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Youth Housing Clarification

27 May 2014 5:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


Dear Parents,

I was asked to provide some guidance in selecting housing for you and your youth this year. First, a summary of options:

  • House your whole family in a dorm unrelated to youth
  • House at least one adult and your rising 7/8/9 grader (Jr. High) in the family dorm near other jr high families
  • House your rising 10/11/12 grader (Senior High) on a youth majority floor and yourself on the multigenerational floor in the youth focused dorm
  • House your rising 10/11/12 grader in a room next to you on the multigenerational floor in the youth focused dorm
  • House your rising 10/11/12 grader in your room on either the multigenerational floor or youth majority floor in the youth focused dorm
  • House your rising 10/11/12 grader on the youth majority floor in the youth focused dorm and yourself and younger siblings on the multigenerational floor
  • House your rising 10/11/12 grader and one parent in the youth focused dorm and younger siblings and a second parent in another dorm

Summer Institute, by it’s nature, gives all but our youngest children a chance to gain new freedoms and earn parents’ increasing trust (or not). Parents often ask me about how much freedom their youth should have and I always encourage parents to assess the amount of freedom they give their youth in relation to how successful that youth has been with recent freedom. Youth need limits and boundaries, consequences for violated trust, and chances to prove themselves. Consequences for violations of trust need not be punitive, it is natural to restrict freedom after a parent’s trust in a youth has been broken until such a point as the youth has regained the parent’s trust. Similarly, it is also natural to give youth more freedom after they have proven themselves capable (indeed not doing so is likely to stymie their growing sense of healthy autonomy in ways that interfere with their development and their relationship with you). My experience with youth (and children) is that they are most often successful with gradual increases in freedom rather than sudden increases. Gradual increases also have the benefit of having yet more freedom available should your youth prove him or herself, providing another layer of motivation.

Should your rising 10, 11, and 12th grader stay on the youth majority floor? Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do you trust your youth to follow your instructions as to which rooms and with whom they can be?
  2. Do you trust your youth to be able to say “no” to another youth who wishes them to bend/break rules such as be in a room with folks you haven’t okayed? And to seek help if their “no” isn’t listened to?
  3. Do you trust your youth to tell you if anything is uncomfortable for them?
  4. Has your youth followed your instructions at past SI’s or other events in terms of keeping in touch? (e.g. returning texts promptly, meeting when agreed)
  5. Are you comfortable walking up stairs to check on your youth?
  6. Has your youth done or failed to do anything recently to cause you to doubt your trust in them?

If any of the above doesn’t feel right to you, you can request your older youth housed next door to you on the multigenerational floor in the youth focused dorm, even in your room on the multigenerational floor, or you and your family may be housed in another dorm entirely. Senior high youth housed in another dorm can still hang out with other youth in the supervised lounge from 12am-4am and will be walked home by night angels.

Should your older youth’s younger sibling stay with you in the youth focused dorm on the multigenerational floor? Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do you trust this sibling to stay in their room after curfew?
  2. Do you have any concerns that the temptation to go hangout with the older youth is too much?
  3. Is your younger youth drawn to older youth in any kind of way that worries you?
  4. Has your younger youth done or failed to do anything recently to cause you to doubt your trust in them?
  5. Do you trust your older youth to support you in the limits you set for your younger youth including backing you up and letting you know if the younger youth has joined them in spaces where they’re not supposed to be?

Some younger youth readily follow parental limits and wait their turn, others have difficulty understanding why they have fewer freedoms than older youth and have a tendency to rebel as a result. You know your children best and we strongly encourage you to choose housing that is the best fit for your family.

Summer Institute provides many opportunities to permit youth (and younger children) new freedoms and as such opportunities for youth to either prove themselves or help parents see they are not ready for that freedom. If you are limiting the freedom your youth might otherwise experience in their housing, there are still freedoms that give them the chance to prove to you they are ready for more such as: informing you where they are, setting up chances to check in as a family and being there, responding to phone calls and texts, attending youth vespers and returning promptly, and so on.

Evin Carvill-Ziemer

Questions? Problems? Contact the Registrar:
 Amy Kent
registrar@omdsi.org or phone (412) 999-7067

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