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Should I hold my child back in school to excel in sports?

Question

We are a family that loves sports, and we are very hopeful our three young children will be actively involved in athletics throughout their lives.  Our six-year-old is in kindergarten and his teachers report that he is well advanced academically and emotionally for his age.

It’s not unusual in our community for parents to retain their kids to give them an extra year of growth to help them athletically.  Is there any scientific information that this hurts a child?

Answer

For a child who is already advanced for his age, how do you intend to place his brain on hold for one year?  Do you intend to offer him supplemental educational experiences throughout his school career?

I understand that this practice of “redshirting” young children is becoming more common in some areas, but I unaware of any scientific studies that have followed these kids for many years to see how they turn out. However, I have many concerns about this practice.  You are exposing your child to the risks of being bored academically and not fitting in socially with his peers. Are these disadvantages worth whatever physical benefits he may gain from being held back a year?

Your letter is troublesome at so many levels.  I do wonder what will happen if any of your kids decide that athletics are really not for them!

Question

I’ve always had an amazingly open relationship with my kids, but my 14 year-old daughter recently asked how old I was when I first had sex. I was very young when I became sexually active, and I’m afraid that telling her that will either give her permission to become sexually active or cause her to think badly of me. I avoided her question initially but I know I’ll get it again.

Answer

You are entitled to your privacy. A question asked does not have to be a question answered. Simply tell your daughter that you understand her natural curiosity but that you would prefer to keep your sexual behavior private. I’m sure that you respect her right to keep some issues confidential and you intend to do the same.

Question

How can I make my 14 year-old clean his room?  He is an honor student, great with his younger brothers and sister, active in our church, and is well liked by teachers and other students at school. However, his room is a disaster. He washes his own clothes and is always neat and clean in his appearance, but I cannot tolerate his room!

Answer          

I suspect that over 99% of the readers of this column are ready to trade their kids for your son! Take pride in raising such an amazing young man, and ignore such a minor issue as a messy room.

 

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