Children And Healthy Risk Taking

by Lee Pham


We began Southwoods knowing the kind of relationship we wanted to develop with our camp parents. A relationship that was bi-directional, a partnership with good communications that allowed us to continue to progress all the hard work our parents where doing at home. In continuing to develop that relationship, we are happy to introduce this new parents section to our newsletter. Each month we will try to include articles or books that you may find helpful in this wonderful, crazy ride called parenting. We hope you enjoy and find value in them.

Nurturing Good Children Now by Ron Taffel

The Romance of Risk by Lynn E. Ponton

Parent Piece

We recently attended a child development conference called the Joe Kruger Educational Conference. Keynote Sessions were given by Dr. Lynn Ponton a psychiatrist, author and professor at the University of California, San Francisco and Dr. Ron Taffel, noted child and family therapist, speaker and author. While both spoke about the risks facing our children, each speech focused on a specific type of risk. Dr. Ponton spoke about risk assessment, (helping children learn the importers in making good risk decisions), normal, healthy, growth inspiring rulings like trying an activity that scares you as well as unhealthy or dangereous risks like something that can hurt you, is illegal or immoral. Dr. Taffel spoke about the risks we are faced with in our ever changing world and how these risks, fears and situations affect our children and their emotions.

Dr. Ponton listed ways to best help children grow and take healthy risks … talk to your children, ask questions about what they are doing, get to know their friends, give them boundaries and enforce family rules and be a good role model … we all nodded our heads in agreement that these things were important but the last one really resonated. Dr. Ponton added that the most powerful tool in helping children learn good risk taking was sending children to summer camp. Mom and dad are not at camp, and what better place can there be for children to learn about making good choices and taking safe decisions without mom and dad than at Camp.

Risk taking is a good and healthy part of development when it is combined with safe and positive activities. For many children the first risky thing about camp is getting on the bus and saying goodbye to mom and dad. It is normal and okay for both your child (and you) to be nervous about camp. Risk taking, even when it is in positive activities, can be scary. While getting on that bus may be extremely difficult for some children, it is the first accomplishment in a long list that children are going to have during their camp experience. A good camp environment helps a child feel emotionally safe. It has good staff that helps guide children into good decisions. All of the things campers see as risks during the four weeks at camp, some big and some small, will have an impact on the person that you see at the end of the summer. Teaching a child that healthy risk taking is a positive tool for discovering, developing and consolidating his or her identity is not easy.

In a world where there are too many risks to imagine, it is nice to know camp is a safe place where kids can be kids, making choices and learning from their mistakes.

If you have chosen to send your child to camp you already know the value of organized camping on children. You probably know that your child will become more independent, hone their athletic and artistic talents, make new friends and learn how to be a better one. But, we also want you to know that by sending your child to camp, you are also helping them learn about risk assessment and how to make good choices while being surrounded by people that will guide them through this process. Camp is a place for exciting fun and safe risks.


Source by Andrea Ralls

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