Many seniors feel liberated during the final weeks of their high school careers. The pressure to perform on AP and SAT tests is over. The tension of not knowing where they’re going to college has ended. It’s spring and seniors feel wild and free, especially because their high school now holds little power over them.
This “cutting loose” energy culminates on prom night – one of the last nights they’ll be together with their friends as a class, and the big night of celebration that everyone is supposed to remember forever.
Parents can worry over this new mood of liberation, and develop concerns over prom night, including ones like these:
- I don’t want my son to get into underage drinking on prom night …
- I’m worried that my daughter won’t let me meet her date …
- My son wants to drive himself, but I want him to hire a professional driver …
- My daughter’s group wants to party all night in a hotel room …
- My son is spending too much on flowers, photographers, and fancy restaurants – money he needs for college …
- My daughter wants to wear a dress that’s too sexy for her …
According to the editors of Seventeen magazine, these concerns are natural. A majority of parents are particularly (and understandably) worried about their children’s safety and the possibility of automobile crashes on a night when seniors may drink too much on roads filled with inexperienced drivers. They also worry that their children might take sexual risks.
This year parents are reporting another concern — that their children are spending too much money on prom at a time when families have to cut back because of the national recession.
With college and the responsibilities of young adulthood looming, teens have just a few more years to “be kids” and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. While most parents understand the many benefits of sending their teen to summer camp, it can be difficult to choose the best summer camp for your particular child.
Your teen may have a variety of talents and interests, and he may be pushing to go to a camp with all of his friends from school. At the same time, you know he would benefit most from a camp that could help him address some of the troubling behaviors he has exhibited in the past and get him back on track to finish high school on a high note.
Fun, Friendship, and the Freedom to Redefine Yourself
Wilderness camp, also known as adventure camp, wilderness therapy, or outdoor education, may be the solution you’re looking for. At wilderness camp, teens hike and camp in the great outdoors, play games, and get to know other teens but with the added benefit of having trained field guides and master’s level therapists available to offer insights into more effective communication and coping strategies.
Although your teen may want to attend a summer camp with her friends, sometimes getting away from negative peer influences and starting fresh in a new, unfamiliar environment brings about the greatest transformation. At wilderness camp, teens’ thoughts are not dominated by technology, the Internet, or the opinions of friends and their days are not ruled by a time clock.
Over the past few decades, many pediatricians and nutritionists have advised parents to allow their children to eat what they want, when they want it, and in whatever amounts they want.
This is called the "Trust Theory" of feeding children, and it refers to the principle that the human body can regulate itself to maintain its ideal weight. However, we are now in the middle of an epidemic of childhood obesity, and experts have begun to question the "Trust Theory." Left to their own devices, many children are eating all the wrong foods, filling up on fries and sweets, and ignoring fresh fruit and vegetables. Some are "self-regulating," only to maintain weights that are too heavy for their frames.
Experts in childhood obesity are now calling for parents to intervene in order to help their children achieve and maintain healthier weights. However, most research indicates that nagging children about food or putting them on weight-reducing diets are mistakes that can backfire and make the situation worse. The truth is that there are only a few scientifically proven ways to help children achieve healthy weights – these include family-based interventions, immersion therapy, bariatric surgery, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
According to an article entitled "Self-regulatory failure: A review with clinical implications," that appeared in a 1987 edition of the Clinical Psychology Review Dr. Daniel Kirschenbaum of Northwestern University’s School of Medicine is one expert who believes the "Trust Theory" is an "ineffective model based only upon anecdotal evidence."