Sidelines

Your kid is the best athlete among his peers. He’s head and shoulders above, actually. You were the best athlete throughout school; so was your spouse. It is, therefore, your kid’s birthright to be the best.

It’s so frustrating when he’s not given the playing time he deserves. Why should he, a superstar, sit on the bench while that other kid who missed so many practices get to be out there? And it’s completely irrelevant that your kid lost the last five face-offs he was in. The sun was in his eyes. He didn’t get enough sleep. He was thrown off because of the argument at breakfast table that morning. The other team was older and bigger. The kid on your team who won his face-offs–that’s irrelevant. He was lucky. Besides, he got more playing time than your kid, so of course he’s had more experience. The point is, it’s not fair.

Your kid gets knocked over all the time because the other team knows they have to cover him.  If they didn’t knock him down, he’d do serious damage.

During the game, you’re seething on the sidelines. You question every call, because the ref is targeting your kid. He probably thinks he’s making things fair for the other team, to make calls against your kid, but does he stop to think it’s not fair to your kid?

During the car ride home, you and your spouse bitterly recount the ways in which your kid was unfairly treated. The injustices. The ironies. The moronic calls. The coach’s favoritism. Next year, you swear, you’re moving him to the other town’s team. They’d be lucky to have him.

Your kid learns from you how unfair the world is. How much he deserves, and how outrageous it is that the coaches don’t recognize it. He learns that he should be bitter and angry at his teammates who are given playing time that should rightfully be his, while he rots on the bench. He learns that he should look for explanations like favoritism when things don’t go his way. He learns that it’s definitely not his fault.

As a parent, it’s your job to show him how to deal with disappointment.

 

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