Conversation, ideas and events for parents in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County

I feel like a tyrant. A few days ago my ex and I attended our parent/teacher conference for our oldest son. Needless to say, the news wasn't good; he's failing science, and is barely managing a C in English/Language Arts. This is elementary school, but nonetheless, as this is fifth grade, and next year he will move to middle school, the marks he recieves are somewhat crucial.

He plays fall ball on Santa Rosa Westside Little League, and is developing into a fairly good baseball player, although he still seems afraid to swing or get hit by the pitch, and mostly goes up the plate hoping to get walked (he loves fielding and likes to run the bases). I figure that's something else he has to overcome, but for now his schooling is the ultimate priority. That is to say, I'm not doing this because of how he's playing, I'm doing it because baseball, and to a smaller degree, videogames, is all the kid really cares about.

So what am I doing? I'm "suspending" him from the final three games of Fall Ball, and whether or not he plays regular season ball is incumbent on his grades improving during the year. And I know he cares about the former a lot, because I've never seen him so dejected and sad than when he learned his season is over.

The reasoning I gave him and his coach was not much diffrent from the treatement he would get at the intramural or collegiate level either; if you fail to maintain academic standards, you aren't eligible to play.

But that doesn't make me feel any better. I feel like the most evil dad in the world. Am I alone?


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My son is in 6th grade, and his interests fall in the same categories - baseball and videogames. The videogames have become his main passion. As a result, my normally smart and bright boy has been coming home with grades that are going downhill and he has little drive to do much else than stay in his room all day. He recently had to move schools, leaving behind all his friends. The videogames became all the more crucial to him so he could stay in contact with all of his old friends. I let this go on for awhile, feeling bad for the kid. But it got old really quick when he was unable to do anything else, wasn't even trying to make new friends, and was going into a spiral of depression. So I took the games away. And yes, I did feel like a bad mom for awhile there, knowing that I had just stripped my son from all communication from his old friends by taking away the games. But in the long run, it was the best thing I could do. After a few weeks, my son finally made a few friends and started hanging out at their homes (um, probably playing videgames, but whatever). And now that he has his games back, he's agreed to some pretty strict guidelines until his report comes back with better grades.

Long story long, sometimes we have to do things that our kids hate to make things better for them in the long run. It might seem harsh to your kid, your kid's coach, or whoever. But YOU are the parent, and your job is to raise a future adult, not to make sure he plays his last three baseball games. You're teaching him a lesson he isn't likely to forget, and he'll be a better person in the long run for it (even if he "hates" you in the short term).

I applaud your decision. I totally get what you're feeling. But what you did makes you a good parent. :-)

Thanks :-) I feel a little better.


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