Dear Bentley

In this column, Brookside’s mascot, Bentley, barks out some advice to students!

Dear Bentley,
I play sports year around.  I am a competitive kid and I  play on a team in the fall, in the winter, and in the spring.  Sometimes I play on two teams during one season.  In the summer, I go to sports camps and clinics.  As I get more homework, I am finding it hard to balance my school work, my practice schedule, and the time to just hang out with my friends. My mom and dad love to watch my games, my coaches count on me, and since sports come easy to me, I am a good teammate.  I like all the sports I play, but I am getting burnt out.  Secretly, I want to give up one of my teams without disappointing anybody.   Do you have any tips as to how I break the news to my parents that I want a break?
Sports Overload

Dear Sports Overload,

I can completely relate to your situation. I know you probably do not want to drop a team because they rely on you, but sometimes you have to put yourself first so you can accomplish what you want like spending more time with friends. What I would suggest is that you cut down to one team per season to reduce your playing time to help you get less burnt out. Pick a team you are relatively new to and one to which you don’t have the strongest connection so you aren’t giving up on a team you are really tied to.  Some benefits of that is that you can get a chance to focus on one team a season so your mind isn’t on multiple teams at the same time. Also, you can get a chance to spend more time with friends and do well on your homework. Don’t worry about breaking the news to your parents, as I’m sure they would understand because they want the best for you. Your coaches would also want the best for you–even if it means dropping their team. I really hope this will help with clearing up your schedule and help you focus on what’s important.


Dear Bentley,
All of my friends have phones, and have had them forever. Some are even talking about getting the new iPhone 6. My parents still think I’m too young to have my own phone. I am practically the only kid at Brookside without one. What should I do?
Communication Challenged

Dear Communication Challenged,
I understand your problem. First of all, although you may feel like it, you are definitely not the only person in your grade without a phone. I know, you still want one. You might try to talk with your parents, and set a goal. You could try negotiating with your parents. For instance, if you do a certain amount of chores each week, you will be able to purchase a phone when you have earned enough money. You could also try working with your parents to determine a certain age that you both agree on that makes sense for you to have a phone. Good luck, and remember, you are not alone!

Dear Bentley,
I think I might like a boy I met this summer. It doesn’t really matter though because my father told me that i am not allowed to date until I am 30 years old (practically a senior citizen). Is he for real? How do I handle this?
Thanks Dad

Dear Thanks Dad,
You should literally thank your dad! He’s trying to protect you.Maybe 30 is a little much, but here are some ways how you can get your dad (or mom) to loosen the reins the little bit:
Tell your parents you want to talk privately with them–no siblings involved–and be straightforward about everything. Don’t beat around the bush.
Rather have an electronic convo? Write an email or text. Try “Hey Mom (or Dad), I want to talk to you about dating.”
Wanna know some things you shouldn’t do?
-Go behind their backs
-Whine and beg
-Be rude

Dear Bentley,
I am shy, or that is what my mom tells me. I think I have some great ideas, but I am petrified to raise my hand when I am in class. Even when we work in groups, I get a bit weird when my friends or classmates start babbling about their thoughts. Is there any hope?
Sincerely, Tongue Tied

Dear Tongue Tied,
Most people can relate to your situation. Many kids and adults all over the world have this same problem, but there is hope. Your mind is a powerful thing, and so if you let it think that you are shy, then you will be. On the other hand, if you tell yourself that you are confident in your ideas, it will be easier to talk to people and raise your hand in class. One suggestion that you can try when you are in groups is to focus on talking to one person, so that you are not overwhelmed by talking to everyone. Another suggestion would be to set a goal for yourself to raise your hand in class and participate at least once in a day. You will find that once you start participating, it will become easier each time you talk to your friends and classmates. It is difficult, but you can do it if you try hard.

Dear Bentley,
I have never considered myself to be popular, but I do have tons of friends. There are a couple of girls I used to call my “BFF’s” when I was at Hillside. We are still really close, but I like to spend time with other groups of kids too. Lately my “BFF’s” have been getting mad at me when I sit with my other friends during lunch. I am not sure how to handle this dilemma. Sincerely, Friends or Foes

Dear Friends or Foes,
Don’t worry, you are not alone. This happens to many people your age. These are the years you find out which friends are true friends. When you find a true best friend, this friend will truly stick with you through arguments and personal problems. It is good you are finding new groups of friends. If you find yourself having issues with your one group of friends, you can always talk to your new friends. Try saying, “I want to continue being friends with you guys, but I want to expand and be friends with other people too.”

Leave a Reply