Does this sound familiar? This response is as common and as predictable when your child does not like or accept parental direction/authority.

For example, Joshua (aged 12) had seen a reduction in his playing time, as a result of his indifferent ways both during practice and in game situations. It appeared that Joshua was content receiving limited playing time. After a few seasons with the same coaching staff and players, Joshua’s parents felt it was time to push him more. When the parents were asked about the change in their approach, their reaction was one of concern for Joshua’s lack of motivation. When Joshua was informed that he would no longer be playing on that particular team, and that he had a number of tryouts; whereby, scouts from more competitive teams would be present to evaluate his ability, his reaction was of allergenic proportions. Joshua frothed at the mouth, lowered his head and instantly appeared sad at the prospect.

A week later, when confronted with the situation again, Joshua was adamant that he did not want to participate. His answer was one word: “because”…When probed further, Joshua confessed to not liking the idea of having to practice and motivate himself to improve. His level of stress at the notion of having to work harder was not something he wanted to entertain. Upon speaking with Joshua, what emerged was his interest in wanting to be better, but concern and fear of how to get there was evident. When he realized that his parents were not going to back down, Joshua accepted that he would be at those tryouts. He understood that his effort and attitude would have to be more positive.   Following the protesting, Joshua declared that he would make one of the teams. Additionally, he asserted that he would try this new arrangement for a year and see how he felt.   It was like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

The parents conceded that they felt badly for him and thought it would be best for those earlier years not to upset him.   With a consistent view for his best interest, the parents came to realize that Joshua needed to feel some discomfort in order to see his capacity. In this family dynamic, too often, Joshua was given a choice and not told “no”.