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Sources of Strength: Advice Column

Question: My family doesn’t respect the sport that I do. They expect me to quit to catch up on my schoolwork, but I really don’t want to quit the thing I love. What should I do?

It is very difficult when you feel your parents don’t value the same things you do. You might try to talk with your parents about how to come to a compromise. At a non-stressful time when everyone is calm, try to tell your parents how you feel. It may help if you can demonstrate how the sport is important in your life, how it makes you happy and how it does help with your performance in school in different ways. You can emphasize how exercise and activities outside of school are important for your wellness and mental health. The goal should be to create a healthy balance of both wellness and academics in your life.

If they see that you’re trying to have a respectful and mature conversation with them, your parents may be more likely to listen to you and how you feel. They may acknowledge and appreciate that you are growing up and are becoming even more capable of handling things on your own. If so, they may be more likely to compromise with you and be able to talk about what the next steps could be.

When talking to your parents, make sure that you choose a time and a space where both parties are calm in order to have a productive conversation. Talk about how important your sport is to your wellness. If possible, acknowledge that your grades are not where you want them to be and discuss the plan you have for how to improve them. Ask your parents for ideas to come up with one that compromises what both you and your parents want. Use “I” statements like “I feel that sports help with with my well being…” instead of “you aren’t respecting…” to prevent the conversation from becoming accusatory. Coming up with a plan together may make everyone feel appreciated and supported. Thinking of some ideas ahead of time will help your parents realize that you are on the same page and that you may need some help, but that you also need to be doing something that makes you feel happy, which may be that sport. Many parents love to be asked for their help and advice.

A healthy, two-way relationship with your parents is important for your success and happiness. Try to explain why you love this sport and share this part of your life with them. This may make them understand your side better and be more supportive of you in the future. Hopefully this will allow all to strengthen your relationship and make it one of mutual support. If you feel this conversation may be too difficult, you can also talk to a trusted adult or your counselor to strategize ways to have the conversation beforehand.

We wish you good luck!

The Sources of Strength column is a joint effort between the The Oracle, Gunn Advice Sources, Stanford child psychiatrist Moira Kessler and Gunn school counselor Cora Ross. Kessler and Ross are offering feedback to students based on their professional expertise. However, they are not providing any clinical services.

If a student, you or someone you know is in need of immediate support at school, reach out to a trusted adult, visit the Counseling Office or Wellness Center. If you are in crisis outside of school, the Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 support service. Text “Connect” 741741 to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

If you are interested in submitting a non-urgent question for a future column, please fill out a form in the Wellness Center or Counseling Office, or use the following link: http://tinyurl.com/gunnadvice.

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