How To Help Your Child’s Anxiety Through Tryout Season

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

When we think of anxiety, we often think about adults and stress. We may think about our child starting a new school, moving into middle school, or some bully on the bus picking on him.

 

However, we rarely think that their anxiety is coming from the softball team. He or she loves softball. They play all the time. They have friends that show up on sunny days with their bats, balls, and catchers mitt.

 

He has asked a dozen times when the softball jerseys will arrive. He lives for the game, so why would that make him anxious? You dismiss this as excitement. In the early days, they are two sides of the same coin.

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Photo credit: Kat Jayne

  • Know why you are punishing your child

It has been a really rough week and keeps getting worse. Suddenly Bobby doesn’t want to go to school. There’s not drop in the gades.

  • Is it the lunch period at school?

Are you not getting enough to eat? Would you rather carry your lunch for a while?

  • Is there something the other kids have, that you don’t?

Again you are told nothing is wrong, yet the child’s disposition is telling you a different story.

 

Many times parents run through every scenario they can think of and then decide the child is going through “growing pains” and determine that type of behavior is unacceptable. They may warn the child that there will be punished if their behavior continues.  Eventually, the parent will follow through with the punishment. But, the punishment will not correct the problem. The fact is, the child doesn’t know what is causing his anxiety. Since the child loves their sport, and since they have been excited about it for months, the idea that the child is feeling anxiety over the upcoming tryouts do not enter their minds.

Where do you start?

If you see a change in your child that is disturbing and not going away in a day or so, assume something is wrong, When you question him, you put the responsibility in his lap. He may not know why he is feeling the way he is feeling. As a parent, the first thing you should do is stop, watch, and listen.

 

If a child is having a problem on the school bus, you will see anxiety when the time comes for him to board the bus. You will see it and feel it. When he is with his friends, listen to what they talk about.

 

If your child freaks out (to an unusual degree) when he has an English test. Take a close look at his work. Not his report card, but his actual work. It may be that he has a B average, but it is a hard B. Look at the notes on his papers. Maybe he feels singled out by the teacher. Have conversations that will give him the opportunity to give you hints. Use your instincts and the process of elimination.

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Photo credit: Pixabay

When you have eliminated the normal issues, it is time to look to the less obscure.

What is different in your child’s world?  They live in the same house, go to the same school and, have the same friends. The kids are all excited about the softball tryouts. Who will make the team?  What position will they play? By quietly watching and listening, you spot it. It is not obvious to anyone else, but your instincts perk up as you realize your child is freaking out about the tryouts.

What can you do to help?

To a child, he is standing on the edge. One step to the left and his teammates are thrilled with him. His family is celebrating and everyone if going for pizza and talking about how great the kids do. But, if he steps to the right, he lets his friends down, disappoints his parents, and feels worthless. Here are some tips.

    • Refocus your excitement. Participate in the kids fun. Tell them how proud you are that they are trying out. Take them for ice cream because they had a great practice.
    • Make it a habit to focus on their action, not their score. Even if the catcher drops the ball and the other player scores, that was a great catch!

 

  • Don’t tell the kid, that you promise everything is going to be okay.

 

    • First, your child wants to believe you but his brain chemicals are in overdrive and they can’t hear you.
  • Go to plan B (and then make it plan A, next time)
    • Sit down with your kid and tell them you know they are stressed. Then show him what you do when you are stressed. Teach him to do some deep breathing exercises. But make it a game. Say “Breath in your nose and wiggle your toes.” Kick off your shoes and do the deep breathing. Soon the breathing will make them feel better and the toe wiggling will bring some laughs.
  • Get out the checkers, or Monopoly money and help them change their attitude. Identify what is scary in their situation, give them a red checker (or fake money). Then he has something good to say about the situation. You can help with him this.
      • Afraid he will get hit with the ball – 1 red checker
      • Will have gear on that will keep it from hurting – 1 black checker
      • Not real good t batting – 1 red checkered
      • Great at catching in the outfield – 1 black checker
      • Can run as fast as anyone out there – 1 black cecker
      • Not a great grand slam batter – 1 red
      • Great bunter – 1 black

 

The point here is to let your child bring out his own talents. That is how his confidence will grow.

 

Finally, at the end of the day, no matter what happens all of the good credit goes to the kids. Never say things like, “I told you!” or “We did it!”  This is his game, his challenge, and the part you paid in it is your job. But, just in case you need to hear it. “Good job at parenting! You rock!”

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Photo credit: Pixabay

 

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About Pepper

I am a single working mom, trying to raise my kid the best way I know how. Join me as I navigate my way through the jungle that is Single Mom-hood, armed with rose-colored glasses and strength of spirit. As pepper adds spice to food, so does my daughter add spice to my life. She makes life no less than…PEPPERRIFIC!

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