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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DS is 6 and enrolled in soccer.

I strongly feel that he benefits from sports to channel all of his energy. He’s also a high-needs child, and my hope is that the discipline involved in playing a team sport will help him focus and build confidence. That said, it’s also really important to me that he have fun and not feel any pressure to perform well or win. I deliberately chose a low-pressure setting at the rec center so as not to put too much pressure on him at a young age.

To say it matter-of-factly, however, he’s the fastest runner and most coordinated in his class. He also struggles, arguably more than any other student, with loss, disappointment, and needing to work as a team. He feels furious when he wants to kick the ball and another team mate gets it. He got especially angry when another kid got to be goalie. Sometimes he just gets mad at himself for not performing as well as he wanted to. (One first grade teacher told me that 6 is a normal age for perfectionism).

So the main problem has been with the anger and impulse control. Initially, he was taking out his anger by hitting other kids. The coach rightfully put him in time-out.

The two things that have put a stop to that have been a high-protein breakfast, (amazing the difference that makes on his mood!), and an agreement that we made: When he starts to feel angry, he needs to run out quickly and sit down until he feels calmer. Whenever he wants, he can talk to me about why he feels angry. The coach is on board with this, and these spells last maybe five minutes.

It’s working, but he still vacillates between begging me to go to soccer practice and announcing that he hates soccer and never wants to go again. And while this system of taking voluntary “time-ins” is working well for us, I’m wondering if there’s anything else I can do or say? Any explanations for this behavior that might give me insight?

In my shoes, would you take him out of soccer and maybe start up again when he’s developmentally ready? Keep him in soccer so that he learns to work through these issues? Try a non-team sport like karate or gymnastics for a while?
 

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I think that you should keep him in soccer for a period before you make a decision like "You will go to soccer now until Christmas, if you then want to quit you can but until that point you are trying this out". I think soccer could be beneficial for him but in order to really know this he has to try the sport for a while. If he knows he can change his mind all the time about this he will but if he knows that he is trying it this now for a period we will probably relax a little and be able to make a decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK, thanks. That's the way I was leaning, so it's validating to hear from someone else. At the heart of this issue is impulse control, so I'm trying to read up more on it. I'm so thrilled with him every time he comes and sits next to me to cool down. :love It's the best hitting-prevention strategy until we get through this journey.

I made the mistake of mentioning this dilemma to a friend of the family. He suggested spanking. :bigeyes Um, yea. That was a long conversation. Note to self: Keep these things on MDC from now on! :lol
 

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We did soccer for years and in those age groups (6,7,8) that kind of thing was very common and age appropriate. That's pretty much how we handled it- "you commit to being there for your team when you sign up, so we'll be going until this season's over. In spring you can choose not to"....it doesn't really matter at that age, but we wanted to set a policy for team sports for when it did.
 

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We have handled commitments to teams and activities this way, except for one ballet class. My daughter wouldn't get mad, but it was so slow and boring she'd drop onto the floor and start messing around (she has ADHD). The instructor was bad and I just didn't want to torture my daughter. But your soccer sounds different. Sounds like the coach is reasonable, and like your son is making progress. I'd focus on the positive, because it does sound like he has made gains in his behavior, but also with that message that he made a commitment for the season.

His behavior does not sound that unusual. If I were another mom on the team, I'd admire that you are doing something to handle it rather than letting his emotions rule the field (some athletes who are the best on their team unfortunately get that priviledge).
 
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