a few others cried, partly because they missed home, and also didn't expect this kind of treatment. Of course, there ll b some who said it was so fun.

After some persuasion that this is only one night, and that I'll feedback to the teachers if there s anything and to attend her campfire tomorrow night, she finally agreed reluctantly.
All the best to your ds

Desserts
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Re: How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby ngl2010 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:50 pm

My DS also did not have good experience with his P5 camp. His school went to the camp in Choa Chu Kang (I can't remember the name). He said the toilet stinks. Very smelly. Some of his friends held their bladder as long as they can because they didn't want to go to the toilet. Just because of the toilet, he has bad impression on camps. He thinks ALL camps have smelly toilet so each time we mentions about camps, his first reaction is to reject it.

ngl2010
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Re: How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby elishatan » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:35 am

Hmmm.. sounds a little extreme for 14yo boy to be this scared. Do you think he may be bullied in school, hence his unwillingness to participate in this school camp?

elishatan
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Re: How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby jedamum » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:56 am

Some introvert kids feel left out when socialisg in group. Hence when group activities are forced upon them during camps, they may retreat into their shells as a defense mechanism against the stress they are going through. They may amplify remarks as target towards their incompetence and feel extremely upset yet have to put on a front as the truth may draw more negative reactions from others. I don't have a fix it short term solution if it is such cases as I was a classic anti social student myself who got nervous during forms of group activities and prefer to be left alone. I have a young relative who is scared of camps too. I can relate to him and had opportunity to observe his reactions during group activities. Any random acts that result in scores lost in games, he tend to blame himself. It made him felt better when he had a close friend who encouraged him and for him to turn to when situation feels overwhelming.
For me, my dh is my pillar. Till now, I still feel out of place when I need to face a group of people for extendedpperiod without him. He will get my bombardment of SMS attempting to to chat with him in such situation .:sweat:

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Re: How to help my child overcome fear of overnight camp

Postby Peony » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:31 am

nani wrote:Hi

Need help pls. My 14yr ds is still afraid of overnight camp despite been to one in P5. Have spoke and encourage him but not very successful. He really gets butterflies in his stomachache and weep whenever he talk and think about it.

I have tried talking to him that he'd been thru once there will not be any issue to go thru another this time. But he said it was a bad experience to him (thou there wasn't any major issue besides homesick). As much as I would love to encourage him and be brave, I don't know how to go about doing it. I've read so much on internet, even a part when we talk about sending kids to overnight camp, the child has to be willing party, but for schools its mandatory. Sigh....

Appreciate any advice. Thanks


Homesickness can be painful for adults, let alone children. As he felt this at 11, he may be feeling like he did at 11 despite being 14.

Hence, I would be reassuring him that he felt that way because he was 11 and at 14, it can be changed to a positive experience. Reassure that "stuck" 11 year old.

And "invite" him to think of ways to ensure this time, it's mostly a positive experience e.g. what music does he like; that makes him happy. Listen to that when he begins to feel upset to prevent it from escalating -of course you will also need to seek the permission from the school to let him do that.

Promise him (I think this is a fair promise) that it will be good as long as he mentally prepares himself to turn overnight camps into positive experiences. It's all up to him.

Alternatively you may want to seek external help. My daughter had a phobia that was "cured" this way. I lost the contact of the person who helped, but you can google for it - Tan Li-Anne. She has an office in Chinatown.

Hope to hear a wonderful outcome to this.

Peony
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