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How do I help?
Old 11-09-2017, 07:41 PM
  #1

I have an 8 year old son. He's an only child and is smart, kind and generous. He is not great with athletics, but loves to play basketball. He's lucky enough to have a coach who fosters good sportsmanship, being a team player and teaches fundamental skills. The team had their first practice tonight. DS was nervous, but excited to see his teammates again this year. He did ok at practice, not great. When the coach was talking to the team at the end, I saw DS get up to whisper something in the coaches ear. Th coach talked to the team about how teammates don't say mean things about each other. Then the kids ran to their parents to go home. My DS ran to me, sat down next to me, buried is face in my arm and refused to talk for a minute or two. When he finally raised his head, he was tears. His teammate had told him that DS was really terrible at basketball.

Now I know stuff like this is going to happen and DS needs to learn to be confident and not let it get to him. We talked about how he could practice and practice and become the best player he could be, and that the coach is right, teammates help each other.

How do you deal with it when your kids are hurt by others words? DS is a little shy and doesn't like to be the center of attention. This parenting thing......


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I am sorry that happened to your son
Old 11-09-2017, 07:59 PM
  #2

Tell him you are sorry this teammate hurt his feelings.

Encourage him to continue playing because he enjoys the sport.

Play basketball with him at home and have a good time with him as you enjoy his favorite sport.

If the team he is on gets too competitive try a different team. Maybe at the YMCA?

Encourage him to try different sports and interests so he finds things he enjoys and things he does well.

Maybe take a photo of him playing basketball and frame it for Xmas or birthday. Show him you are proud of his efforts.

Take him to see the Globetrotters perform.

Good luck!
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:16 PM
  #3

Great ideas! This team isn't competitive and the kid who made the comment to my DS is about the same skill level.
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Oh My Goodness
Old 11-09-2017, 08:31 PM
  #4

I guess the other child has an unrealistic view of his own basketball skills. Probably pretty typical for the age.

My son who is an adult now used to say he was going to be a professional basketball player. He grew early and was a really good player in elementary and middle school. But by high school everyone passed him up in height and his "short" career was over in BB. I knew it would happen as I am 5'1" and his dad is 5'9". But I never said a word. A kid needs to have dreams.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:17 PM
  #5

I think what you said to him is perfect as is what you are planning to do! You might also want to tell him if his teammate says that again something else he could do is just outright tell him what he said hurt his feelings and that teammates help each other, not put each other down.

I am glad he is playing and hope he has a great season! Please keep us updated.

Nancy


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PIPs
Old 11-09-2017, 09:28 PM
  #6

PIP stands for players in progress. It is a group that practices basketball drills. My son did that as well in elementary to sharpen his skills. Maybe there is a group close to you where your son could participate.
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bb and kid
Old 11-10-2017, 03:35 AM
  #7

I'm sorry.. Did your son whisper to the coach about that?? Well, that was pretty brave and h stood up for himself in that way. That's commendable. Many kids (like mine) wouldn't have the courage to do that at that young age. When my kids were young, the coach was awesome! He COACHED, regardless of whether it was a real game or not. He gave every kid encouragemen and confidence. I don't think there's another one like him. When parents told him to play the "good" players so they could win, he told the parents he didn't care if they won or not, he wanted every kid to play. Back to your son, can you mention this again to the coach? Every coach at that young age should be teaching them sportsmanship and encouragement to teammates. Maybe he can have a team huddle or something..
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Old 11-10-2017, 06:31 AM
  #8

I disagree. I think itís a reality your son needs to accept that some kids are better players than others. I taught my kids to do their best on every task, try to enjoy it, and to know there will always be someone better than them at the task. I know this sounds harsh, but life isnít perfect and rarely are we gifted in all things. I think youíd be helping your child more by explaining the situation, making sure heís enjoying himself, and giving him a snappy response for the bullies, ďYeah, Iím no Steph Curry but Iím here to learn and have fun.í
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:32 AM
  #9

I would ask questions of my son :

Did the boy's comment make you feel sad?

Do you enjoy basketball?

How did you get the courage to talk to the coach?


Parenting is tough and the job in this instance is one where I encourage my child to attempt to resolve the hurt feelings by talking about them. Your son did that on his own by coming to you and approaching the coach. I would not brush the hurt feelings aside .I see many parents of boys do that . If your son asks for extra practice classes,because it is initiated on his part,I would look for extra basketball clinics. I would not do that if my son did not ask for the clinics.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:42 AM
  #10

I tried to be realistic with my kids. I told them there are always going to be "mean" people in their lives. I gave them examples from my life even as an adult. Then I told them to never let those people stop them from doing what they want to do in life and not let them define who they are.

The sports thing is tough! Unfortunately, growing up is learning is what you are good at and what you are not. Let your son know that if he loves playing basketball and the team is not competitive that he should enjoy it and just focus on improving his skills. Also, emphasize what your child is good at and maybe find other physical activities that your child might enjoy if basketball doesn't seem to work out like martial arts, hiking, climbing, biking, etc...


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Old 11-10-2017, 08:21 AM
  #11

Well, that sucks. But is probably gonna happen. I would focus on teaching him how to deal with that sort of thing, and not let it shake his confidence or his interest in games. The coach telling the kids not to be mean is only going to go so far.

I will tell you my experience with my son, who was also a fairly shy, imaginative only child. He is now 22, and totally NOT shy, and a go-getter who moved to Manhattan, where he also works. BUT he had a hard time in MS and early HS and I consider his involvement in sports to be crucial to how he turned out.

I am a single parent, and there are a lot of women in the family, so DS was surrounded by mostly females, though he is close to my brothers (this happened more so as he got older). I signed him up for EVERYTHING when he was little (soccer, t-ball, tennis, golf, karate, lacrosse, archery) over the course of years. He was not good at anything, or particularly interested in any sports. I am not sporty, at all, but his father (who had issues and who he rarely saw) was a soccer star in his youth, until he started to drink heavily in HS. Anyway, we moved to the town we live in now as he started middle school in 5th grade, and i think it was in 6th grade (maybe 7th) that our neighbor (and his friend) signed up for football. DS decided to, as well. He was anxious before every practice, though, and (I found out later) was afraid of being physically hurt. He was a very creative kid, had an odd sense of humor, and was not confident, and struggled to fit in with our new town. I see now that he saw sports as a way to fit in. So he stuck with it, despite having massive anxiety about it. He was fast, though, and got some good feedback from the coaches, but he was just not that skilled athletically. He got very little time in games, but did start to get to know some of the other boys. I do think he got teased about his lack of ability, too. Anyway, he stuck with football, and started reading Sports Illustrated, and watching football on TV (he then developed a love for the Dallas Cowboys, despite us being in NY - and he is going to see his first Dallas home game this weekend, flying out with his uncle). He also played basketball (not very well) and did track (not a star here, but he was lean and pretty fast, so this was probably his most successful sports foray) in middle school and HS.
There were times that it was painful to see, as I picked him up after foothball practices late MS early HS, when he would walk up from practice all alone, while the other kids were in pairs and groups. He really wanted to fit in and be popular (his father had been very popular and kind of a crazy cool kid in HS and I think he wanted to emulate that). Anyway, he definitely used the sports thing as a way to deal with and build relationships with other boys and men (my brothers, his bosses at work, the kids in his classes). He gradually became more confident and had more friends, and then got into this one guy group of friends that he for whatever reason, really wanted to be with (they are his best home friends still, though they are scattered now after graduating college). He stopped football in early HS but kept up with track and did rec basketball. Junior year, he came home and announced that he had joined the wrestling team - never having wrestled a day in his life before. He knew he was going to suck, at first, at least, but did not care. He liked the tough workout they did and man, did he get muscular during that time. He lost every match for most of his first year in wrestling, but kept at it and his coaches encouraged him to come back senior year. He did, and he was so much better by the end, winning some matches. After his last, his coach said to me, "I wish we'd gotten a hold of him a few years earlier!" At the end of their HS career, he and his group were in the media class and made these films. DS's friends were all really good at sports, and even in the films, he was playing with them but sucked and they made fun of him, but it was more good-natured and he just laughs.

In college, he didn't play anything for the school but played on a rec football team, and often played squash or basketball with the guys. He also runs and bikes now, and is in good shape.

I guess my point is, from my son's experience, sports really helped him become more confident, and to fit in with the men in his life, and the boys he wanted to be friends with. He is still not very good at anything, but he doesn't care, it's more for recreation, socializing, and exercise. I guess I would say, encourage your son to keep trying, and to practice and get better, and to realize, not everyone is going to be good at every sport, but if he goes out and tries, and has fun and makes friends, it will be worth it. (I am not saying sports is the only way to do this. Other kids find their niche elsewhere, like theatre or band, or art.) Just for my DS and his situation, sports was it for him.
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Old 11-10-2017, 03:25 PM
  #12

I'm sorry that his teammate said something mean to your son. I like that you emphasized to him that the way to improve in basketball is to practice a lot. In watching my DD in sports, there is almost always someone better than her. Often there are people that are worse than she is. In situations where she's happened to be the best on the team, she's usually picked to move up to a more challenging team where bam! She's not the best on her team anymore.
My two cents, for what they're worth. How to help him is to avoid the comparisons with other kids (either for you or for himself). Focus on whether he enjoys the activity and under what circumstances. On a personal note, now that DD's cross country season ended, I've found she enjoys running with her friends 100,000% over running by herself. Once you've found what circumstances he enjoys the sport, encourage him to practice on his own and try to improve himself because he enjoys it.
Truth is apparently you can't protect kids from every unkindness so focus on ways to help him deflect it.
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Old 11-10-2017, 05:24 PM
  #13

Thanks for the input. I donít want to coddle DS and want him to understand that just because a kid says something mean doesnít mean that itís true and that he can always improve. I just hate seeing him hurt. I want to toughen him up but make sure he can handle it.
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