My 5 year old daughter hates soccer. I’ve never seen her so completely stressed over anything like this before. She was apprehensive and fought us a little with swimming, but eventually got the hand of it. Even with Judo she didn’t feel like going sometimes. But once she got there, she was fine. Now, it’s her thing. So my wife and I thought she would be OK with soccer after a while. That’s what we thought.
This was different. She would start agonizing over soccer on the Sunday before the Wednesday practice. An hour of games, a lot of sunshine and time with her friends how horrible can it be! You would think that she was heading off to war every time she put on her little cleats and shin guards.
Well, like every parent, I want her to learn about new things. Growing up I played four sports, studied martial arts and even attempted music (no such luck there). I half expected her to take to soccer like a duck to water and get in there and do her best Mia Hamm impression. Well, that didn’t happen, but then again, she is only 5.
But, we were determined, like before, a little crying and whining NEVER got her anyplace, so what did Dad and Mom do…we practiced with her. In fact, she even asked us to practice. And we did, almost everyday until the next practice.
Did it work? Kind of, she still stressed but managed to get through. However, it was a vast improvement over the last practice which consisted of crying and running off the field (Not me, my daughter).
But don’t phone in our parent of the year nomination just yet…
Yesterday my wife received a call from our daughter’s teacher saying that our child was completely stressing and upset at the prospect of having soccer practice after school. It was like all the anxiety form the week before had built up and unleashed its fury this week.
So what did concerned parents who want to instill a good work ethic and moral fiber do?
Well, considering she is only 5. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? No, not a bit. This doesn’t even come on the radar screen. But we did have her watch practice, which she did happily.
That’s why we have the one month intro program; because “I feel your pain.” I know what it’s like to see a child twist themselves up over nothing. But I also know how important it is to see your child find something they enjoy. The relief on a parents face (mine included) when they come to the dojo. The pleasure I feel when a mom says, “Judo is the only thing my kids like coming to.”
Well for now, soccer is going to have to wait. We’ll try dance, gymnastics, singing, music and whatever else, and if she finds something she enjoys half as much as Judo I will be happy for her.
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