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Old 09-12-2010, 06:37 AM   #1
cory39
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Default 11 year old boy too passive

I have a 6th grade son who turned 11 in june. Hes a little over 5 foot and weighs 110 lbs. Hes good looking, popular with both sexes, athletic, and an A student. Everyone loves him. I am getting concerned cause he is so emotional. Instead of remeding a problem like setting his friends straight if they are doing wrong he comes crying or almost crying to us so we can go take care of it. His friends tease him at school just like friends do each other and instead of laughing and giving it back he takes it to heart and comes home telling us about it in a way like he wants drama or sympathy.

Hes on his second year of pee wee full pad football and had his first game this season yesterday. Hes starting at middle linebacker cause of his size and his rare speed. I didn't expect miracles at this age but I expected an improvement over last year. Instead he ran away from the ball carrier and waited for someone else to tackle them and then he would run up and push the pile backwards. The coach got mad once and yanked him out for a play cause he ran away from the ball carrier who must have been 20 lbs smaller than him. Another example. His friends and he built a bike ramp last weekend then spent a half hour jumping it. both his friends were catching some serious air and he was simply riding over it. Hes got this fear factor it seems and just wants to do everything half speed of everyone else.

This post is not about why can't my son play football yet so please don't take it that way. But instead I see all this stuff hand in hand. Hes afraid to hit on the field, and hes afraid to stand up for himself to others. I am so scared that hes gonna go nowhere in life or lose every promotion because he will not get aggressive enough and fight for what he deserves. In other words I believe behavior on the field rolls over to behavior in life and his overly emotional non aggressive self is really concerning me.

I want to state that yes I do love sports but I never push him to do them if he doesn't want to. He didn't do baseball this summer for first time ever and I didn't object.

His mother and I divorced in march of 2007 and I got custody of him cause he wanted it that way. I am now remarried to a wonderful woman who in all ways is more responsible and structured than my ex. My new wife teaches school. His grades have went up since my marriage yet his fears seem to also.

Oh and I forgot to mention we have had an uphill battle with him for the last year with night lights and music on the tv when he sleeps and being afraid to go upstairs and shower before bed unless we go with him. In the last 2 mos I have forced it on him and he willingly goes upstairs and showers alone and puts himself to bed before I go up and kiss him goodnight. He still loves his stuffed animals in bed to sleep with. I love my son to death but I admit I always envisioned having more of a boys boy. Rough tough and capable of doing things themselves.

At age 9 I was watching my baby sister till midnight, while fighting off the neighborhood bullies, fixing supper, and getting myself off to school every morning on my own. And my 11 year old can't seem to tackle simple chores like tying a fishing knot or winding up kite string when hes done flying. Can someone please tell me I am overreacting please? I would love to hear it. Cory
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

First you need to loose that vision of a rough and tumble boy, some boys are just not that kinda kid.

Let me say that a lot of a child's personality is predetermined before they are even born, it's in their DNA and there isn't a whole lot we can do about it except try to help them find coping skills.

I have 8, some are afraid of nothing, others more fearful. Each come with a different set of worries.

One DD who fears very little was afraid of the dark into her early teens, she would not go to her room unless some one was with her, granted their rooms are in the basement. Eventually though she did start going down there and at 18 the basement no longer scares her. All of my kids had to have some form of night light, whether that was the tv or an actual light until their early teens also, my younger ones are the same way. Most of these things are outgrown in due time, in there time.

As to sports, I have a different take, maybe he isn't afraid of being hit, so much as hurting someone else. I know this to be the case with my 9 year old, he wants to do football like his big brother this year, and big brother had the same fears of being hit and hurting someone but he isn't as emotional as my 9 year old was so I am not sure how this is going to all play out. Give him time, my oldest took a lot of time and patience and he is/was (broken collarbone) the star receiver for his team.

Last, so I can get my novel over with . Don't play into his friends drama, help him, guide him, give him suggestions....and stay out of it. He has to learn to cope on his own, sadly this is a sink or swim kinda moment for him.
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

I agree with the sink or swim mentality. You hit it right on the head. My trouble is at 39 when I was younger we were led to believe you settled scores the old fashioned way. Unfortunately now adays I don't know how to tell my son to deal with it. A simple black eye or bloody nose is dealt with with such extreme measures these days. The hitter gets treated like a criminal even if he/she stood up for themselves. There is some jerks in his class that do more than tease him and I know its because they are jealous of him. Their parents are so busy working 4 jobs to pay for all their luxurys that those kids I feel get less attention than they deserve. I am sure time will mold him. I just wondered if pre puberty was playing games with his aggression levels. He is alot more aggressive than he was last year but its an aggression show. When it comes time to put out so to speak he just can't seem to. Its like he has the desire to settle it himself but just can't make himself do it. In other words he talks the talk but hasn't yet walked the walk. Cory
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

Honestly, just because he is a boy doesn't mean he's going to be aggressive, rough, dirty, and brave. Some boys are like that, and some boys are sensitive and gentle and maybe less outgoing. Some boys are somewhere in the middle. All boys aren't the same, just because they are boys. And you can't force his personality to change. If you push him to be different, he will only feel like he can't come to you with his fears and he'll feel like you don't approve of the real him. You can't make him be a certain way. You can only make him ashamed of the way he is.

If he's not doing great at football, maybe its not for him. This couldn't possibly be something he's doing because he knows you want him to, right? Because his dad is desperate to have a boy who kicks butt at football and makes him proud? I'm not saying that's the case, but always keep it in your mind that he should be doing something that makes exclusively him happy, and whatever it is, you should be proud of him for doing it no matter what. If he's not so great at football, and he's not cut out for the aggression involved, then maybe you should be reassuring him that he could try something else if he would like. There are lots of less agressive options. Let him look around.

As for standing up to his friends, I agree with M2M. Don't go and say anything to his friends, and don't interfere. When he comes to you with his problems, give him suggestions and advice on how to deal with the situations he describes. Give him examples of what to say in return, or what you would do if you were him. He will eventually catch on, I imagine. All kids learn coping skills, it just takes some a little longer than others. He is probably just a little more on the sensitive side. I was always like that, and I think my son takes after me in that way. He will probably be the sensitive, more emotional boy in his class. I can see it in him already haha. Kids like that will be just fine though, they just need a little extra reassurance, and a little more focus on their coping skills.

IMO, you don't need to be aggressive to live a happy healthy life. I think that would be one of the last things on my list of concerns about my children, how aggressive they are haha. Also, I sleep with a night light on in my room. I really hate waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to see anything at all. Its kinda creepy even for me! lol Plus its useful for when I need to go to the bathroom or get a drink, that way I can see what I'm doing and I don't trip over anything. I figure there's a same type of logic behind why kids want a night light as well. A lot of parents associate it with something bad, some type of dependency, but really its just because it sucks trying to look around in the dark I think. Plus who wants to wake up from a nightmare and not be able to at least look around and know what you're looking at? That would easily intensify things. I think a nightlight is just a convenience, not a big deal, and not worth the argument at all.

10 years old is still pretty young. He has plenty of time to grow up. I wouldn't force him to do something he is scared of. What's so bad about taking a moment to come upstairs with him while he gets ready for bed? Maybe I'm a softie, but at that age I wouldn't have any problem with it. In 2-4 years he'll be kicking you out of his space and making you leave him alone, so soak it up while you can, our kids wont be kids for long, and before you know it you'll be wishing to have those days back where he wanted to hold your hand.
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

I'll add my voice to the mix. It sounds to me like it's just not in his personality to be aggressive, and that you're struggling with that. It seems like, intentionally or otherwise, you are implying to your son that he needs to be aggressive to be successful (or a "good kid") and that you may be unwittingly putting more pressure on him, which may be feeding into his fears. Even though you're trying not to, it definitely sounds like you wish he was a more "manly" boy, and I'd be shocked if that sentiment hadn't filtered down to him. Kids pick that stuff up! I believe it's your responsibility to learn to love him for who he is, not to convert him into what you wish he would be.

There's part of me that looks at this scenario and wonders how a kid who runs away from contact in football even GETS on a football team to begin with, unless it's simply because his dad wants him to, or because he knows you want him to play. Any thoughts on that? If he is athletically gifted (and WANTS to play sports), there are plenty of other sports that are competitive without being as physical as football. Soccer still requires aggression but has less contact. But even less physical are things like track or tennis.

I agree with those who urge you not to step in at school. But at the same time, I would also urge you NOT to try to convince him that "standing up for yourself" is the only "right" way to solve problems. When my step-son was getting teased about his long hair, his biological dad urged him to "stand up for himself," by which he meant to fight them. That's how he grew up, and it colored his beliefs.

I'm 40 now and have never been in a fight in my life. I've always believed in resolving issues through words. My step-son ended up resolving his problems at school without getting into any altercations. My point is not that either way is better than the other. But if you try to force your son to solve problems "your way," it's likely a recipe for failure.

I suggest you listen to him about his problems, and brainstorm WITH him about ways to solve them. Let him suggest ideas that he may be comfortable with, or suggest different alternatives.

Another possibility is to consider getting him some counseling. He may have unresolved issues related to his mom or the divorce. He may feel abandoned, and certainly acting "childish" (afraid to go to bed alone, etc.) is a very common trait in children of divorce.

I think most importantly, you want to continue to be loving and supportive of your son, and not critical. From what you've described, he sounds like a fantastic kid who just happens to be a little on the sensitive side...

Good luck!
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

Sorry, I only had a moment to skim through the other responses, so pardon, if I repeat anyone.

It seems to me that this boy needs some successes. Before you worry too much about agressiveness, how about trying for some accomplishment, some stuff he can really stick his chest out an be proud of. Maybe contact sports aren't going to be his thing, but what about tennis, or golf, or running? Other than sports, what about art, music, does he have interests in those directions? Success performing can lead to more confidence. What about something like scouts? Personally, I'm not a big scouting fan, but it could be something he could build some confidence with, and it's something you could do with him.

I would suggest martial arts as a possibility, but it doesn't seem like maybe he's aggressive enough to have much success there yet.

Have you talked with him about what he likes, what he wants to do?

Science bowl, spelling bee, engineering and robots challenges, geography bowl...I think you need to fidd something he can be among the best at, and most of all something he's passionate about.
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

IADad, seems to me he's already successful. Per the original post, he's "Hes good looking, popular with both sexes, athletic, and an A student. Everyone loves him"
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

yeah, I got that he's popular, but at the same time they tease him, he's athletic yet afraid of contact, nothing in the longer explanation said to me that he's really "tasted" much success......So, I think there's some difference between being good at something, being adept and being successful, KWIM?

I'm not implying the kids a flop at all, just that he needs an opportunity to shine (IMHO)
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

I see what you're saying, IADad, I had the same thought. He shouldn't just be playing football if he's not great at it and obviously isn't perfectly comfortable doing it. If he tested out the waters of other sports or even arts, maybe he would find something he enjoyed much more and would be much more successful at. There are SO many options. If football isn't working out, it can't be great for his self esteem. He could try baseball, soccer, track, dance, art, anything!! There is so much more to life than football lol.

I mean he's obviously a great kid. But you can't be great at everything. Perhaps his area of expertise lies somewhere other than football!
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: 11 year old boy too passive

Ok wow! This is pop warner pee wee league. Any kid that wants to play can. He does have talent but last year he played tight end and did ok with it. This year they tried him at linebacker and he didn't do so hot last weekend. Tonite at practice the coach moved him back to tight end and some other kids around as well. Yes I do love football. But this kid has been shooting baskets and throwing footballs since he was 5 and I could never tear him away from the sports he enjoys. He does do better at receiver than linebacker. Please don't accuse me of forcing him into the sports. He would hate me if I made him quit football or basketball. The aggresion part........well lets just say I was never too aggressive when younger and I got pushed and shoved around in my early adult life in careers and such and finally became an A hole as some people see me now cause I got sick of bosses and others taking advantage of me. Now i do my own thing and put my foot down and it works and I have a good job and my boss respects me. In fact when we have a growly customer its been me that gets sent to deal with it. i don't want my son to go through all the bs I did when young. yes I did learn but it has been painful learning. Nite guys.
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