Bobbi DePorter, the co-founder and president of SuperCamp, the Oceanside, California-based summer enrichment program, says that there are things parents can do to help their kids survive and succeed in today’s world.
“These are challenging and disruptive times for all of us – wars, the environment, the economy – and our kids, are being affected, as well. Everywhere they turn there is talk of how bad things are and they take it in,” says DePorter.
She goes on to say, “Teens may give the appearance that they’re immune from these issues, but many of them actually are feeling concern deep down. Other teens are more vocal, blaming adults in general and, often times, blaming their parents specifically.”
In her methods, DePorter provides answers to four key questions that many parents are asking regarding what they can do to help their teens. Many of the solutions mirror strategies that DePorter and her team of facilitators have used successfully with students for the past 28 years at SuperCamp's teen academic camps. One part of her program, SuperCamp, is a “Parent Weekend” which helps parents understand more about the academic and life skills their student learned at SuperCamp.
One strategy they discuss is how parents can create a home-court advantage for their kids. Ms. DePorter draws the analogy of how a sports team’s home court advantage comes from the support of fans and the comfort level of being in familiar surroundings. A family can build this same feeling of support and comfort, which will give a teen the confidence to know he or she can turn to a parent for help, even during tough times.
Another major topic has to do with parental-teen communication. Ms. DePorter emphasizes that parents should listen more and talk less. And when it is a parent’s turn to talk, begin by asking questions, then be calm and wait for an answer. If the teen’s response is brief say, “Tell me more.” Eventually, a parent will be able to draw the teen into a more relaxed conversation.