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My child has been dropped- how to help them cope?

(77 Posts)
Isawthesignanditopenedupmyeyes Sat 22-Feb-20 12:43:05

My son has been dropped from a prestigious sports squad. He’s not out of the squad completely just dropped for the next game. He’s the only one from the usual squad to be dropped.
Now this is not a grand thing in the scheme of life and I know this is part of resilience building BUT he will BW gutted. I know it will hugely affect his self esteem and confidence. To be honest I’m gutted for him.
Has anyone had similar experiences, is there are good way to help him (and ad ridiculous as it’s sounds, me) cope with this?

jackstini Sat 22-Feb-20 12:47:21

How old is he?

Is this something they are trying in order to let others 'have a go'? If it's something likely to happen often and to lots of them it's a different kind of explanation

Has coach given a reason?

Isawthesignanditopenedupmyeyes Sat 22-Feb-20 12:49:56

He’s 12, they’ve picked the strongest players, it’s a high level squad. No reason just an email with the team list.
I want to work out how to get him to see this as a reason to try harder rather than be so deflated he gives up. He’s the only one dropped which has stung the most.

DustyD2 Sat 22-Feb-20 13:17:56

This happened to my son. Younger in age, but he didn't get picked for the A team and was devastated and cried for hours. We told him it was how you dealt with it, and he had to prove he deserved a place over someone else. He proved himself at training and got selected the next time. It was heart breaking at the time, but we hid our feelings. Same thing happened again with a different sport, and this time no tears but he was determined to make the team again. Which he did.

Even though it was hard to see him upset, I can see it taught him a very valuable life lesson, that you don't always get what you want, and you have to try your hardest.

PickwickThePlockingDodo Sat 22-Feb-20 13:21:46

"Never mind, there's always next time"

Berthatydfil Sat 22-Feb-20 13:29:23

Encouraging him to train harder, there’s always next time etc may not be the best for him in the long run as no matter how hard HE tries he can’t control if others are bigger stronger faster better players etc.
You would be better off building mental resilience in dealing with disappointment as it will only get worse if he carries on with the sport, you should be encouraging him to recognise that he is talented compared to the vast marjority of his peers but that might not be enough if others are better, that he can only control his own efforts.

Isawthesignanditopenedupmyeyes Sat 22-Feb-20 13:41:35

Thanks both, that’s exactly what I’m looking for, ideas for how to foster mental resilience. I realise that it’s important to handle this well and with the right mind set, I’m just not great at it! I also realise that this is a first world problem!

janemaster Sat 22-Feb-20 13:53:45

Sorry no experience in this, but I would have thought helping him see he has control over it will help i.e. never mind, you need to train harder to get back on it.
Don't let him see you upset about it though.

hopeishere Sat 22-Feb-20 13:54:20

It's ridiculous but so hard!!

DS is on the D team. We knew he'd no chance of the A team but maybe the B or C. So D was crap. However that is our interpretation of it. He's happy(ish) to keep plugging away.

Possibly try diversifying his interests so the team isn't the only thing?

My DS is at a very sport focused school so I know where you are coming from.

Isawthesignanditopenedupmyeyes Sat 22-Feb-20 13:55:41

@hopeishere thanks, I feel So silly being upset about this!

fizzandchips Sat 22-Feb-20 14:05:06

Try not to project your disappointment on to him, easier said than done, I know.
Suggest he asks the coach what he needs to improve on to be chosen next time. That way he’s showing motivation and much better than parent saying “why wasn’t my son chosen.”
Make sure family members don’t only ever ask him about his sport. He’s a person as well as a player - It’s very easy for their identity to become entirely about their sporting activities and achievements.

jackstini Sat 22-Feb-20 14:05:19

Definitely not silly to be upset - your heart breaks when your child's does sometimes

Maybe ask the coach what ds could concentrate on to improve so there is a positive focus for future

Also if it's the first time, it's pretty great to have never been dropped before now (even though it still feels crap!)

If he's serious about sport then point out even the best professionals are benched sometimes, it gives the opportunity to test new plays/formats and he can get a completely different view of the other players & dynamics from the side that will help his next game

ivykaty44 Sat 22-Feb-20 14:13:10

I think it would be better if the ds asked his coach what he can do rather than the parent, that’s if he wants to. It has to be down to him ultimately how he handles this situation, with support

itsgettingweird Sat 22-Feb-20 14:15:26

This happened to my son recently in his competitive club.
He always had certain spot on relay and there are him and another lad who are extremely close in time. Other lad has gone faster than ds in some competitions but ds has always has the fastest split. (Other lad never goes faster than ds can go iyswim?).

Big county level comp and he was switched out (and unfairly because where others had similar times they raced for the place).

I told ds to ignore what was happening and when he did other race (which he's always done as well) prove it was wrong decision.

He did! And the weekend after he went and competed again and did even better still.

I just said to him if he believes he's better then to prove it and better still train harder to make sure he is the better person. I said in all areas of life it's a competition. You have to work hard for what you want and convince people you are the best person for the job.

cherrytreeblossom Sat 22-Feb-20 14:16:20

My son is having trials at the moment for a club, hoping to be offered a scholarship.

Im finding the whole process really hard, way harder than I expected! Im so anxious and dread the outcome of him being let down.

I know just how you feel!

custardbear Sat 22-Feb-20 14:19:52

This happened to me as a
Child - I wish my parents had supported me and I may have tried harder rather than kind of giving up
Be supportive and kind

bbcessex Sat 22-Feb-20 14:19:58

Oh god, it's so hard. Been there and feel for you.

My DS has played high-level team sport, and has had this happen.

The advice we were given was for DS to have a quick chat with the coach, and ask 'what do I need to work on' - ie, get positive tips, rather than asking 'why was I dropped' .

They all have ups and downs and ultimately it's part of competitive sport. But as a parent it's horrible and I feel for you.

partofthepeanutgallery Sat 22-Feb-20 14:29:33

We take a slightly different tact, as all our children compete at high levels in sports. We've always encouraged them to work hard, do their best, and ENJOY what they're doing, but we've also always talked to them about how there will always be someone out there who is better than they are, or will be, and that they will have bad days, and they won't always get picked/start/place/win. We've also reminded them that sports isn't everything, it can't be, because one good injury can be a game changer.

It seems to have made a difference. When they do have bad days, they bounce back pretty quickly. And they're still all very happy doing what they do, but it's not all they do iyswim.

74NewStreet Sat 22-Feb-20 14:31:00

Ah, he must be gutted sad

hopeishere Sat 22-Feb-20 14:35:07

I actually asked the coach for advice and he encouraged my son to speak to the main coach but my son would just not have the confidence to do that.

TheHumansAreDefinitelyDead Sat 22-Feb-20 14:40:33

My son, at 13, got passed over for promotion 3 times for something he loves and put a lot into. He was gutted to be honest.

I found that I did not want to give him motivational pep talks, instead I listened to how he felt and what he decided to do. He decided to take the gas off for a month and just do the minimum (a fuck-it approach) to then throw himself into it 100% after half term.

Don't know what the outcome will be. But it felt important to let him deal with it himself, whilst I was sort of quietly supportive in the background.

Either way, it has helped my DS face unfairness/harsh decisions and then (hopefully) learn from it it was not the end of the world (it wasn't) and find his own approach (ask the coach what he needed to do to improve, and after the fuck-it period throw himself back into it.)

It was hard as I wanted to give the coach a piece of my mind, plead with him and reassure DS and help him avoid upset.... But I suppressed those instincts grin

The only way kids can learn to deal with these thing us letting them deal with them.... I think

rvby Sat 22-Feb-20 14:40:48

I'd acknowledge his feelings and allow him to cry. And after a good cry, have a chat about how, if he wants to be in a club, he's going to feel like this frequently, as it's simply part of sporting life. And ask him how he thinks he's going to cope with it. If he can't come up with anything, google "resilience in sport" together and read some articles.

If he still seems really despondent, leave it for a few days, and keep listening to him/letting him be upset. He will probably be fine after a couple of nights sleeping on it, at worst.

Coach him through his emotions and he will surprise you with his resilience.

Bubbinsmakesthree Sat 22-Feb-20 14:42:20

I think processing his emotions is important. Yes, you can/should channel the disappointment into persevering and trying harder but as others have said you can’t always succeed - the ability to cope with defeat is important.

I guess I mean don’t just minimise or deny how he’s feeling. Talk about it, acknowledge his feelings. You can do that without wallowing or being fatalistic - and then move on into how you focus on determination and the practical steps he can take to improve. But don’t skip the first bit.

Teateaandmoretea Sat 22-Feb-20 14:48:12

Thanks both, that’s exactly what I’m looking for, ideas for how to foster mental resilience. I realise that it’s important to handle this well and with the right mind set, I’m just not great at it! I also realise that this is a first world problem!

I notice that at the start you refer to a 'prestigious' sports squad but that your DS is only 12 years old. At that age long term how they grow will determine long term potential, there may even be new people who still join the sport and end up better in the end. I really think you are taking it way too seriously and defining him too much through it.

Your DS is clearly very good at the discipline but equally as the level goes up you meet more people who are as good as you or better. It is good for him to train and become really good at something (I think it is really worth the time investment) but he needs to maintain balance. He needs to recognise that other people are also good and that in the end probably none of them will win Olympic gold. DS may even find a different sport he prefers in the future and is even better at he is so young.

I don't think him 'training harder' is the answer he needs to understand it isn't all (being the best, picked every time) or nothing (give up). If training harder doesn't lead to the results he wants this will just lead to disillusionment I think.

AutumnRose1 Sat 22-Feb-20 14:56:00

I hope this doesn't seem too harsh

but when I was a child, I remember hearing Boris Becker saying "I did not lose a war - I lost a tennis match" about a Wimbledon final.

it was more helpful than anything my parents said about "try harder next time". Sometimes it just isn't going to go your way, and I can only speak for myself, but I wish I'd been taught that. There will often be more factors outside your control than within it.

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