A love of sport has kept them fo­cused

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

BrBothe­hersrs Broth­ers Jack, Ja­cack, k, Billill and and­n­dand BrBrand­n­dy­nan­dyn Brand­n­dynyny ScSchuetet­zSchuetz loveloloveve sport;port;t; and andnd and right,right, rigightht, with par­entsp pararenents LaLa Laura au­ru­rura and and Serge. SeSer­grge.g e Pic­tures:s: Justin JuJustsinin Lloyd aura and Serge Schuetz are used to the raised eye­brows they get when they tell peo­ple they have three teenage sons. Rais­ing teenagers, es­pe­cially boys, is viewed as an ac­tiv­ity wor­thy of a brav­ery medal and of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by sym­pa­thetic smiles and a re­as­sur­ing pat on the back.

The north­ern beaches cou­ple say par­ent­ing boys Jack, 19, Billy, 17, and Bran­dyn, al­most 13, has pre­sented chal­lenges, but claim a care­ful bal­ance of laugh­ter, friend­ship and tough love, when it’s needed, has made the job more than re­ward­ing.

“I al­ways tell the boys I am not their best friend, I am their mother,” Laura says. “I love them and I love spend­ing time with them, they re­ally make me laugh and keep me young.

“They are pretty good kids, but there have been times when they have stuffed up and Serge and I are more than happy to jump in and play bad cop when we have to. There have al­ways been con­se­quences to their be­haviour and they know it.”

Laura says the thing that has kept her sons fo­cused through their teenage years is a love of sport. “The boys have all played footy pretty much since they were four,” Laura says. “When Billy got to 15 he de­cided he didn’t want to play footy any more, and that was fine, but I told him he had to do some kind of sport. So he took up mar­tial arts.

“I think sport is so im­por­tant for boys, par­tic­u­larly as they en­ter the teenage years. It’s given my boys self-es­teem and it’s im­por­tant for young boys to feel good about them­selves. Sport also gives them good net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in that they get to make friends out­side of school. Sadly, I’ve seen a lot of boys over the years drift away from sports and be­come de­railed.”

Laura says she and Serge had tack­led the teenage years in much the same way they had the other stages of grow­ing up — with a good dose of laugh­ter and a united par­ent­ing front.

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