Dear Family Coach: My 8-year-old son signed up for youth basketball. At first he really enjoyed it. But now, halfway through the season, he is dreading games and practice. He wants to drop the sport altogether and miss the rest of the season. Is it OK to let him quit, or should we force him to stick it out? — Quitter's Dad
Dear Dad: I'm a firm believer that if you quit once, it will become that much easier to quit again. Kids learn something important when they are faced with mild adversity. I'm not talking about learning basketball skills. I'm saying that having to tough it out will teach your son how to plow through difficult experiences. He won't shut down at the first sign of a challenge. Finishing the season will show him that he can do something even when he doesn't want to. That's called resilience, and it's one life lesson you don't want your son not to learn.
Clearly, your son isn't enjoying something about the experience. Maybe he hates the sport or the team is lame. Either way, he should have to stick it out until the end. It would be different if there were a severe bullying situation or some other compelling reason. Barring something serious, he should be made to finish out the season. Empathize with him when he complains. Let him know that you understand that basketball is a drag for him. But explain that he made a commitment to the team, and it's important that he see that through. Reassure him that if he doesn't want to step on the court again after this season, he doesn't have to. It will be his choice.
Dear Family Coach: My 13-year-old daughter wants to wear a little makeup to school occasionally. I'm talking about a little eyeliner and lip gloss. My husband has a cow every time he sees her this way. I don't have an issue with it if the makeup is subtle. What age do you think is appropriate to begin wearing makeup? — Makeup Artist's Mom
Dear Mom: Girls often become more thoughtful about their appearance in middle school. It isn't just about impressing potential mates; it's about finding oneself through trying out different personas. This can be accomplished by changing clothing preferences, wearing makeup, trying new activities or hanging out with new friends. You and your husband will begin to have less of an influence on her, while her peers' opinions will become increasingly important. This can be a difficult pill to swallow for many parents. Your husband's baby is growing up, and his reaction is just one sign he isn't particularly ready.
I don't see an issue with your daughter wearing a small amount of makeup to school, as long as the school doesn't have regulations against it. As a rule of thumb, I would say 8th grade or around 13 years old is a reasonable time to begin. However, give your daughter some parameters so she knows the limits. Saying yes to some makeup doesn't necessarily mean she can wear whatever she wants. She will likely experiment with makeup to varying degrees of success. Try to give her a little slack to figure it out.
Help your husband see that makeup is removable; it's not permanent, whereas piercings, hair dye and tattoos are much more permanent.
Dr. Catherine Pearlman, the founder of The Family Coach, LLC, advises parents on all matters of child rearing. To write to Dr. Pearlman, send her an email at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Catherine Pearlman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.