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15barcam's avatar

How can I tell my parents that they are pushing me too hard?

Asked by 15barcam (721 points ) July 24th, 2011

I started playing volleyball this year. I am actually REALLY good for playing for a short while, but I am still behind because many kids have been playing for many years. I work extremely hard, considaring I go to volleyball camps every week and I go to all the summer practices at school, I work out, and I have lessons each week with a family friend. The problem is that my parents are trying to get me to do even MORE practices at this open gym thing. I want to get better, but I’m exaughsted as it is. How can I tell my parents that they are expecting me to do more then I can tolerate without them getting disappointed? They are extremely sensitve and don’t seem to get how busy my summer is at the moment. They tell me I’m lazy when I tell them I’m tierd. They love me and want me to do my best, but they just don’t get that there is a limit. Any suggestions on how to get them to understand?

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19 Answers

dannyc's avatar

I really respect this question and sympathize with you. Show them this question, and the answers posted here, and if they are the parents you think they are, I would bet they will understand. You will not have to say anything after the great responses you will be given.

snowberry's avatar

Talk to your coach. Lay out all the stuff you have done/are doing to fill your days, from the beginning of Volleyball on until now. Tell them what your parents are saying and ask them to weigh in.

woodcutter's avatar

They are going to make you a winner in this life. Competition is how that is instilled in people while they are still young. There are kids who are mostly ignored and left to themselves with video games and not much social interaction and these people tend to not do as well and end up living with their parents well into their 30’s

wundayatta's avatar

Is this a cultural thing? There are sports parents that really push their children mercilessly. This can result in star athletes. Also, a lot of time, parents of Asian ancestry push their kids much harder than American parents do. This is usually academically, though. If your parents are like that, it can be very difficult to get them to see you have too much on your plate. They’ll have very high expectations of you, and they won’t let you slack off.

If you do want to slack off—and apparently just stopping the one thing will be seen as slacking off—you run the risk that they will lose faith in you, and they will try to run all kinds of guilt trips on you. You’ll either give in, or they might just stop caring about you.

They think you can handle it. They probably think you don’t need any time for yourself. They might think Facebook is a stupid thing. A waste of time. As are many other things. They’ll want you to focus on one thing and not fool around with anything else. They may see this as a ticket to college—if you can get a scholarship.

You might have to have a nervous breakdown, or break a leg or arm or something. An injury might get their attention. Otherwise, you could try talking to them, but they’ll probably push away any argument you can make. Sometimes you just have to go with the program. Sorry. I wish I had better suggestions.

greenergrass's avatar

I completely understand where you’re coming from so here’s what I would say:

1. Talk to them. If you don’t communicate – they won’t know. And though the message you’re trying to get across may hurt their feelings, your feelings are going to keep getting hurt if you don’t speak up. Don’t be mean about it, be straightforward and tell them that you are on their page, but need them to lighten the load.

2. Have you ever thought that they know how good you are, and how much talent you have, and have only been pushing you because they know how strong you are. I had this situation with my parents – they would be hard on me about my grades, but as I aged, I realized that they only did it because they knew how well I could do, and were disappointed when they saw me stop trying, or not work as hard as I knew I could.

Good luck – happy fluthering!

Pandora's avatar

Tell your parents that you really enjoy volleyball but that all the pressure they are putting on you is taking the joy out of playing. Explain that you know they are only doing their best in trying to support you by offering all these opportunities but you need time to unwind so you can play your best and not be tired by the time competition rolls around.
I’m sure they will understand. They may not realize how much pressure you are feeling. Sometimes parents forget that young people aren’t limitless in their energy and just like adults they need down time.
Let them know that you are not looking to quit, you just need a vacation like everyone else. I wish you luck. It certainly does sound like a lot.

rooeytoo's avatar

When my dad was 15 he worked full time on his dad’s farm all summer and after school in the winter. When I was 15 I had a full time job and played sports every evening and wished I could have played all day. And I would have loved to have any kind of coaching because when I was a kid organized sports for females was not very prevalent. I learned on my own without instruction.

I think you are lucky to have the opportunity to play and receive coaching so I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for your plight. Unless you are training more than 8 hours a day 4 or 5 days a week, I would think your exhaustion is more mental than anything else. Did you ever hear Will Smith talk about the little man in your head who tells you that you can’t do it??? It is a good thing to hear.

blueberry_kid's avatar

I have played volleyball for 6 years, and it’s an amazing sport. Not sure why you don’t like it!
Im just kidding. Just talk to your parents. Really have a canversation with them, sit down with them and really tell them how you feel. And don’t stop there, talk to your coach as well. If it’s that much of a bother, you need to talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to let someone know your sick of all the pressure.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Do you have another adult relative you are close to? Or an adult family friend you know and who your parents respect and acknowledge? If so, go to them and explain your situation——tell him/her exactly what you said here, and then ask the person to help you explain to your parents that you are not lazy, that you are actually working extremely hard to please them. Sometimes it takes a “go between” to mediate things between a child and the parents, and in your case an adult family friend or relative that your parents respect and trust would be an influential person who can “sway” your parents to see things your way. If there’s no adult relative or family friend you can go to, try asking a respected teacher or your school counsellor to talk to your parents. And it would be good if you can all be together when the discussion takes place.

You say your parents love you and want you to do your best. If they do, I’m sure they would listen if you had the extra support of someone else they love and/or respect.

@wundayatta makes an interesting point. Is it a cultural thing? I am Asian and my parents were just like yours——they pushed me hard not just academically, but with extra-curricular activities too. I disliked it immensely at the time, but looking back now, it actually made me into a better person, instilling in me great discipline and a good work ethic. Sometimes it just got too much, and when it did, I always had a frank talk with my parents——I purposely set aside time alone with them for that purpose, at the dinner table after supper, and told them about my frustration and exhaustion. I’d go tell my uncle, who then would relay my message to my parents, and then we would have a meeting. This usually worked to my advantage.

I suggest you show your parents your question here on Fluther and the comments we have given you. If they saw this, then perhaps they would “see” just how upset and affected you are by this. Good luck. ;)

JLeslie's avatar

I am hearing that you feel physically exhausted, or am I misenterpreting that?

Talk to them calmly when they are not suggesting more volleyball. A neutral time where it does not become a power struggle of them saying they are signing you up for more volleyball and you arguing you don’t want to. Present all the things you are doing already for volleyball as you did here, maybe actually write it down. Tell them you are physically very tired, and think doing more will actually hamper your game. If you can suggest something productive to do instead of the additional volleyball they want to sign you up for that might be good. something not physical, like reading to keep up with your studies over the summer.

People mentioned cultural issues, what I wonder is are your parents go go go all the time people themselves? Never sit still? Come home from work, go to the gym, clean the house, everything in order, everything perfect, push push push themselves? If so, they probably will have trouble understanding wanting to just relax. This cam happen in any culture. Some people just have more energy than others.

Also, if you think you are much more tired than your friends you might want to get your thyroid checked, but it does not sound like you are really having trouble, it sounds more like your parents are loading on a lot. Still, I have a friend whose husband was pushing and pushing her oldest son, and in the end the kids thyroid was underactive and the step dad felt awful, considering he is a doctor, and not to mention my friend has a thyroid problem.

poisonedantidote's avatar

If your parents still have control over you, meaning you are not 18, then I have to agree with them that there is no limits and you are being lazy… hear me out.

I’m 28 years old, and recently started trying to get in shape again. I used to do martial arts and body building when I was younger, but quit for a few years. Anyway, at 28 I have limits, I discovered this the other day after I did 60 minutes of leg exercises, and my body forgot how to walk up stairs because my muscles were a mess. When I was 15, this did not happen, when I was 15 I could do an hours karate, two hours gym, finish it off with an hours swimming, and leave the complex with the urge to eat a mars bar and go running and cycling.

As you get older, physical activity will get harder. Look at everything your parents have done, and realize that for them and their age, it requires much more energy for them to do that than for you to play voleyball all day.

Pick a day and a half off during the week, and just accept you have to keep pushing the rest of the week. You will thank me in 10 years time.

Take a look at this other answer of mine to see that I’m being honest and not just siding with your parents.

john65pennington's avatar

Dear Mom and Dad. First, I love you both very much. I love volleyball and I give it my best each and every day. I want you to be proud of me, but there are just so many hours in a day. I am not lazy, it’s just that my body is tired from all the practicing and I hope you understand this.

When you were my age, did you expel all your energy on one subject? If so, you should understand how I feel about too much volleyball practice. I would like to have some of my personal time to be with my friends.

Mom and dad, you both are great parents to me and I respect this.

I just need some downtime, away from volleyball, and to re-establish my connections with my friends.

Please try to understand my side of volleyball and not yours.

Sincerely, your loving daughter.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

I must say I really respect this question as well. I wish I had been so insightful myself once upon a time. It’s not just Asian parents believe me ;) mine can vouch for that.
I feel like I was pushed beyond my limits most of my life thus far. I’ll explain. My parents expected a ton from me and still do. I do feel that their expectations have led me to do great things. However, at some point you need to ask who you’re really trying to please. The smart thing you bring up is the part I never even thought of. “too hard” or like when is enough just ‘enough’ is how I took that. . I was a competitive gymnast from 3–13 (spending more time at the gym than home or school combined) in addition to being a competitive swimmer, diver, student, girl scout, sister, friend etc. with a 4.0 and 2 jobs! I am terrible at saying no and my parents were the last ones I would want to let down. I later realized that we valued very different things in life. I was very social and they didn’t see that so much as a ‘priority’ in their plan for me. I was often overworked, tired, and lonely (because while I was busy at the gym my friends were having lives being kids) – with straight a’s and a bunch of ribbons and trophies but no time to do anything else. I had crazy amounts of stress and not much down time in my opinion. I feel like if I had approached them with a concern about possibly taking some things off my plate they might have listened. I’m not saying they would have allowed me to just quit things either but if you brought a valid concern to them and presented your side I bet it couldn’t hurt. I’m sure if I’d been thinking that way I could have prevented a nervous breakdown and a hospital stay. You know yourself and your limits. Your parents care about you and may not even know how you feel.

JLeslie's avatar

Let’s all remember the OP is not asking to get out of volleyball altogether, or to sit around doing nothing all day.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks for the reminder.

Neurotic_David's avatar

So, the first thing you need to realize is your parents are scared. They’re scared of making a mistake in parenting. They think that if they make the wrong move, you’ll develop into an ill-adjusted malcontent who listens to Barbara Streisand all day while plotting murder. (And I know you dont know who Barbara Streisand is, but trust me kid, that was the worst part of your parents’ nightmare scenario.)

You need to use their insecurity against them.

Maybe tell them that youve decided to drop everything for volleyball. Tell them you were thinking of law school or medical school, but now you see theyre right and volleyball is more important, so youre going to spend a lot more time practicing volleyball (because there’s a real future in it, right?) and no more time on silly, unimportant dreams like bring a lawyer or doctor. Thank them for showing you this, and then leave.

Reverse psychology, see? You can customize the above to whatever achieves maximum manipulation of their fears.

JLeslie's avatar

Barbra Streisand is part of a parent’s nightmare scenerio?

The reverse psychology is funny. I like it.

Neurotic_David's avatar

@JLeslie im a Jew who loves Babs. Im allowed to make the joke :)—

blueiiznh's avatar

GQ!!!

This is certainly a fine balance to play out. Your parents want the best for you, yet parents at times only keep the eye on the prize.

Their level of push/nurture should also vary depending on the age of the child. I am unsure how old you are so I will only be general.

Parents role should be to support and help keep you focused on becoming the fine person you are. To better your future and to protect and guide you. All at the same time allowing you freedom to spread your wings and learn how to make decisions and learn by those decisions. They certainly can’t make all the choices, but at times it may seem like that. It is a tricky juggling act.

From a coaches perspective and a parents perspective, there is a point when you can get burned out. You are the only one that can determine what your drive is on doing this.
Off Season is a time to keep skills fresh and recover. During the season, a few practices a week in addition to the game schedule is all one can ask for. If you can and want to do more that is an indication that your drive for the sport or activity comes from within and I applaude you for that.
If you are not doing the minimum that the coach or schedule asks of you, then it would be that you are unhappy and not interested.
It sounds like you are interested yet are being driven harder. This can cause resentment and burnout.
However, first and foremost is your academics. The school and your parents should have a policy regarding this because you can excel all you want, but if your grades are bad, then in the end it doesn’t matter.
Maybe you are a bit burnt out because of all you are doing and the pressure. Maybe you should take this time before school kicks in again to set some goals for the school year both academically and extracurricular.
Have an open supportive conversation with your parents first. Ensure they understand your feelings and how all this fits. Maybe there is something that each side of you don’t understand.

I am a parent of a very active daughter and admit sometimes I may push a bit hard. I need the feedback in order to adjust. I have tried to give my daughter an exposure and experience to many diverse things knowing some will stick and others will fall off. But there is still much that can be learned when you do things that you find out you just don’t like to do.
There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself, or getting guidance or motivation from your parents.

Check back in on how things go as I am interested in what happens.

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