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Need an Opinion Please

A friend and I are having a disagreement on something I think is fairly important.

A friend of mine is a single parent of a 16 year old boy who is on the spring track team. Yesterday, he decided he was too tired to get out of bed and attend the track invitational his team was participating in.

My friend purposely got up on a Saturday morning around 7AM-ish to take him to the school where the team was meeting to get on the bus. She couldn't get her son out of bed...said he didn't want to go because he was too tired.

Now, he was not sick, was feeling fine. Was not sick during the week. Was not up late the night before (he was home).

So what does she do? She lets him continue to sleep to 11:30AM.

I said to her if he made a commitment to a team that he should go whether he wanted to or not. If he were my child, of course I wouldn't physically force him to go but I sure as hell would not let him sleep late either as a reward for not going, especially if I had to purposely get up early to take him there. I would have made him get up and do something productive around the house or homework.

I told her all she did was reward him for his actions by letting him sleep as late as he wanted (after all, that was his goal), and she was sending the message that it is okay to be lazy and not live up to his responsibilities and commitment to the team.

She agreed with the commitment part but she said that she didn't see anything wrong with letting him sleep so late, and he would be punished in other ways like finding his own transportation to places he wanted to go in the future (I don't really view this as a punishment), and doing extra chores around the house. She also said that had she forced him up early, he would have been "grumpy" all day. But her way, at least he was pleasant without incident. I said that is just too bad if he would have been grumpy, he should get up.

Just a side note, I personally think it is a waste of day to let a kid sleep that late anyway, especially for no reason.

Just so you all know...he is a pretty good kid. Doesn't drink, smoke, is fairly responsible, has good grades, and is not a trouble maker.

So how would my fellow DP'ers handle this and what do you think of the way she is handling it?


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Track sucks.

It is common for 16 year olds to get bored with sports, especially if they were only mediocre to begin with. Track is the least stimulating sport of them all. Uh, I do not blame him at all. (Coming from former college athlete)

Tell that to Ron Paul

He was a 220-yard dash state champion and if not for the knee injury he would have gone on to the Olympics....

Incidentally, the one of the guys who ran in the Olympics was a guy who Ron Paul had beat at State.

Ron Paul also is interested in monetary policy

Which to me is boring as hell. I love medicine, but the last medical specialty I would choose would be OB/Gyn.

Give a sport where I'm chasing a ball or fighting someone and I'll play all day. I love Ron, but we are entertained by different things.

Kids do get overwhelmed

Life has a funny way of dealing out consequences to your actions. If he skips track practice then he risks being kicked off the team. If he skips track events then he not only misses the opportunity to compete but also lets his team down and again risks being kicked off the team.

Now, it's possible that he can be honestly tired and just unable to push himself up when he's tired. I'm able to get up after a couple of hours sleep and then work all day. I do so through grit and determination of getting done what ever it is that I have to get done. Children often don't have that determination naturally. It would either have to be something they are obsessed about or they just have to have learned this skill to know what they are capable of...to push past what would make you comfortable.

As to what she should have done... This is hard. I personally say the job of the parent of an older child is to talk about why he should have got up and gone anyway. Explain to him the risks and the responsibilities and the consequences. For my kids, if they are sick home from school, I cut out all electronics and ask them to do homework or stay in bed and sleep.

I would rule out depression or overwhelm first. I would see if he's avoiding track for a reason or if he is in general wanting to escape pressures or he's experiencing profound sadness. After that, it's my opinion that it's only a matter of a child finding their grit to push through to meet their responsibilities regardless of a little temporary discomfort.

And that's my opinion

As the adult delegated to

As the adult delegated to teach this human being how this world works, i would not have let him shun his responsibility to the team. Until he is an adult, his decisions are my responsibility. There are times to let children learn from their mistakes, but when their choices have an impact on an entire group I have a responsibility to the society I live in to immediately correct the bad choice.

But to other posters' points,

But to other posters' points, putting more effort into diagnosing the issue is probably waranted too

I had four teenagers that grew up, two have children now.

If I want to be trusted then I have to trust. It doesn't mean that the questioning isn't direct and to the point.

Lying creates a perceptual drain and a lose of reputation once discovered.

It is a trick not to put a child in a position to be truthful or silent.

Extended family and community can provide a safe way out of danger. Who would lead a child into temptation?

Fear, despair and doubt are natural.

Pain, or other physical problems are likely. A sprain or blister? A Healthy Bone and Joint Pak is used by NBA stars, Body Builders and Olympic Athletes.

Selenium deficiencies are too common in young athletes who sweat out minerals without replacing them fast enough. Heart attacks result, but it can be reversed before the attack.

Threats or abuse are certainly possible. Un-chaperoned bus rides can be rowdy.

Someday, I may have to rely on their trust. I figure that it will help if I set a good example. If I can ever figure out what that means.

Free includes debt-free!

I would have let him sleep!

There is nothing wrong with letting your child make his own choices, and letting them face the consequences. I am not a drill sergeant parent, nor a helicopter parent. My kids are very responsible. You're talking about track here, each man for himself. It's not like he's the drummer in the band and chose to sleep instead of going to the concert. Once you FORCE a child (or adult for that matter) to do something, the love for it is gone.

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
-Thomas Paine

First thing that comes to mind is..

mind your own business. (No offense, it's just my opinion.)

There are many ways to raise kids and yours is not necessarily better than others you may not agree with.

If the kid has demonstrated to be a "pretty good kid" maybe giving him the benefit of the doubt of believing that he is in fact very tired and requires more time to rest than usual should be left up to him..



I try to change people every day. Do You?


When someone asks you would you would do aren't they asking for an opinion? She asked so I told her what I would do...how is this sticking my nose in someone else's business?

It wasn't and isn't clear in your post..

that she had asked you for your opinion.
If you read my previous post, you will find a reply to the question you posted.
I respect your perspective on this matter, although I do not agree with it.


I try to change people every day. Do You?

Please check out godsfavson's post below

he may have an underlying thyroid problem, it can be solved with a simple increase in iodine rich foods in many cases.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Ahhhh teenagers

I have two and one on deck....

This is a struggle with most parents. Teenagers are not developed completely and have all sorts of hormone imbalances and need a lot more sleep. Obviously this is not an excuse to allow defiant behavior but its always good to understand the chemistry before you implement a course of action. Just like Dr. Paul would say, we need to know the symptoms before we can treat the disease and find a cure.

With my kids I (try) and get them into a routine where they hit their homework when they get home from school first and put limits on how long they can surf the net, talk on the phone etc....

Anyway, every kids different and the main point is they need more sleep than you and I. They have these mood swings and feelings of larthargia and because their brains are not fully developed , they react and process it differently. It's not only true in their sleep patterns but their ability to make critical decisions and avoid manipulation.

I agree with you about commitments and responsibilities. I also know raising teens are hard. Teens will make poor choices and do irresponsible things but the one thing a good parent can do is provide a solid foundation though example and expectation. Reinforce standards and values and in the end, our teens will mature and have that gift you gave them to use in life.

Good luck, and buy Advil ......


For Freedom!
The World is my country, all mankind is my brethren, to do good is my religion.

Well, here is my opinion.

If people choose to trash me personally for it, I remind them that this is my opinion, and opinions were asked for.
This looks like a possible red flag of some sort of problem. Children who suddenly and mysteriously "loose interest" in something they have devoted a LOT of energy to are usually hiding something, often sexual misconduct by an authority figure. In sports, threats of hazing are common, too. I would suggest it is possible that this boy was avoiding some threatening situation, and that letting him follow his instincts is critically important. Now the hard part, taking time out of our busy day to listen to the boy and help him dig down and find the answers and express it. Letting him off at "too tired" is fine in the moment, but once the meet is over and whatever "threat" he felt has passed, it is time to find out what made him so "tired."

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

Why am I not surprised you'd

Why am I not surprised you'd turn this into something sexual?

You know, I just don't care about the insults.

No one wants to address pedophilia, so the pedophiles get away with it. I have brought this up a lot, and I have often gotten a private message back "You were right."

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

This option never crossed my mind

I will suggest it to her..thanks

Thank you for listening.

My best wishes to your friend and her son.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

Your friend is very lucky to have such a good boy

Are you interested in being the boy's father?

Apparently you are not impressed with your friend's parenting skills even though you claim, he's a good boy.

My advice, MYOB about the boy, and do what you can to find happiness with your friend... support her or let it go.

No to your first question

We have just been friends since grammar school.

Regardless of how good he is, he did not live up to his commitment. What if he was one of the fastest on the team (which he is not) and they were relying on him to win one of the races to advance to the state finals, which begin next week? Would it be ok then to let him do as he pleases?

I think the part of the role of parenting is to guide your kids and help them make good decisions.

What's it to you?

You've got to let him and his Mom work this out. Or, you may find yourself the object of his resentment, and an unhappy friend.

It's one thing if you are the father.. you are not, so don't pretend.

Become a friend to him.. a BIG BROTHER he can confide in, laugh with, race.. be someone he wants to see in the morning.. wants to text, have a first beer... respect his Mom and him.. let this little stuff go.

Please don't become the mean SOB who bonks his Mom and makes him hate you.

If you can afford to take them out to Mother's Day.. Be the PRINCE they never had.. make their day.


You are definitely misunderstanding

I NEVER interfere with him...and I DO NOT ever pretend to be his father. It is not my place. We were just simply having a conversation via the phone and she said she didn't know what to do because she couldn't get him up. I just said if it were my son that I would get his butt out of bed, especially since she set her alarm for 7AM on a Saturday to drive him to school. I felt she wasn't setting a good example letting him sleep so late.

We are just friends....have been since grammar school...so some 35+ years. That is all. I am no way involved in her son's life.

I apologize

I hope you, your friend, and her son, live happily ever after! REALLY!!

I personally would not stick

I personally would not stick my nose in especially if the kid is well adjusted (as he seems to be).

I know a guy who is lazy, smokes weed, has fun and still does well financially and in relationships so neither should we presume to know what is best for everyone.

We have been friends since grammar school

we share everything

Ok, I'll share a personal

Ok, I'll share a personal anecdote about my second year of college.

I used to play a lot of sports, play in two bands and was involved in a lot of activities. As I went to second year I began to grow very lethargic and even stopped stepping out of my flat except for college sitting home on the internet or watching movies moat of the time.

Even my attendance numbers went down and by the end of the semester I had to beg my teachers for extra classes so I could make up the minimum percentage.

My grades which had been stellar ever since I could remember fell off a cliff. I had spent two years in a boarding school before college so it was not the additional freedom either.

This lasted into the holidays when I went back home. I spoke to my mum who is a doctor about this strange 'wall of fatigue' that I seemed to run into when I needed to do something.

She withdrew some blood from me early the next morning before breakfast and sent it for analysis. The results said that my thyroid numbers were down which was confirmed by subsequent tests and family history. I went on the medication and though next semester was difficult, my life slowly returned to normal.

If this behaviour is VERY uncharacteristic of him, you might advice your friend to get her son's bloodwork done.

My changed behaviour was over more than 6 months though so do this if you see a continued trend.

He is kind of lazy

Maybe I will mention that to her.

No question. I would let him sleep

He is old enough to be responsible for the decisions he makes. Whatever consequences he would end up suffering for ditching the track team is the "punishment".

I never used physical punishment raising my daughter but looking back had I know what I know now, I probably would have not even handed out much in the way of arbitrary "parental" penalites when she did things I didn't like. After around age 12 or 13, its becoming clear to me that the natural law is the best way to handle MOST situtations where "rules" or "standards" are broken. Children should face the consequences of their choices...and learn from them. My daughter is 23 now and I continue to offer her "The wisdom of my years" (lol) but its her choice whether she chooses to accept my advice or decides some other method will work out better for her.

Letting people be free to choose and allowing them to make decisions and mistakes...is very educational and liberating. MUCH less anger and frustration between loved ones too.

Always be ready with a helping hand for someone you care about...IF THEY ARE RECEPTIVE...otherwise, live and let live.

Also have teenagers...

Nicely put

And good advice for all of us parents

For Freedom!
The World is my country, all mankind is my brethren, to do good is my religion.

^^^I agree 100%^^^

Natural consequences are the best teachers. For example, my children participate in Scouts and they got lazy about making the meetings. (They would go 3 weeks and then take week off.) I would just let them, no fighting, just okay if that's what you think is best. Well, they showed up after missing a week and found out all their friends had moved up in rank and had been assigned to a different patrol. They were heartbroken but they learned the hard way not to miss meetings. After the meeting they explained to me what had happened (they were embarrassed)and asked for my help, so I offered my advice. Go talk to your Scoutmaster and find out what you can to do to get caught up with your patrol. They tried to get me to talk to him for them but I gave them two choices. Either man up, talk to him yourself and work something out or accept being in the crappy patrol. In the end, they worked hard, got caught up and learned more from their consequences than they would've if I had forced them to go.