My son is 10 and has had a lot of health issues (cancer, meningococcal, and meningitis) and it’s mainly just been him and me. He now has anxiety and separation issues. He says he is definitely NOT going on camp. How can I encourage him?



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Posted by Missie, 19th August 2014


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  • Are you sure he’s definitely suffering from anxiety? Lots if kids stress about being away from home for any length of time. It’s not necessarily a mental illness



  • Would it be possible to compromise and for him to just go for a day to join in the activities and return home at night. Anxiety is very debilitating and he just may not be able to cope. He has a lot to deal with already.



  • I think it would be difficult for him to go. They will usually allow parents to go in circumstances such as this if there is room to go. Otherwise maybe you could take him there – settle him in and then leave when he is comfortable. Good luck and I hope he goes.



  • Can you go as a parent? Maybe say stay one night, and if you can, pick him up if he needs you? or otherwise don’t push it. Good luck



  • Hi Missie, did he end up going? I suggest talking to school counsellor to get some strategies happening – very difficult for both of you if he can’t be without you and sounds like you might need some extra support too



  • Wow, what a little soldier to,survive all that. Maybe you could have a couple of his friends over for a sleepover, and then see if he’ll sleepover at theirs. If he’s comfortable being with others overnight, it might encourage him



  • Its very hard to get someone that suffers from anxiety to do something that makes them anxious. I suffer from anxiety and it has been very tough to do alot of things.
    Tell them to write down what they think could happen that he wouldnt like, and he will soon see the worst thing that could happen isnt really that bad at all. Its also easy to do thing with a friend, so if he has a friend he can stick to that can help him. Professional help is always the best though



  • Firstly; I would suggest seeking some professional support in relation to the anxiety issues as it impacts on every area of life. Secondly; get the support of the school and in particular a key teacher/s. Thirdly; school could assist with a buddy for the camp; building up this relationship prior to camp. Ultimately though; some people dislike camping and everything associated with it. We are all different and need to respect the differences; in particular with our children.



  • You can’t force him but you could tell him all the activities he can do and will miss out on by not going, you can volunteer if that’s allowed, like as a leader, sometimes parents can go to help out.



  • Some schools ask for parents to come along as volunteers. Are you in a position to be able to do that? I’m sure they’re aware of your son’s health issues & probably wouldn’t mind if you came along.
    It would be sad for him to miss camp, looking back, school camps were some of my greatest memories.
    It’s hard, I suffer with anxiety too, but I don’t recall ever getting too anxious about camps, just very excited haha.
    Aww good luck, I really hope he is able to go.



  • very hard for both of you. I understand where you are coming from and the school is very supportive and understanding. Does he have a friend going? As he has been to Camp Quality he is aware of what camps are like. Good luck with whatever you decide. Talk to him about the fun stuff on camp etc. If he doesn’t want to go, you could let him have a mate over for a sleepover and vice versa so that by the time the next camp is on he will be more willing to go.



  • very hard for both of you. I understand where you are coming from and the school is very supportive and understanding. Does he have a friend going? As he has been to Camp Quality he is aware of what camps are like. Good luck with whatever you decide.



  • Im by no means going to force him. He lacks socialising skills, and being a part of these activities at camp,would aid in strengthening these skills. He would be part of a team. They have high ropes, low ropes, raft building, archery and lots of team activities. Mr J. has been given the option of who he would like to bunk with, and also given the option of having the room next to the teacher in the cabin. I’m not saying he should be forced to go on camp, I have asked how I can best encourage him. I just think that it may be easier to teach these skills and get him out of his shell now, rather than later. Thankyou!



  • Why force him? Did this with my son and in hindsight was not a good idea. Years later he says he never enjoyed those experiences so I now think why did I do it? I thought it was in his best interests but really, it just made his anxiety worse. What will your son miss out on if he doesn’t go? Can you do some of these activities with him? Not trying to be picky, but why do you want him to go if he doesn’t want to go?



  • What a lot for your son to deal with. Although I think in the long run he needs to learn coping skills, is there a reason he has to right now? Maybe you could let him skip it, and start with a night away, or a weekend camp.


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