Kids’ need for free time

Soontobeloner asks: My mother doesn’t respect what I want to do. I go to a stage school, and I like it and all, but it’s ruining my life! I can’t go out with my friends, and if I keep this up I won’t have any friends at all! So what should I do?

Hi Soontobeloner –

I’m pretty confused here.  When you say you go to a “stage school,” I assume you mean a school of drama, dance, music, etc.  Many kids here will envy that you go to a school like that (as opposed to the ones they have that are all about math and history).  But then you say that you can’t go out with your friends.  And that’s where I’m confused.

Are you saying that your school keeps you so many hours that you can’t have any time with your friends?  Or that your mother is just insisting that you can’t go out with them in the free time that you do have?

Either way, this hits one of my pet peeves.  Kids and teenagers absolutely need time with their peers.  Time that isn’t all about doing what adults tell them to do (even if what the adults are ordering is fun, like acting and dancing).  Young people need time to just be together, to hang out, to grow in ways that they have to.  And some parents, and some schools, really just don’t seem to understand that.

If it’s the school that’s demanding too much of your time, I don’t know that there’s much you can do to change it.  If it’s so unbearable that you want to switch schools, then that’s something to talk with your parent or parents about.  But otherwise, I guess the trick is to find a way to live with it, and enjoy the time you get with your fellow students there.

But if this is about your mom’s demands, I strongly suggest that you sit her down and talk about it.  Parents usually understand things like this, once you put it in terms they can grasp.  If you just stomp your feet and yell “I don’t want to practice my scales, I wanna go to the mall with my peeps!” it’s not going to get you very far.  But if you calmly explain that you are perfectly willing to do all your work, but that you need to have some social time as well, and that she’s demanding too much of you right now, there’s a really good chance that she’ll agree with you.

And if that doesn’t work, you can always have her contact me, and I’ll be glad to talk with her about the need for social interaction in human development, and the fact that… hey if she wants you to become a great actor, part of the way to train for that is to live life!


But first it would be best if you try to talk with her yourself.  And maybe you can find out what her reasons are for keeping you in.  Maybe some are good, and maybe some aren’t.  But once you hear them, you can work with her on how to achieve what she wants, while getting a chance to get out there with your pals and be the person you need to be.


Good Luck!





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