Helpless Hockey Mom!

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    • #193983

      My 11 year old son has been playing hockey since he was about 4. He is extremely passionate about hockey and is quite a good player. We love that he has this passion and want to encourage him to play but are constantly running into issues with his behavior. On most days things are good, and he is excited to play and does great. But we have had several outbursts, fits, issues with team mates, bad behavior and extreme melt downs when the team is loosing the game or if he gets put in the penalty box.
      We have talk to him until we are blue in the face about being a team player. We actually had issues prior to his diagnosis and pulled him from doing the travel team hoping that maybe if we got him on medication and over time he would become mature enough to go back on the travel team. He has been doing this Rec. Team for two years now and was actually showing a lot of progress in his behavior, and maturity. This year we have only gotten to practice, with everything going on we are lucky we have that. He has maintained a great attitude, has done extra practice at home and has even been helpful with the new players.
      After a long wait, our team finally got to play a game against a visiting team. Just really friendly games, that didn’t count for anything other then to get the players ice time in a game situation. Unfortunately, the teams were not evenly matched age wise so that really set my son off this morning, and he was already complaining that it was unfair. Amazingly enough they actually won the game in overtime! The second game went a bit differently after the coach mixed things up and wanted to have all players have equal playing time and through in a new goalie. (first game he played a lot more of the advanced players, like my son to pull out the win) At the start of the second game we were down 5-0 in the first period and my son was not handling it well and basically said he was going to quit. My husband (who was the assistant coach) told him if he walked off he was done with hockey and it went down hill from there. He has walked off on games before and we told him that he can not walk out, no matter what the score is. anyways, I know we didn’t handle it right, and I just not sure how to handle these situations. DO we just let him walk off? and then what? How should we handle this situation. What would you do? We have discussed these situations in the past after they have occurred. We even had a plan to go out to dinner after the games today if he had a good attitude, was a team player and is respectful. We have talked over and over again about teamwork and what it takes to be a team player.
      I am at a complete loss for what to do and how to handle this as a parent. My son is so passionate about hockey its all he talks about and all he wants to do. But this behavior is just too much. He also got an sportsman like conduct call today, when the other team scored, he then hit the puck to the other side which hit the goalie, who wasn’t prepared for it to come his way. Our fear is that if we take hockey away, he will be deeply depressed. he has a very low self esteem and puts himself down constantly. I want him to play but I can’t have him acting like this it is so embarrassing. Dad is the assistant coach and I am the team manager, so it looks pretty bad on us with the way he behaves. He is currently on the generic medicine for Adderall and has been for about a year now. We thought it was helping but we have continued to see these outbursts.(not really at school as much as hockey) I know medicine is not the cure all but should I look at other meds. What should we do in these situations. we are so concerned and feel helpless.

    • #194099


      A little background first. I am a high school teacher who was diagnosed with a severe attention deficit 19 yrs ago at age 35. I also coach in my school’s athletic program (including hockey), which is one of the most competitive and prestigious sports programs in our state. Also, I still manage to play hockey at my age! As an educator with a diagnosis, this sounds like more than a meds issue to me. For quite some time, I thought that meds would ‘fix this ADD thing’, not realizing that there are almost always compounding issues that accompany it.

      Is your son in therapy? You don’t mention any of that in your post. You mention his self-esteem issues, so it tells me that there is more going on here. I know in my case I carried a great deal of shame and self-criticism. I also know that adolescent boys (I’ve taught at my all-boys school for 25 yrs now) often act out rather than deal with/express the powerful emotions with which they struggle processing. Having an objective third party helping him navigate those things can make all the difference. It will help him as a teammate, friend, and son. It’s worth exploring, given the challenges you’ve all been facing – I bet he’s even frustrated with himself (we LOVE to beat ourselves up!).

      I wish you and your son good luck, and send all positive energy your way. Being part of a team can be especially transformative for an adolescent, so I hope he can do the work necessary to get himself back on the ice. I hope this helped…


    • #194208
      Penny Williams

      Your son’s behavior is communication. It’s a symptom of an underlying struggle. He doesn’t want to be that kid, he wants to do well. So why is he unable to? Here are some ideas that might fit:
      – poor frustration tolerance
      – poor emotional communication and regulation
      – concrete thinking that causes one to only see one way something can go
      – impulsivity and not being able to think about consequences before acting

      If he really loves hockey and gets confidence from it, it’s important to work with him on these underlying struggles to help him be successful at it and continue participating.

      Remember too, his developmental age in a lot of ways is more like 8 or 9. Set expectations accordingly.

      6 Truths About Child Behavior Problems That Unlock Better Behavior

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      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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