Every parent wants to support their kid’s dreams, but sometimes we run into situations where we simply cannot. There’s no question I want my 8-year-old son to explore everything he is interested in, but I simply will not let him play wheelchair basketball because he is faking.
When my son, Henry, rolled into the kitchen in a wheelchair that he had pretty clearly stolen, holding an application to join the local youth wheelchair basketball league, I knew I was going to have to disappoint my little angel. As he looked into my eyes, telling me that he wasn’t faking, that he has one of the wheelchair diseases now so he should be able to play wheelchair basketball, it broke my heart to tell him he couldn’t, and that him moving his feet was really undercutting his whole pitch.
It absolutely crushed me, but I stuck to my guns.
I want to support my son’s choices. His life is his own to lead. But I simply cannot allow him, an able-bodied young man who has never even been medically required to use crutches before, wheel up and down the court alongside people with actual disabilities. Every time he rolls out of the house in a huff, complaining that I am being a tyrant, I wonder if I’m a bad mom. But then I see him kicking his sister while he sits in the chair, using her to push off backwards down the street, and I remind myself that I am doing the right thing.
Refusing to let your child play wheelchair basketball because they are faking does NOT make you a bad parent. The fact that Henry could at any moment during a wheelchair basketball game stand up, say, “See you, suckers,” and run out of the gym means that it’s a sport he simply should have no part of.
When we have children, we make a promise to put their needs in front of our own, but that doesn’t extend to letting your liar of a son play wheelchair basketball in a wheelchair he ran off with from a nursing home or other medical facility in dire need of it. I want nothing more than to see Henry win championships if that’s where his passion lies, but for only regular basketball or any other sport that requires or at least acknowledges his two working legs. That’s hard to say as a mother, but it is just the right thing to do when your son is faking being paralyzed from the waist down so he can play wheelchair basketball.