By Jodie Lynn
I think you've written before on this topic but I hope you will do so again. Our 16-year-old son is a sophomore in high school and is a part of the football team for next school year. However, most of the boys seem to party quite a bit. We are happy our son made it but are less than thrilled that beginning this summer, he will have to start practicing and hanging out with kids on the football team. How should his dad and I handle the challenge of making sure he has enough confidence not to make poor choices without constantly monitoring his every move?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Other than attending the practices and then making sure you take him home, it is pretty much going to be up to him to be responsible for his actions. Unless you absolutely know for sure that the players are getting wasted, doing drugs or both, as his parent, you may just have to let him learn from any mistakes he may make. - R. J. K. in Tallahassee, FL
If you are basing your opinion of kids' reputation on hearsay, you can always talk to other parents who might know more. There's no reason why you couldn't also bring up your concerns to the coach. He may not volunteer a lot of information just because he does not want to be associated with or blamed for any of the players current or previous behavior off the field. However, by asking questions, he will most likely help to keep an eye on your son. Peer pressure is fierce at this age when it comes to fitting in and being accepted, especially in team sports. If you do find out that what you've heard about the players is true, it will be a challenge for you as well as your son. With this in mind, talk to your son about self-respect and standing up for himself when needed. Attend each game and maybe start a new tradition where after each game the family goes out to dinner and talks about the outcome. Although it's terribly hard for parents to let go of their kids, sometimes, we have to do so and hope for the best. Should he want to talk about anything, simply listen without nagging, trying to fix the situation for him or even interrupting at all. When he wants your parental advice, he will ask. Let him know you will love him unconditionally and will always be there for him.
CAN YOU HELP?
My brother's six-year-old daughter is allowed to wear make-up, including eye shadow, liner and mascara, almost every day. She does not wear it to school but as soon as she gets home, she puts it on. Since he and his wife are currently separated and not living in the same house, he thinks the topic is off limits. She desperately wants to be a teenager and is already talking about falling in love. Her mom thinks it's cute. Isn't this setting up major challenges in the near future for all three of them? Is it appropriate to comment on the situation? If so, what should I say?
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