Alex's Answer

Worried about summer sailing course

Your Question

i have to do a sailing course this summer i am very worried about it. i am 13 years old and i have ben doing the course since i was 7. my mum did it when she was young as well and she wants me to be an instructor just like she was.i hate how out of control you feel in a boat and how you cant just stop and take a break half way. last year i pretended a part of my boat was broken so i got to sail with another person. this course is 2 weeks long and you have to sail on your own. anytime i try to talk to my mum about it she just says its booked and theres nothing i can do about it what should i do


Hi there, 

Welcome to Ask Alex. Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate it’s not always easy to ask for support but it’s important for you to get the help you need.  

You have told us that you have been doing a sailing course since you were 7 and that Mum has booked you on a course as she wants you to become an instructor like she was, and that you are worried about it. We’re wondering whether this is about you feeling anxious about the course or that you simply do not want to continue to learn to be an instructor like your Mum was and feel a lot of pressure to do so. Doing things we don’t want to can create a state of anxiety in us but on the flip side, sometimes our anxieties can get in the way of us doing the things we enjoy.  

It might be worth trying to calmly talk to your mum again and be really honest about how your anxiety regarding the course is affecting you and how you feel about sailing. Your needs should be just as legitimate and valid as your mum’s and you have a right to be heard and respected. A respectful, honest conversation might help you both to understand more clearly from each other’s perspective and may help you to come to a mutual agreement that works for both of you. Parents have their own reasons for pushing us. Your mum may believe she’s acting in your best interests and might not realise how much your anxiety about it is affecting you.  

From what you’ve written it doesn’t seem like you enjoy sailing due to feeling out of control when you’re on the water.  It might be worth considering if there’s anything you do enjoy about sailing?  Is it the sailing or feeling out of control that is driving you? That you got to the point where you felt you needed to pretend your boat was broken so you didn’t have to sail on your own gives the impression that being on your own in a boat creates a lot of anxiety for you. If it is more to do with your anxiety, these links might help The Mental, Physical And Emotional Signs Of Anxiety ( – Childline. Here are some links that may help you to have that conversation with your Mum, How To Set Boundaries In Different Areas Of Your Life ( To Do If Your Parents’ Expectations Are Stressing You Out ( 

It is important to have open and honest conversations about your feelings and seek help from people that can support you, so well done for taking the step and reaching out. Could another family member support you to have this conversation with your mum? Maybe an aunt or uncle, or a grandparent? It might also be worth talking to your course instructor.  

Thank you for your question and if you are not ready to talk to your family yet remember we are here to talk about anything that is going on for you. Childline is here for you anytime you need us, day, and night,  is where you can Live Chat to us and you can call us for free at 1800 66 66 66, for non-judgmental, anonymous support.  

Take care of yourself, and remember, you do not have to go through anything on your own,


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