This week, Friend of a Friend gives advice on how to approach your parents about extending a 9pm curfew, and what to do if you feel like it is too late - and embarrassing - for you to start a new sport

Hi Friend

I am turning 17 soon, and my parents won't extend my curfew past 9pm. It really sucks because most of my fnends only meet up around then, so I miss out on socialising with them. My parents also text me a lot when I'm out, which is annoying. 

How canI show my parents that this affecting my social life, and ask them to let me stay out later? 

Cursed by Curfew


Hi Cursed by Curfew

Most parents enforce a curfew for their children because they think it will keep them out of trouble, and allow them to stay on top of their schoolwork. But as you get older and more responsible, it is natural to want more freedom, especially if it is affecting your social life. 

But first, it is important to show that you are mature enough to earn more trust and freedom by managing your time well and keeping up with schoolwork and any other responsibilities you have.

Then, find a good time to approach your parents about extending your curfew. Start the discussion by trying to understand why they have set the curfew and explain why it is important for you to spend more time with your frinds, when you start negotiating for a later curfew, find a ompromise between what you both want. 

Discuss more rules to address your parents' concerns. You can share your plans with them in advance, so they know where you are and the people you are with. This might also reduce how frequently they text you when you are out. If they worry about your safety, you can agree to text them every half-hour. If they don't want you alk alone at night, you can agree to take a taxi home.

Justify why you deserve the curfew change by reminding them how you've shown your maturity. You can explain that having a later curfew is also good practice because you will soon become an adult and might start university. When you live on your own, you will need to maintain your own schedule and take care of yourself if you are out late for classes or social events. 

If your parents agree to your request, keep your word, and don't push their terms - otherwise, you could lose their trust. Observe the curfew because this will show that you are responsible and can manage your time well. Even if something unexpected comes up that causes you to be late, give your parents a heads up, so they won't worry.

Best of luck, Friend of a Friend


Hi Friend

What is a sport I can start playing at 16? I feel like it is hard to join things now because I am too old, and I would feel like a failure playing on a team with others who have already been training for years.

Unsatisfied Bench Warmer 


Hi Unsatisfied Bench Warmer

With the Olympics going on, the fear of being too old to start a new sport makes sense when you are watching Olympians who began training as toddlers. But there are also athletes who only began playing their sport as teenagers. And many athletes who start when they can barely form sentences do not get to choose which sport they play and sometimes resent it for years. Now that you are older, you can pursue a sport out of your own passions.

But before we discuss what sport you should choose, it is important to talk about your fear of feeling like a failure.

Many people share your worry that eryone else is watching and judging them when they have done something embarrassing. In psychology, this is called the "spotlight effect" - when we overestimate how much others pay attention to our actions. It feels like onstantly being under bright stage Iights, when in reality most people around us are not our audience - they are just living their own lives. 

The spotlight effect provokes anxiety and self-conscious thoughts. And it is exaggerated in potentially embarrassing situations - like when you want to start a sport but feel like everyone else is already miles ahead.

When we're anxious. we tend to focus our attention on ourselves, so our brain assumes others are also focused on us. But our perceptions do not always match what is happening In reality. Here are some things you can try doing to ease your anxiety and find a sport to start playing:

  1. Find a beginner buddy: Haing a friend to practise with will make the experience less daunting. Not only can you share your worries, but you can also motivate each other to train. 
  2. Choose a sport that suits your needs and interests: Some sports are definitely more accessible than others. Gymnastics, ice skating and fencing, for example, require expensive facilities, equipment and coaching, whereas you can train for running, skateboarding, basketball or football using cheaper equipment and public facilities.
  3. Pay attention to your emotions: As you begin competing against other people, be aware of signs of anxiety, such as excessive sweating, tense muscles, and obsessive thoughts about how others preceive you. When that happens, step away and take a breath. 

Remember to fous on what is true. Facing setbacks is normal, especially as a beginner, and challenges help you improve. At the end of the day, sports are also a great way to relax and build friendships. So be engaged in the game, and enjoy the moment. 

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend

These questions were answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under their "Shall We Talk" initiative, jointly organised with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health. 
Source: Young Post