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Should I have my son quit a sport


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Long story, but will try to be brief!

Mom and I are divorced.  Son just turned 12 

mom moved away when he was 8 and returned at 10.  We have 50/50 custody. 

when she moved we started tennis. Child became obsessed. And still is.  
 

For the past 3 years this has basically been what son and I do with most of our time.  It’s his social and athletic outlet.  He is one of the top players in the state and country for his age. 
 

However his behavior is atrocious on the tennis court.  He has a perfectionist attitude, and gets frustrated and mad if he even misses in practice.  He does this while doing anything competitive.  ping pong. Soccer. Cards etc. 
 

this leads to me losing my Cool at times. Coaches have tried to help him.  But when he plays at tournaments he now yells at me from the court.  Telling me to leave!  Or says I should cheer more.  Or is mad if I am not watching.  He embarrasses me. Embarrassed himself.  Poor sportsmanship.  
 

this also makes him play worse, and his behavior seems to be getting worse. 
 

one problem is that mom does not even let him play at all.  So this is a source of frustration for him.  She has another child and that child seems to take precedence. 
 

It’s a situation where he talks about playing college tennis, is the hardest worker around, has talent, but always seems mad when actually playing!

it’s hard to get through to him, but something needs to change.  Any advice?

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Wiseman2
9 minutes ago, Dad2349 said:

For the past 3 years this has basically been what son and I do with most of our time.  It’s his social and athletic outlet.  He is one of the top players in the state and country for his age. One problem is that mom does not even let him play at all.  

Sorry this is happening. It's good he has an outlet, but this is not a tennis issue.

Please take him to a pediatrician for and evaluation of his physical and mental health. Get some tests done. He's in puberty so things are changing for him

. Ask for a referral to a qualified child psychologist and family counselor. He needs objective neutral professionals to perhaps unpack and sort out some things.

Unfortunately he seems to have anger and frustration issues, but see what's underlying it before it gets worse. Try not to let him get in any crossfire between you and his mother. Be neutral in that regard.

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I remember you and your son and your ex and the tennis from before.   

As this behaviour isn't just apparent with tennis,  I agree with Wiseman that he needs to see a child psychologist so that he can learn to better manage his feelings.  You want to address this before his hormones keep ramping up.   Even as an adult, he'll drive people away if he behaves like this in a friendly game of anything.

Edited by basil67
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Wiseman2
29 minutes ago, Dad2349 said:

One problem is that mom does not even let him play at all.  So this is a source of frustration for him.  She has another child and that child seems to take precedence. 

Is this the same situation?:

 

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Posted (edited)

Yes. Same situation. 
 

he is seeing a court ordered psychologist.  
 

unfortunately was hard to get into, and when mom made appointments she cancelled without telling me.  I kept my appointments but this left large gaps of time in between. 
 

I told the psychologist all of this before. 

Edited by Dad2349
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Is your ex compliant with the therapy bookings now?  If not, you need to report her

what strategies has the psychologist given you for supporting his behaviour?  Is his school on board too?

Edited by basil67
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9 minutes ago, basil67 said:

Is your ex compliant with the therapy bookings now?  If not, you need to report her

what strategies has the psychologist given you for supporting his behaviour?  Is his school on board too?

There really is little “reporting” in actuality.  I will take him to the rest of his appointments. 
 

nk strategies as she is just getting to know him.  School has 1000 kids and he has no issues at school.  

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You said that the therapy is court mandated.  If she's not holding up her end of the deal, then the court needs to know

Does he exhibit problematic behaviours when he's with his mother?

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So should I have a conversation with my son about what the sport takes and step back myself?  Parent more like mom does and just quit the competitive aspect no matter how my son feels about it? 

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13 hours ago, basil67 said:

You said that the therapy is court mandated.  If she's not holding up her end of the deal, then the court needs to know

Does he exhibit problematic behaviours when he's with his mother?

She made and cancelled appointments that disrupted the flow for sure.  The actual steps to “let the court know” are expensive , long, and there definitely would be no recourse.  I don’t know how he acts with his mother.  On my end it is with anything competitive. Other wise no issues. 

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2 hours ago, Dad2349 said:

So should I have a conversation with my son about what the sport takes and step back myself?  Parent more like mom does and just quit the competitive aspect no matter how my son feels about it? 

I believe in natural consequences. 

If you are playing a game with him and he becomes confrontational, I would end the game. Calmly, respectfully - I would state that the expectation is that you will be able to play without anybody yelling or arguing. And then, I’d let him think about that.

As to the sport, I would go as a spectator and not involve myself anymore. He has a coach and team mates to give him feedback on his play and his behavior. I would talk to his coach - tell him that you realize he has poor sportsmanship but your attempts to talk to your son have not gone well. The coach will deal with his behavior on the field. And, the natural consequence is that people won’t want to play with him at a certain point.

If he yelled at me from the court during a game, I would pull him off the court so fast. I’m not going to leave his game, because that sends the wrong message that you do not care. But, I’m certainly not going to sit in the stands while he yells at me from the court - that is not acceptable in any way.

All that said, my absolute priority would be to get him into some intensive counselling programs. I would talk to the counsellor about this issue and decide how best to deal with it. This doesn’t seem to me to be a problem of “poor sportsmanship.” He seems to be taking all his frustrations out on the playing field and that tells me that this young man needs support. Good luck.

Edited by BaileyB
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Pay yourself for a skilled counselor to work on anger issues.

no, he shouldn’t quit a sport he is skilled at - he should learn how to control his behavior and anger. He should learn he is responsible for every action he has.

interview counselors until you find one that will deal with these specific issues. Then make appointments around the schedule/time with his mother.

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31 minutes ago, BaileyB said:

 

As to the sport, I would go as a spectator and not involve myself anymore. He has a coach and team mates to give him feedback on his play and his behavior. I would talk to his coach - tell him that you realize he has poor sportsmanship but your attempts to talk to your son have not gone well. The coach will deal with his behavior on the field. And, the natural consequence is that people won’t want to play with him at a certain point.

 

I think a unique issue is that there are no teammates in tennis.  And nobody has coaches attending tournaments unless very wealthy or a part of some travelling group of kids. 
 

the reason to pull him from the sport would be the frustration he has largely because his mom will not let him play or even talk about it. 
 

so it becomes an endless cycle of trialing like a mad man with me, nothing at moms, then coming back with poor timing, low confidence etc.  and this always frustrates him which I feel leads to his anger issues.  

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Well he sees the therapist this week  

now that I write it out having him quit seems silly   But, perhaps take a break from competitions until he can handle his emotions better  

 

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Wiseman2
1 hour ago, Dad2349 said:

Well he sees the therapist this week 

That's excellent. It seems the war between you and his mother is stressing him out quite a bit. 

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It’s good he will see a therapist. Learning to deal with emotions in a healthy manner is a lifelong skill.

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On 8/28/2023 at 11:00 PM, Dad2349 said:

mom does not even let him play at all.

 

On 8/28/2023 at 11:00 PM, Dad2349 said:

She has another child and that child seems to take precedence. 

 

On 8/28/2023 at 11:45 PM, Dad2349 said:

when mom made appointments she cancelled without telling me.

 

On 8/29/2023 at 3:42 PM, Dad2349 said:

She made and cancelled appointments that disrupted the flow for sure.

 

On 8/29/2023 at 5:05 PM, Dad2349 said:

his mom will not let him play or even talk about it. 

It seems mom is the biggest main issue here.

He has become the scapegoat at her place and he lets out all his frustration from it when he's with you.

She is holding him back and stifling him. 

Unless things change on her side then he will only get worse.

You need to report all this to the courts.

His health and wellbeing are more important than the cost of reporting.

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3 hours ago, JTSW said:

 

 

 

 

It seems mom is the biggest main issue here.

He has become the scapegoat at her place and he lets out all his frustration from it when he's with you.

She is holding him back and stifling him. 

Unless things change on her side then he will only get worse.

You need to report all this to the courts.

His health and wellbeing are more important than the cost of reporting.

This might be a dumb question, but I should email his therapist this? 

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6 minutes ago, Dad2349 said:

This might be a dumb question, but I should email his therapist this? 

I think you  definitely should.

A report from his therapist to the court would help your case allot.

He's is not getting the help he needs with his mother because she doesn't care enough about his health and wellbeing.

He is developing anger issues because of it.

Edited by JTSW
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Wiseman2
12 minutes ago, Dad2349 said:

This might be a dumb question, but I should email his therapist this? 

No. Do whatever is best for your son. And speak to the therapist about your son's feelings and behaviors. Leave your hatred for his mother out of it. In fact it could backfire that you are sustaining this conflict with his mother at his expense.

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11 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

No. Do whatever is best for your son. And speak to the therapist about your son's feelings and behaviors. Leave your hatred for his mother out of it. In fact it could backfire that you are sustaining this conflict with his mother at his expense.

I don’t hate his mom. These are things he expresses to me 

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15 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Leave your hatred for his mother out of it.

He never said anything about hating her.

He pointed out that his son doesn't get what he needs with her.

OP should absolutely have the court ordered therapist submit a report to the court as she is not holding up her end of any agreements.

Edited by JTSW
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On 8/31/2023 at 8:36 AM, JTSW said:

He never said anything about hating her.

He pointed out that his son doesn't get what he needs with her.

OP should absolutely have the court ordered therapist submit a report to the court as she is not holding up her end of any agreements.

Emailed the therapist and no feedback. She met with my son for the 6th time. 
 

sons coach wants to talk to mom and will today.  He never heard anything before like this  and was quite surprised when son told him mom doesn’t let him play. 
 

overall feel bad for my son, but also wonder if being 12 is old enough for him to talk to his mom himself about this?   Should he be more adamant at this age?

Of course can just drop his sport on my end, as it is a lot for me, and realistically he won’t be able to keep up if this continues    And it might be stressful for him to keep having these weekly ups and downs   (playing, having confidence, then no activity, starting over to get timing back)

also, I just get the vibe that the courts and therapists often times do not care, and are more concerned about actual physical things that can be proven. (Parent gets a dui, parents withholds visitation, child support not paid) etc. 
 

 


 

 

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5 minutes ago, Dad2349 said:

I just get the vibe that the courts and therapists often times do not care

Is it possible to see another therapist outside the court ordered therapist?

It might help to get additional evaluations and opinions from a genuine therapist.

He is not getting his needs met with his mother at all.

Could you apply for additional custody?

Edited by JTSW
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4 hours ago, Dad2349 said:

but also wonder if being 12 is old enough for him to talk to his mom himself about this?

No, he is a child. He does not have the communication skills or the conflict resolution skills to even begin to have this discussion with his mother - clearly.

If you can’t negotiate with her, what makes you think he will be able to do so?

4 hours ago, Dad2349 said:

I just get the vibe that the courts and therapists often times do not care, and are more concerned about actual physical things that can be proven.

The courts are considered with child safety and whether parental/child rites are being respected. Whether his mother takes the child to tennis is not the concern of the court. If you were not paying child support or she was denying you access to your child - that would be the concern of the court.

As to the therapist, the therapist’s primary concern is your child. I can imagine that it becomes a difficult dance for the therapist when the parents relationship has broken down to the point that there is as much conflict and as poor communication as there is in this family. In an ideal world, the therapist could perhaps facilitate a discussion between the child and his parents to discuss and resolve the issue, but it doesn’t sound like that’s possible here. Just because the therapist isn’t solving your parenting problems doesn’t mean that they are not supporting your child during this very difficult time… 

 

Edited by BaileyB
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