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Class Trip - Ugh, No Idea What to Do

April 13th, 2015 at 03:07 pm

A class trip, overnight, for 4th graders; I guess it depends on the kid, right? My kid, I have mentioned, is a very anxious not-yet-10-year-old. Seriously - she is taking her piano lesson right now and she said "you're not allowed to leave!" which she knows I don't do anyway. When she has soccer practice I like to run around the track, but this also makes her super nervous ("what if something happens to you?" she asks me).

She is about 4 sessions into therapy for anxiety, and it's going really well.

OK, so the trip is basically this:
2.5 hour drive to a national preserve
spend 4 hours doing activities and eating lunch
1 hour drive to where they'll be staying (in the summer it's a camp)
overnight
1 hour drive back to the national preserve
1 hour activities
2.5 hour drive back to school

A lot of driving. Did I mention that there isn't cellphone service at the national preserve. She wants me to be max 25 minutes away from her at all times (I have no idea why it's 25 minutes) which is not possible. There is absolutely nothing closer than an hour. Parents are not allowed to go (the chaperones are three teachers and the Principal).

She doesn't want to stay overnight no matter what. She is torn about going on the first day. It's a school day, and my initial thought was that she should do as much of the trip as possible. But I am also worried that if she tries to call/text and it doesn't go through all day she'll freak out and undo the work she's put into the therapy so far.

So... what do I do?

I've offered two options:
1. She can go and do the first day and I will pick her up after dinner (1.5 hour drive) and I'll take her home; on Friday she can help in the Kindergarten class.
2. Skip the whole thing. If that's what she decides, I may take her up to Ghost Ranch which is only an hour away and there are cool education programs (I think Thursday is a hike then lunch then archery). It's the former home of Georgia O'Keeffe. That isn't free, and it's not inexpensive, but I'm ok with it since it's a pretty cool program. We'd bring our paints, too.

Just to add another layer on this: the forecast on Friday is snow and rain. I was thinking I could get a room near the camp and F could spend the night there and I could take her back in the morning, but that is $$ and I don't want to drive home in the snowy rain.

Oh - and another thing. There's another mother that thinks her child is just too young for this. She was going to keep her home from the whole thing, and she can help out with the little kids (we both had the same idea). She and I talked, and if I pick up F at the end of Thursday, she would let her daughter go and I could take her home, too. (If they both don't go, then maybe the three of us go to Ghost Ranch).

The other parents are fine with the trip, or if not fine, their kids want to go.

So, what do you think? You can blast me for terrible parenting; I won't feel bad!

6 Responses to “Class Trip - Ugh, No Idea What to Do”

  1. JulieAlbright Says:

    I guess I'd speak with her therapist but my opinion is that it might be good for her to be pushed a little into being more independent. Of course, I really have no idea about any sort of circumstances which might make her separation anxiety from you more understandable, so take my opinion with that in mind.

    Would there be time for the therapist to help her work through her anxiety about the trip before it happens?

  2. Kiki Says:

    Wow, I can't imagine helping a child through anxiety of this nature. Has she always been this anxious about everything or just new things? What does her therapist say? Why does she worry about something happening to you (only or also DH?)

    Are you showing her anxiety on any level that she might be picking up on about this trip? How does she do with sleep overs with other kids?

    I have to say, in 6th grade we did a week away at an out door education camp. It was an amazing experience but then again I was never one to be afraid or anxious as a child.

    Is it a good idea to plan an alternate activity if she won't go to this school sponsored one? (what does the therapist say?)

    I am hopeful she can go and conquer this fear of hers. It is hard and I wish you all the best! I am saddened by what she may miss if she doesn't go.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    I think you gave her great options! My anxious daughter opted out of things as a young child too, but did end up going to Florida with her band at 18. She probably was a bit anxious, but she wanted to go, and had enough past experience for her to know it would work out. This trip is probably too big of an event to handle if she isn't quite ready for being alone at her lesson.

  4. DeniseNTexas Says:

    I had what would quite possibly now be diagnosed as Social Anxiety Disorder when I was a child/youth and can tell you that the options you gave her sound great to me! Bad parenting? Hardly! Those are the kinds of options my mother would have given me in that situation. I rarely even spent the night with friends because the anxiety was just crippling. Bless your heart and that of your daughter.

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    I'd just skip it. I was thinking I Was not the type to bend over backwards (other options) BUT after thinking about it, I think there's also something to be said with living with the consequences. I don't know that giving here all the pluses without any of the minuses is particularly helpful. Other than that, I'd ask therapist for their input.

    I have a VERY adventurous 6th grader and a not-so-adventurous 4th grader. As to missing out, they are only 9! My youngest passed up two trips abroad this year. I think that's just fine. Because he is only 9! He's got plenty of time to grow up and take advantage when opportunities like this come his way in the future.

    Did you find a new therapist? Other than the first one? Just curious.

  6. Buendia Says:

    Thank you so much for your input everyone!

    Denise - you made my day... I was an anxious child, but not at this level. I feel like I can understand, but it is difficult sometimes because my heart breaks for her. I want her to be able to participate with the class as much as she can, with a successful outcome so it boosts her confidence rather than feeling terrible that she didn't go or feeling terrible the entire time.

    We do have a new therapist, and she's been great! But she only had a little while to discuss the trip, and they didn't make a lot of progress on it. Separation is the main thing we're working on. Her opinion was let F decide because that would do the most to build trust and confidence.

    So... it's Tuesday... two days to go, and no decision yet. I will let you know!

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