DR. WALLACE: I just turned 13 years old, and my dad is pressuring me to be an attorney just like him. I’m not sure I want to be an attorney; I’m not sure what I want to be. It seems like being an attorney is a very stressful job, and I’m not sure I want to always be working and away from my family like he is.
But I don’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings or disappoint him either. On the other hand, my mom just always tells me that she wants me to be happy no matter what I choose. But how can I be happy if I disappoint my dad? — Uncertain Future, via email
UNCERTAIN FUTURE: I’m sure being an attorney is a very important career for your father and that he works quite hard at his chosen profession. It’s likely that your father wouldn’t want you to be an attorney also if he didn’t enjoy it or want the best for you.
But the good news for you is that you are the one who will decide what your career will ultimately be.
It is quite common for young teens to be uncertain about what career path they may ultimately seek to pursue. In fact, many teens change their minds about possible careers more than once and even completely reverse ideas they once held when they were younger.
I suggest that you tell your father that you’re open to considering a career as an attorney along with any other careers that you might find interesting as you grow older. You can ask him to show you a few things about his job that can provide you more insight into exactly what he does. This way, no matter what decision you make many years from now, he will always know that you took the time and interest to ask him about his field so that you could understand it better.
Your mother sounds to me like a wise lady. She wants what is best for you in the long run, and that makes perfect sense to me.
Take a good look around at various jobs and professions as you age. Keep an open mind and realize that you will grow into and out of various areas of interest over the next eight to 10 years of your life. In the end, I trust you will make a very good decision, so don’t worry too much about it now at age 13, and please do not feel pressured to do — or not do — anything when it comes to your future work life.
I DON’T WANT TO PLAY HOCKEY
DR. WALLACE: I live in a northern state and have been playing hockey since I was 8 years old. My older brother is a really good player who can skate forwards and backwards at a really fast speed. My father and many of my uncles were really good hockey players too when they were younger. In fact, one of my uncles was a state championship goalie on the team that “won it all” many years ago.
I just started high school and I want to do well and go on to college, but I don’t want to play hockey anymore. I just don’t think it’s what I want to do. My parents don’t understand. They think I should play hockey and do well in school at the same time before I even think about going to college. I feel right now that it’s all just too much for me and I need a break from endless hockey practices and hockey games. How can I explain this to them without upsetting my family? — Ready To Skate off the Ice, via email
READY TO SKATE OFF THE ICE: Explain in full detail to your parents your reasons for not wanting to play hockey any further at this point in your life.
Explain that at this point you feel that your hockey commitment will affect your grades and you’re concerned with getting into a good college.
Be sure to mention that you feel overwhelmed and need to remove something from your busy schedule. It may also soften the shock they will experience by telling them that this decision applies only to the current upcoming season. Mention that you will keep an open mind when next season comes around. And I do suggest that you do just that: Keep an open mind.
You don’t need to make this a permanent decision even if you feel it eventually will be permanent. Just take things one season at a time for now. It would also lessen the sting if you are able to attend a few of your older brother’s games with your family to cheer for him.
I trust your parents will want what is best for you in the long run. Once they see that you are quite serious about your long-term plans, I feel they will support you fully and unconditionally.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.