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Not to allow dc1 to do a certain sport?

(102 Posts)
MomentOfTruth Sun 16-Feb-14 11:07:40

On one side there is dc1. Bright child, usually good at sports. Things are coming easily to him.
On the other dc2 is 18 months younger and us finding things hard. He has clear social and communication problems and has always felt 'stupid' compare to dc1.

They are both doing some sport activity and I have been careful that they would both do something different in order to boost dc2 self esteem. They both do some lite competition in their own chosen sport.
Except that dc1 has now decided he wants to do the same than dc2, do the competition etc

AIBU to say to dc1 NO and to tell him to stick to his first favoured sport?

paddyclampo Mon 17-Feb-14 18:58:20

I'm not suggesting for a second that you're putting your DS1's achievements down, just trying to point out how it felt to my friend I guess.

Surely part of this is something that's experienced by all youngers siblings to some degree, special needs or not? I was the youngest of 3 but I never felt bad that my brothers ran faster than me, were on harder maths than me etc etc - of course they were, they were older!

I think depriving DS1 of any opportunity is very sad. Has DS2 said how he feels about DS2 taking up tennis?

MomentOfTruth Mon 17-Feb-14 18:44:16

2rebecca dc2 might change his mind in 2 years. But in the mean time he will have had 2 years where he will be able to be proud of his achievements.
Having said that dc2 has a bit of a tunnel vision going on. Change isn't his strong point (that's AS for you) so unlike other children who might change their idea if what's nice at the drop of the hat, dc2 is unlikely to do so.

2rebecca Mon 17-Feb-14 18:34:52

Difficult. I never stopped my 2 doing an activity they wanted just because the other did it, as young kids they tried several activities until they found something that suited them. Your youngest enjoys tennis now but may change his mind and do something else in a year or so. What happens if the eldest chooses a sport and the youngest then fancies it?
It sounds as though if the youngest didn't have special needs you'd let the oldest do the sport so the oldest is being stopped because of his brother's problems. Are you going to make tennis more attractive by forbidding him from doing it? Will the youngest eventually wonder why you won't let his older brother do tennis when he really wants to?
It's nice if siblings divide their interests into seperate boxes but sometimes they don't. My younger sister often wanted to do the same stuff I did and my parents never said "no you can't that's Rebecca's hobby" although now we have very different hobbies. We didn't do competitive sports when young though.
I'd try and encourage the eldest to do a different racket sport but I don't know that I'd forbid him totally.

MomentOfTruth Mon 17-Feb-14 18:33:52

paddy it's not about competition between them! It's about one child having no area where they can feel go at. About one child having lots of struggles so much so that it's affecting their self esteem. And I , as a parent, need to find a way to raise that self esteem. One good way is to support him in something he enjoys and he is good at.
But having his db doing the same thing and then doing better is taking away from dc2 that ONE activity that us making him feel good about himself. How would that be right?

Right down my soap box now.
Thank you all for your answers. They have helped me a lot to clarify what and why I want to 'protect' dc2 activity and I will continue to do so.

MomentOfTruth Mon 17-Feb-14 18:27:56

I never said I was thinking of putting dc1 achievements down confused.
It's just one sport where I am thinking 'No he can't do any competition'. I am bit stopping dc1 from playing tennis. I am supporting him by going to see swim at galas the same way that I watch dc2 play tennis matches. And they both get praised for their achievements (even though praising dc2 is actually quite hard to do).

And I agree about the fact that it would be easy for dc1 to get resentful. Actually he was at some point resentful but not if the attention that dc2 was receiving. More if the fact he felt there was some double standards. Interestingly enough though, dc1 was happy to talk about it, was also happy about the answer I gave him and they are still very close, despite the fact that yes at some point dc2 had us all walking on egg shell.

DIYapprentice Mon 17-Feb-14 18:11:37

Be careful, OP. My DH and one of his brothers were bitter enemies while growing up. His DB had learning difficulties and had a LOT of extra attention spent on him by their DM. DH felt very left out. His DB was jealous of DH and his natural abilities.

This joint jealousy ended up in them beating the living daylights out of each other on a regular basis as teenagers, to the point that it was probably a miracle that they haven't suffered permanent damage.

Eventually the situation resolved itself, but by God they must have been difficult years.

As an aside, if your DSs are good at tennis, perhaps a sport that includes a stick? Eg Hockey. They're young enough to get the hang of it.

paddyclampo Mon 17-Feb-14 18:03:25

I agree with RedHelen - I think it must be tough on DS1. I had a friend who's younger sister had special needs and her parents always put my friend's achievements down so her sister didn't feel bad.

If there are 2 siblings then at most things the older one is going to be better. That's life. It'd be a bit mortifying if you had a younger sibling who was better at a sport at you, surely?!

I have 2 DC with a 2 year age gap. I guess competition's not really been such an issue because I have a DS and a DD.

saintlyjimjams Mon 17-Feb-14 12:44:05

Yep snap lechers. Ds3 does violin, ds2 piano. Ds3 does different sports, ds2 does a lot of drama & singing. Both swim - but to learn to swim, not competitively.

It works much better for us if they have their own things.

lechers Mon 17-Feb-14 11:50:33

I would say no too.

I have two DDs with a three year age gap. DD2 is usually overshadowed by DD1, who is academic, plays the flute well, does two hobbies, competes at both and does well in both.

Dd2 does similar two hobbies as Dd1. A year or so ago, DD1 wanted to do a different hobby (Irish dancing). I agreed and took her along, she loved it, and particularly loved having her chance to shine. For once there was something that she could do that DD1 couldn't. Then DD1 wanted to try it. I asked DD2, And she wanted DD1 to do it too. But then DD1 tried it and (being older and more advanced) quickly overtook Dd2 at the hobby. DD2 was crushed and quickly gave up that hobby. I vowed not to let that happen again.

Now DD2 has moved sports (does rhythmic instead of artistic gymnastics). Dd1 has mentioned doing rhythmic gymnastics, and I have said absolutely no way, because again, I think Dd1 would be better, and would outshine dd2.

It is hard being a second child, and living in the shadows of an older Sibling who finds life so easy. I now protect their interests, so they don't do the same, so DD2 finds her own way in life, out of the shadows of Dd1. So for example, I wouldn't let dd2 learn the flute (she does violin) which removes the direct comparison. It has made life a lot easier doing this, as they don't compare.

MomentOfTruth Mon 17-Feb-14 10:13:38

This thread has made me think quite a bit.

To answer a few questions, I don't think that dc1 is trying to find something to 'be better' than dc2 again. He is just a bright child that thrives on challenges and sport is one area where he finds challenges, (not that much challenge at school). He is taking tennis as he is swimming, wanting to do his best and enjoying himself. He is very social, unlike dc2, so yes he also likes the 'social' side of meeting up at the weekend and having a chat with the other team members, the feeling that the team is winning (or losing!). It also means he could be as happy with another sport.
However given the same involvement into tennis, he will outshone dc2 just because his own abilities!

I just don't agree that limiting one childs opportunities for the benefit of another is fair on anyone.
This I have an issue with. I think that we, as parent, always limit the opportunities of our children in one way or the other. We might not have enough money or the time or the ability or the interest to let them do all the things they want and we have to say no. And sometimes we also have to chose between children what we are going to do. It can be because 2 activities are clashing so as a parent, I have to take the decision of which one will be given priority for example (eg a recent example was a tennis tournament and a swimming gala on the same day at the same time and my husband being away that day. I just couldn't be at 2 places at once). For me the decision is at that level, not about favouring one child over the other or cutting the wings of one child to the benefit of another. It's about finding what area the child is comfortable in and support them in their own abilities rather in their opportunities.

Megrim Mon 17-Feb-14 09:41:43

If DC1 is already having tennis lessons, then he's not really being deprived if he continues doing that and concentrates on his swimming - if he's serious about swimming then his training should ramp up quite quickly so that he's swimming 5 times a week and he wouldn't have time to take the tennis any more seriously than as a weekly lesson.

RedHelenB Mon 17-Feb-14 07:59:55

But ds1 will be better at things because he is older!!! I could see your pov more easily if the younger one outshone the older one BUT even so I wouldn't doctor it. And ds1 is already having to put up with a lot having all the focus on his younger brother & being constantly hit bu him - the message I'm getting is that ds2 is more important because of his needs & that may well be why DS1 is being do competitive - he wants attention too!

paddyclampo Sun 16-Feb-14 23:54:01

Why are people so convinced that DS1 is wanting to outshine DS2? Maybe the lad has a genuine interest in tennis, it's a good skill to have. Maybe he has friends who play?

I do think this is a bit harsh on DS1.

Turniphead1 Sun 16-Feb-14 23:48:59

Yanbu. To those saying "life is tough" blah de blah. What a load of cobblers. Life IS tough. And there are plenty of things as a mother the OP won't be able to make easier for either son. But this is one thing she recognises may cause her DS2 to feel even less self worth. I think she is just parenting mindfully, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both her boys. She should go with her instinct on this. It's not like she is saying DS1 can't do ANY sport ... just not this one, right at this moment.

Balaboosta Sun 16-Feb-14 23:41:05

Totally agree that big boy should be prevented from muscling in on small boy's moment of glory! Stick to your guns, OP. But don't over-explain to DC1. Just tell him he's already doing one sport, that's enough or say the fees are too much. It is also very unhealthy for the already over-competitive big boy to be allowed to dominate in everything. Good luck. Please carry on bring thoughtful and considerate about your little one, sounds like things are tough for him.

Thumbwitch Sun 16-Feb-14 23:02:27

PLenty of other racquet sports to take up! Badminton is an excellent idea as an alternative.

You still haven't said if you know why your DS1 wants to play tennis competitively, and whether or not it has anything to do with a need to outshine his brother - this is a very important aspect of the situation, I think. As Twatty said - her DS only wants to play rugby to annoy his sister; if there's any element of that in your DCs situation, then DS1 should not be given the opportunity to lord it over his brother yet again.

Butkin Sun 16-Feb-14 22:07:10

I would let them both play tennis - great sport for them to play for decades to come and very popular right now.

Surely they would be in different sets for a while. DD plays tennis at school in summer term and the U9s don't play with U11s and then there are U13s. I know there will be a time when they clash but surely they will be split for a while. Ultimately, in a club situation, couldn't they be doubles partners?

MomentOfTruth Sun 16-Feb-14 21:02:15

I have being wrestling with the idea of 'depriving dc1 of opportunities'. I mean yes that means he wouldn't have the opportunity to play in competition as dc2 does atm.

But at the same time, what being involved in a sport brings him is much wider than just that sport. It's about sticking to things and training to achieve a result. It's about learning to 'compete with yourself' and to always try your best (which might not be the best!). It's about trying once, failing but being able to pick yourself up to try again, after one race at swimming, one point or one match at tennis. And enjoying it when you win without getting complacent the next time (or putting other down).
All of that he is already doing and learning through swimming.

So a part of me is thinking that I am not depriving of an opportunity, which would be the case if he wasn't doing any other sport.
And it is putting him in the situation where he has to accept that dc2 IS good at tennis and might get better than him, despite the age difference. And I know that it will be something difficult to accept for dc1 (esp as he has never been in that case with his db)

MomentOfTruth Sun 16-Feb-14 20:52:06

Badminton could be a good idea actually. Or squash if they do that with children too.

ShoeWhore Sun 16-Feb-14 20:44:40

I could chat to my 9yo about this and I think he'd get it.

Is there the option of gently steering ds1 towards a 3rd sport?

persimmon Sun 16-Feb-14 20:33:59

I'd do the same. I'm very hmm at the posters who think DS2 needs to learn how to deal with disappointment - sounds like he's had enough to deal with on this front already.

MaryWestmacott Sun 16-Feb-14 20:31:21

Hmm, unfortunately as tennis isn't a team sport it'll be hard for your DC1 to not outshine his younger sibling.

Could you start guiding your DC1 towards other sports?

Twattyzombiebollocks Sun 16-Feb-14 20:26:06

I'm with you on this one op. I have 3 dc, eldest two are 21 months apart. Ds (eldest) is a natural at sport, any sport, very athletic amd coordinated. His younger sister has the coordination of a pissed up giraffe most of the time, except when she plays rugby. So she goes to rugby training twice a week and loves it. The difference it is making to her confidence is amazing as finally she has something she's really good at and isn't being outshone by golden boy. Ds wants to play rugby too, he's been playing football just about since he could walk and is pretty good, captain of school team, plays in local league matches. I've said no to rugby as I know he only wants to play to annoy his sister. When she's had a few months training I might let him start as with a head start she will hold her own (and I think it will be very good for ds to not be the best at something for once!)
I do love my son utterly, but he can be very complacent about his ability with sports, and he's not always kind and congratulatory about his sisters efforts, so I think it will do his character no end of good to have the boot on the other foot for a while.

mercibucket Sun 16-Feb-14 18:54:36

tennis is a good skill to have so i can see the 10 year olds pov but how about badminton or another racquet sport?

MomentOfTruth Sun 16-Feb-14 18:15:43

And yes dc1 loves swimming too.

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