to consider NOT sending my son on a school trip?(78 Posts)
My son doesn't want to go on a residential trip that the whole school year are attending. He is adamant (he's a real home body) and even though his twin brother is going he doesn't want to. He doesn't like adrenaline type activities and hates heights. Generally I try to override his negative approach to anything new but this can backfire as he feels he has no control. Part of me thinks that he's 9 and he is able to make this decision for himself. On the other hand I don't want him to be deprived of the opportunity to overcome his potential homesickness/fear of being away from home. He doesn't care that he will be left out so peer pressure has no affect. Help!
These are great for character building, developing digital skills and pushing yourself to and beyond your limits. I think her needs to sick it up and go. He may not appreciate it straight away but he will benefit from it.
Damn autocorrect. "He needs to suck it up..."
Have a chat with the school and explain his feelings. See if the whole year are going - often some don't for a variety of reasons. If he really is the only one, then I think it would be a shame.
How long is the trip for?
How far away - would it be possible to pick him up early if he really hated it? Or take him for a day?
How soon is it - could he have a couple of practice sleepovers at Grandparents/friend beforehand to get him used to the idea?
Would the school accept that he might not want to join in some of the activities - they must be doing some more 'relaxing' things too surely?
Had a very similar conversation with DS about a 5 day residential activity holiday arranged by school in the summer term. DS is 7 and has never stayed away from home, up until he was 6 this was due to illness but now he's well enough he just doesn't want to! I tried to encourage him to go on this school trip and said we could build up to it by having sleepovers with grandparents etc but he's adamant he doesn't want to, even for 2 nights. In the end I think you have to respect their decisions, there will be plenty of opportunity for trips on secondary school.
I think you have to remember school trips are optional, in that whether your child goes is your decision, as their parent.
There will be other opportunities if he doesn't go on this one. Children (and even young or not so young adults adults) can get homesick. If you think he would spend the whole time being miserable it would be a waste of money.
Perhaps when he experiences staying at home whilst the other children go he will be more keen to go on the next one, or perhaps not.
What I would do is leave it till the deadline to make your decision and if he is still adamant don't send him. If you really would like him to go, you could ask his teachers to encourage him but I would be wary if you think they would put him under pressure to make a decision he really wasn't happy with.
Do you think he would actually enjoy it when he was there? If not then i can't see the point in sending him tbh.
My DSS's (15, 14 and 12) have never been on a school trip away from home. There have been residential trips but they have never really liked the sound of them, and i don't think they have been deprived in any way. They have stayed away from home on other occasions though so are used to that.
If you send in then i agree with others about getting him used to being away from home with sleepovers ect.
Also, in your OP you talk about usually overriding his negative approach to new things; does he not like new things at all, or just certain new things?
I have 2 girls - one enjoyed her trip so much she has gone on another out of choice at secondary -
the other has told me it will be a cold day in hell before she EVER does anything like that again - with hindsight we should have saved the £250 for something else, she was drawn along by peer pressure but hated every minute.
Teachers will know the benefits of him going on the trip and will be keen to encourage him to do so. If the residential is taking place not too far from home, I'm sure they'll have arrangements for him to leave early if the need arises.
If he doesn't go, it will be a big deal in the run up to the trip, but quickly forgotten once it's over. Not everyone goes every year and there are always good reasons. I think the most important thing is to open some lines of communication with the school to talk it through open and honestly with them. If they try to coerce, don't cave in. If they are gently persuasive and supportive and willing for a change of heart either way right up to the day of the trip and even part way through such that he could arrive late or leave early, listen to what they say.
Fingers crossed the location isn't too far away. I don't understand why primary schools will travel the length of the country for something that's available on the doorstep.
Ours did this aged 8 and everybody went, even the kids who'd not been away from home/were very nervous about it. My own DS was very nervous indeed but he did enjoy it (with support from teachers and friends) and it enabled him to do similar things subsequently, which I think is important as well as the trip itself.
It also depends how much is fear/anxiety and how much is negativity. I'd talk it through with him. Could you bribe him if all else fails? (I am such a good parent )
I'd talk to his teacher about it. Will they do a presentation before hand explaining what's on offer, and stuff like that? Is it local enough that you could take him during the day and pick him up to come home at night?
My DD's school do a 2 night trip to a PGL place in June in year 4, she hadn't quite turned 9, but she was adamant she didn't want to go.
She's a total home bird, hates even being on holiday or visiting my parents, despite the fact that we are with her, and struggles a lot with anxiety, but at the same time she loves all the outdoors stuff so we came to the arrangement that she'd come home at night, I dropped her off in the morning in time for her to have breakfast with everyone else, then picked her up in the evening.
I really didn't see the point in forcing her to do something she really didn't want to do. She was so anxious about it that it was causing sleepless nights and nightmares so insisting she went was going to do more harm than good.
She's still a bit funny about sleepovers at her best friend's house but is getting better, she just wasn't ready for it last year. She has the opportunity to go to France in year 6 which she's coming round to the idea of.
Neither of mine would have wanted to spend that much time away from home aged 9. Their school's residential is always in Year 6 and I was very grateful for that. My oldest was desperate to go when the time came.
I think you had some good advice upthread to find out whether he really is the only one. My DS school make the week a lot of fun for those staying behind, there are always quite a few who don't go.
My ds went on a school trip this year with a boy who was a real home body. He cried every night and my ds said the teachers were useless. On the fourth day ds actually found him sitting on his own behind his chalet breaking his heart crying. The teacher told ds to look after him . He got nothing out of the week and I think his mum could have done better things with the money. Based on that story I think you should listen to what your ds wants.
I wouldn't make him go.
I don't 'force' my DC to do things they don't want to, unless they have originally said they want to and then at the last minute are just chickening out because they are scared of doing something new. Or being lazy and trying to drop out.
Thanks for your opinions - its good to hear both sides. We are doing sleepovers with grandparents and they are ok/fine but he is afraid of pretty much all new things and doesn't like even going to the loo on his own in the house. I think he is very young for his age although very articulate in terms of his needs! I have suggested that he could do day trips there as its not far away (an hour-ish) but he's not keen. Because he often says no to doing pretty much anything I've ignored him on this so far but this is a bit bigger than usual daily stuff.
sounds like too big a step. Adrenaline exercises etc are not essential to build character, any more than they work as 'team building' in the adult world. Sounds like he certainly needs more independence and confidence - you can't be taking him to the toilet if he has no physiological need - but this kind of course might just scare him silly.
perhaps do a deal - not the residential but a smaller set of targets to build his confidence and really make him see that he can achieve?
Things like this are so difficult to deal with, it's impossible to know what to do for the best.
On one hand, I think allowing children not to do things like this almost reinforces their belief that there's something to be scared of and it's missing a perfect opportunity to build confidence, but on the other, if it's just going to upset him then it could leave him feeling less confident because his worries aren't being taken seriously and he could spend the time being miserable.
Perhaps this is one of those times when you have to listen hard for your gut instinct and then follow it. I don't see what else you can do really, because you could could find a lot of valid arguments for both choices you have.
Make him go. My DD is just the same OP and I made her go and she had a great time. The teachers are not the same on trips away and they will be kind to him. It's character building.
I wouldn't make him go on a long residential if he's not ready.
Sleep overs at grandparents are great but it's still a very familiar environment.
Have you considered joining them both into cubs they would do weekend sleepovers and camps. often close to home at local camp sits. they have a whale off a time. DD's 7 and in cubs and already done two camps just one night each. The older they get the longer they stay away I believe.
I was your son. I even tried to break my arm so I didn't have to go!
I had a few wobbles when I was there but I had a really good time and it was very good for me to go and be forced out of my comfort zone.
As much as it's hard, I think you should make him go.
As an adult I wouldn't enjoy this sort of holiday and I wouldn't have as a child. I think it's fine for children to know they don't want to do certain things. In my mind the best thing about being an adult is not being forced to do stuff I don't like. I've taken many kids on PGL type trips but I don't believe any were 'made' to go. Generally they all had a good time and tried most activities, but there were always children who stayed behind and seemed none the worse for it. Like someone else said, he may change his mind nearer the time or be ready when he's a bit older.
Try and remember that socialising and holidays are intended to be fun. Not everybody will enjoy the same things and that is ok.
Would you feel as conflicted if this intended fun trip was being refused by a sporty type child because it was a library residential that your quiter child was very much looking forward to?
How would you feel about being told you should enjoy something just because others do?
Train spotting and cage fighting anyone?
I was forced on one with the same reasoning. You'll have fun. It'll be good for you. It's a great opportunity. You'll enjoy it once you get there. Bla bla bla. I hated it. It destroyed the (very) little confidence I had and certainly did not help me in any way for the rest of my time at the school.
You aren't depriving him of the opportunity. You are offering him and he is refusing.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
If its close enough to drive, could you give him the choice that he can let you know each night if he wants to come home for the night? That way he is in control and knows he has a way out if he needs it.
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