When your parents won’t let you join a team

problempup asks: I have asked to join the school’s athletic team, but my parents said no. Help, Shirelle – this could be my big break!

Hi problempup –

There’s not a lot I can say, without knowing why your parents said no.  But I’m going to guess their refusal comes down to one of two reasons, and I’ll offer you my best thoughts on those two (but if I’m wrong, and it’s another reason, let me know!).

Usually, when I hear parents refusing to allow their kid to do an activity, it’s because they’re concerned that the youngster isn’t devoting enough time to their studies.  And that’s especially true when an activity is as time-consuming as an athletic team.

But if that’s the case, you can give a decent argument.  Firstly, you can tell them that studies from around the world consistently show that exercise improves studying, retention, mental agility, and, yes, grades.  It only makes sense – you’re getting more oxygen and blood flowing through your brain when all this is going on!

But secondly, you might be able to argue that the time you spend not studying is taken up with physical activities and social life.  And since being on a team provides both of those delights, you could promise to cut down on those other things, in order to devote yourself to your team.

What you’ll probably find yourself doing is making a promise.  Something along the lines of “I’ll always finish my homework before doing anything else every night, and if that means I don’t get to talk to my friends or look at Facebook before I go to sleep, that’s just the way it’ll be.  And same with weekends.”

If you can offer something like that, problempup, there’s a really good chance they’ll be so impressed they’ll agree.

But now, what if that’s not their reason?  What if you’re wanting to join a team in a sport your parents find dangerous?  What if they’re worried about what would happen on the playing field, or while you’re traveling to other schools for games?

That’s a tougher one to fight.  Your parents probably love you more than anything in the world, and, while they’re happy to see you excited and eager to bravely take on opponents, they might be too worried about concussions, broken limbs, even paralysis, to allow their greatest treasure to get hurt.

If this is the case, my advice (you won’t like it) is to simply agree.  Sometimes Handsome makes me sleep in a crate, and I hate it, but I know to give up, curl into a ball, and catch up on sleep.  I have no choice, and my life is better if I stop struggling.

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on athletics altogether.  If your parents don’t want you playing rugby, might they be okay with you playing tennis, or cross-country running?  If they don’t want you kickboxing, maybe they’d be cool about basketball?

If I could, I’d run and tumble twenty hours a day, so I really get where you’re coming from, problempup.  But when I’m locked in the yard, I have to find other ways to exercise than the oceanside romps I crave.  So if you’re stuck with rules saying you can’t exercise the way you want, my advice is to just find another way.

And maybe, just maybe, to enjoy the fact that all these “no’s” you’re getting are because they absolutely adore you and want the best for you, forever.  Just the way Handsome feels about me.



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