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ASK AMY: Youth sports commitments spark responses – Toronto Sun

Author of the article:

Amy Dickinson  •  Special to Postmedia Network

Readers weigh in regarding a recent question regarding youth sports events and family commitments.
Readers weigh in regarding a recent question regarding youth sports events and family commitments. Photo by file photo /Getty Images

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Dear Readers: A recent question from a dad (“J”) who felt pressured by his mother to attend family events over his kids’ sporting events prompted a lively response on both sides of a consistent and challenging parenting issue: The pressure sports programs place on players and their parents, who are frequently required to travel to games on weekends and over holidays.

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I encouraged “J” to occasionally miss games in order to attend family functions.

Some reader responses are printed below.

Dear Amy: As a parent and teenage counsellor, I can assure you that you were wrong in telling that father that he should miss some of his children’s sports activities in order to attend family funerals and other family events.

Your child comes first!

Those children will always remember parents supporting them. They will not be spoiled because of it.

Shame, shame on you!

– Disappointed

Dear Amy: My husband and I were like “J.”

We have few regrets about our kids’ sports participation.

However, there were a few occasions where we chose to bail on family get-togethers, funerals, and weddings because our children had sports “obligations.”

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The fact that I can remember these missed events speaks volumes.

If it were the other way around, would I have remembered the “game we missed” because of a “life” obligation?

I doubt it.

I regret those choices.

– Regretful Mom

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Dear Amy: I think it is sad and wrong that “J’s” mother, and so many other parents, try to put guilt on their grown children for these types of issues.

J is now grown and raising his family the way he and his wife see fit.

They are making the choices that they feel are in the best interest of their now immediate family. This is what his mother did when J was a child at home growing up. This is what parents do for their children and their families. His mother needs to cut the cord and allow her son the freedom without the guilt trips. This is how life works.

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Kudos to J and his wife for doing what is in their best interest for their immediate family!

– Fellow Supportive Parent

Dear Amy: “J”’s dilemma resonated with my spouse and me.

We recently became empty nesters and spent years on the sidelines and in the bleachers.

If we had to do it all over again, we would have attended more family functions and scheduled more downtime.

Yes, I wish we had let our children occasionally be idle and “just be.”

Playing sports and learning the value of teamwork and collaboration are important lifelong skills, yet there needs to be a balance.

The majority of adolescents and young adults will not go on to be professional athletes.

Growing up, my parents insisted that my siblings and I must attend every family event unless we were working.

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Sadly, because as parents we did not do the same, this year we spent a birthday and Father’s Day on our own.

We wholeheartedly agree that it would be demonstrating important family values to miss a tournament or practice to support extended family members by attending celebrations or funerals.

– Learned a Lesson

Dear Amy: A number of years ago my husband and I decided that rather than flying to California with me and my other daughter for our niece’s wedding, our high school daughter should remain home to play in a basketball tournament because she had made “a commitment to the team.”

In retrospect, I would make an opposite decision: The only thing she remembers about the tournament is that it caused her to miss her dear cousin’s wedding, and that she doesn’t share the memories of that family event.

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It helps to step back and ask, “Ten years from now what might we think about this decision?”

– Wiser Mom

Dear Amy: As a youth sports coach, I just wanted to chime in on this issue.

I am a family man and totally understand family obligations.

As a coach, I think people believe we are more hardcore than we are.

I only ask that parents’ give advance notice if intending to miss events.

I know that we often have events on holidays and that’s definitely because of availability for travel with the Monday off.

I wanted to voice my support that I think youth coaches are more open to dealing with scheduling conflicts than it might appear, we just need advance notice so we can make sure the rest of team has what they need, as well!

– Soccer Coach from the Midwest

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