March is a busy time of year as winter sports wind down and spring/summer sports wind up. This is a time of year where the demands on parents to get kids to their in-season activities and the early sessions of the next season is daunting. Being a parent is hard with all of the pressures that your kids place on you and the pressure to participate non-stop all year-round in almost every sport.
This is a great time to exercise your rights and obligations as a parent and say no. No to excessive travel, no to overlap, no to the destruction of the family for the sake of sports. It is time to use common sense, and that means setting limits on your kids' participation, even if means sometimes disappointing them. Life is full of disappointments, and it is better to learn some at an early age when parents are there to guide their children through the process.
When I am discussing with parents the educational opportunites that are available for their kids at an outstanding academic school that has a wide range of sports to choose from, I find over and over again that the parents really want their kids to enroll, but they will defer to the wishes of their 13- or 14-year-old child to make the decision. Ultimately, the child chooses to go where their friends are, which usually means they stay put in a class of over 900 kids, or choose another school because they have friends there. Really? Is that how it should work? Is it good parenting to let them decide about something so important as a top quality education based on their friends? I think not. Teen age kids are not qualified to make those decisions. Their parents need to make the decisions.
As a parent I want the best education possible for my kids so they can compete successfully in the game of life in an ever increasingly competitive world. That is why we chose a top-end school for our sonm and he had a great academic and athletic experience. He is now ready to attend one of the top colleges in the country and play hockey while he is there. But make no mistake, he is there to get an education and he knows it. He understand that there is far more life after hockey and he needs to get prepared.
I get many emails from parents agonizing about the amount of time spent travelling to off-season practices and games because they do not want to dissappoint their kids. They want to hear that it is ok to say no. Well here it is: Just say no, or at least place limits on all of this excessive sports stuff and spend a little more time on things that matter in life like school work, volunteerism, family, having a part time job, and enjoying the off-seasons by doing other recreational activities.