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I am v upset ... DS is in big trouble for getting into a FIGHT ffs. AIBU to be angry with the other kid and his mother too?

(32 Posts)
ghosty Wed 20-Aug-08 07:50:35

Blardy hell! Bear with me, it's a long story and I need to get it down ...
DS plays for a soccer club. He loves it. Last season there was a boy on his team who was (and still is) a phenomenal player ... absolutely fantastic for a 9/10 year old. Anyway, DS has a love/hate relationship with this boy (who now plays for the Under 10s) - thinks he is a marvellous player and is slightly obsessed by him, always comparing himself to this boy's ability (Let's call him X for now) and then hating him because X has always belittled DS when he plays - tells him he 'sucks at soccer', laughs when he messes up, tells him he is a baby if he falls over etc etc. This has been an ongoing issue for 2 years and DS has told us how X is so mean to him and we have worked with DS to get him to not react and to rise abover it. X has been the only 'downside' to DS's love of the game. Let me add that DH is the coach of DS's team and has tried to underplay the issue this season.
So, last night, the U10s and U9s were playing a practice game together and DS got winded by a ball. X told DS he was a cry baby and pathetic. DS finally cracked and barged at X, who pushed DS to the ground. DS got up and threw a punch at X shock. X then threw DS to the ground again. The fight was stopped by DH and the other coach at that point (DH hadn't seen the whole thing, only DS on the ground).
This is when it all got messy and DS has come out looking really bad. X told the coach and DH that DS punched him and DS denied it shock. X's mother then weighed in and told DH that DS punched X. DS denied it again. DH told X's mother that DS doesn't lie sad and he believed DS. Both children were told off for fighting.
On the way home the other coach rang DH and told him that two other parents witnessed the fight and confirmed that DS was lying sad. DS confessed to lying and of course DH is very upset, angry and disappointed with him (as am I). DS is now grounded (ie. no playdates) with all electronics (Playstation and computer) banned for the 2 weeks (and longer if he lies again). I don't know if that is a harsh or light punishment but that is what we have come up with.
The issue is that DS is in big trouble (and deservedly so) but X has got away (AGAIN) with calling DS names and being a general arrogant little so and so and I am really upset about that. DS has come out looking really bad (lying is a terrible thing to do, we are very upset about it, but he was just trying to get himself out of trouble in a silly way after all). X's mother just focussed on the punch DS gave her son and conveniently ignored the taunting and the throwing to the ground.

I don't know where I am going with this. I just feel upset and disappointed with DS but furious with X ...

LittleBella Wed 20-Aug-08 08:04:51

TBH I feel really sorry for your DS.

As you say, once again this little git has got away with all the taunting, your DS's feelings about that haven't been acknowledged and the offending behaviour hasn't been addressed. Next week, he'll taunt your DS again and think he can get away with it. DS needs to have a plan as to how he will deal with it.

I think it's time for your DH to stop underplaying the taunting and address it properly. Which of course, will make it look like he's picking on him, because of the fracas with his DS. Hmmm, very difficult one for you. Am off to work now, hope other people come on and give you some good advice.

herbietea Wed 20-Aug-08 08:08:34

Message withdrawn

Notquitegrownup Wed 20-Aug-08 08:13:53

I think that you have dealt with your ds firmly and that should be an end of it for him.

As for the other boy, if your soccer club is FA affiliated, then the parents should have signed a contract when he joined the club, stating that they will encourage fair play and this includes never abusing or putting down other players. I'll see if I can find the copy of our 'contract' and find the exact wording.

It is hard for your husband being your the coach, but you could use the contract to lodge a complaint about the other boy.

IShaggedInVictorianSqualor Wed 20-Aug-08 08:21:01

I don't really have any advice for you.

Do you have any kind of relationship with X's mother?

Freckle Wed 20-Aug-08 08:21:20

Oh I can empathise with this. DS2 had a really rough first year at secondary because he was bullied mercilessly by a number of boys about his hair (it's very long). He put up with the nastiness (much of it from much bigger boys whom he couldn't identify, but some from a couple of boys in his class). He spoke to staff about it time and again until he gave up reporting it because nothing changed.

A few weeks before the end of term, one of the boys in his class made some nasty comments (mainly revolving around him being a girl, etc.) and DS2 finally snapped and went for the other boy. 6 other boys then jumped on DS2. The report which went back to staff from all the boys was that DS2 attacked 7 boys hmm. We, of course, had to have a meeting with staff and the whole emphasis was on DS2's behaviour, how violence is not acceptable and what DS2 needs to do to control his temper. DH and I absolutely agree that violence is never acceptable, but were shocked at how the whole meeting revolved around DS2 and his temper and nothing was addressed re the relentless bullying which led to his momentary loss of control. To this day, nothing has been done about the boy who keeps pushing and pushing and pushing DS2 towards losing his temper.

DS2 had to be punished, which he was, but his very well developed sense of fairness is deeply offended by the fact that the other boy's behaviour has not been addressed. We too have had to give him strategies to deal with this when he returns to school (as an aside, the bullying stopped after he flipped, so sometimes you have to wonder if violence has its place). I don't think it has stopped forever, so DS2 needs to learn how to deal with it. I was very proud that he almost managed to see out the year without losing his temper and was deeply saddened by the fact that his record is now tainted by this incident.

I think you need to get the other coach to keep an eye on DS and this boy and he needs to step in as soon as he sees any nastiness. Your DH can't because of the relationship, but, if the other coach deals with it, the other boy's mother will have to accept what happens. Don't you just hate these little shits??

BecauseImWorthIt Wed 20-Aug-08 08:23:50

Oh dear!

I think you have done the right thing with your DS - lying is something that all children do as they think it's the easy way out of a situation (even when it's patently obvious that they are lying they will still use this as a strategy of first resort!), and it's important that we teach our children the value of honesty and integrity.

I think the problem you are now facing is that X hasn't been dealt with previously. Does he behave like this generally/with other children? Or just with your DS? Either way, these are the hallmarks of a bully and it should have been dealt with a lot sooner. Sorry, that doesn't really help you at the moment, I know.

However, I think your DH has probably contributed to it by not dealing with it - and the suggestion to get the other coach involved is, I think, an excellent one, as this will remove any perceived favouritism.

Even though it's hard, I think you will just have to leave things with X's mother - she is, after all, rightly angry/upset that your son has punched hers and if you try and tell her now about her son she isn't going to be in the most receptive frame of mind to listen to you. Could the other coach have a quiet word with her once things have calmed down? She may - once this immediate incident has blown over - be horrified to learn about X and his treatment of your son.

(A bit of an aside really, but also just to point out that your DS is a boy! And sadly boys can resort to the physical as a way of dealing with problems - he is on the brink of puberty and there will be testosterone brewing. Not an excuse, but a bit of a hard reality, I'm afraid. As women we are much less likely to see violence/physical responses as the way to behave).

To help ensure that she sees your son in a more positive light (and hopefully pave the way for a better understanding of the relationship between them) I would also strongly suggest that your son apologises to X and his mother. I know that that will really go against the grain, but you have to separate this specific incident from the rest of the situation in order to help your DS rise above it. He (and you!) will hate it and it will be humiliating, but it will also enforce the message about lying and its seriousness.

After this, I would ensure that your DS and X just don't come into contact any more. If they're playing for different teams, great. If your DH is a coach then he is in a situation to help ensure that they can be kept separate. I would suggest that he talks to any of the other adults involved in the team about the issue to find out if they feel similarly about X - and work together to find a way to deal with it. You never know, they might all have just been hoping they wouldn't have to deal with it.

Sorry for the ramble and hope some of this helps - good luck!

I had an incident with DS1 recently (16, so older than yours) where we caught him stealing money from DH and I, and it's a horrible, horrible feeling to know that your child can behave in such a way, so I really empathise with you.

ghosty Wed 20-Aug-08 08:24:49

Thank you for your replies ...

Our punishment for DS is for lying. Not for fighting to be honest, although he would have been in trouble for that too but maybe not so harsh. He blatantly lied and let DH stick up for him ... he needs to learn that lying is totally unacceptable.

Notquitegrownup ... We live in Australia and so not FA affiliated. The club does belong to 'Football Victoria' the soccer federation here in Melbourne but there was no contract. TBH the way the actual club is run is very very dubious and next season we will be finding a new club for DS. We have 3 more weeks of the season left.

DH thinks that one of the reasons that X picks on DS is that DS is one of the few children with the guts to tackle him and the ability to get the ball from him - this infuriates X and makes him really mean to DS.

One of the most difficult things about this is the deviousness of X ... he has a very troubled homelife and his mother is very protective of him, he is a fantastic player and has a very engaging way with adults but is very underhand with the other kids. When I have mentioned to the other coach (a personal friend of ours) how X is with DS he always seems very surprised as X is so well behaved with the coach is around.

I am fed up with everyone feeling sorry for X and letting him get away with being so mean to DS. What I want to do is go down to training tomorrow night and just say to X's mum to tell her boy to stay away from DS from now until the end of the season.
DH also whats DS to apologise to X for making him out to be a liar when in fact DS was lying ... but I think that is probably a bit much now ... sad

BecauseImWorthIt Wed 20-Aug-08 08:26:53

Of course your DS was provoked, unlike my son - and our situation was a lot worse - didn't want you to think I didn't recognise the pressure your DS was under!

unclefluffy Wed 20-Aug-08 08:32:25

Bizarrely, I find myself feeling pretty strongly about this one! This won't help you out of your immediate hole, but in my sport (rugby) many clubs have a 'code of conduct' which applies to all coaches/parents/spectators/players. It usually addresses sportsmanship (sportspersonship?) and gives examples of the ways individuals and teams are expected to comply. E.g. "applaud good play by all", "never belittle a player for making mistakes", "always clap the opposition off your home pitch at the end of the game", "visitors get to eat first" etc etc. Most of the problems our club has had with discipline have had parents at the bottom somewhere: that's why the code governs their behaviour too.

Rugby is a naturally more violent (!) sport than footie, and physical fights do sometimes start. If the fight doesn't result in injury (e.g. it ends with two boys yelling at each other while one of them sits on the floor, as in this case) each coach disciplines his own player (e.g. in this case your DH disciplines DS and the U10s coach disciplines X). The idea is not to find out what happened, but to stop it happening again. The aim of the game is to get the ball in the back of the net and punching and shoving is just a distraction. In a real game, both boys could have been sent off - and that would have damaged the team. An argument during a game should be dealt with according to the laws of the game. It is hard when the coach is also the parent of the child involved, but the rules of soccer, plus a code of conduct, should give you all a way of resolving fights like this without the adults falling out.

When it comes to punishment can you try to divorce the parenting and coaching roles? How would you punish DS if you had only heard about this incident from another coach? Punishment for lying to you but not for fighting sounds about right - the fight should have been dealt with and left on the pitch. What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch. Personally, I wouldn't have wanted to know how the fight started - fighting is against the rules of the game and harms the team, and that's all that matters in the context of a football match.

I know that's looking like a bit of a rant, but organised games should be fun, the rules are there to help and we should use them! (Also, everyone should play rugby, but that's a whole other thing...)

twentypence Wed 20-Aug-08 08:32:34

Say it like a mantra - 3 more weeks, 3 more weeks.

Well done to you for punishing ds for lying even though it meant that X got off super scot free. I presume because you are so excellent that your ds knows that you don't really think that it's fair either.

There will sadly always be children like X, but you are bringing up your ds and really it won't help any to obsess about X.

I am currently working with 2 girls who sound very like X only one has a reasonable mother and the other has a mother like X. I never thought I would be thrilled that ds has a tummy bug and needs another day at home - but as it's the day I would see them I am pretty pleased. It's so wearing dealing with them and seeing how other's education suffers.

unclefluffy Wed 20-Aug-08 08:35:21

Ooh - x-posts with Notquitegrown up! Codes of conduct are good!

I should type faster...

ghosty Wed 20-Aug-08 08:36:14

X-posted with later replies ... thank you so much for your words of encouragement ... it really helps and I am glad I am not being unreasonable to feel that this is all very unbalanced and biased against my DS.
I do get on with X's mother, or we did last year when they were on the same team - I haven't seen much of her this season. She is a bit scary in a protective Mum kind of way.

mrsruffallo Wed 20-Aug-08 08:41:08

Good post Uncle fluf

ghosty Wed 20-Aug-08 08:41:52

20P ... yes, DS knows I think it is unfair. We have told him that if he hadn't lied the problem would have been dealt with at the pitch and left at that. I also pointed out to him that I was aware that X was totally out of order but his lying has made it look like HE is the bad one ... If only he had told the truth it wouldn't have spiralled like this ...

unclefluffy Wed 20-Aug-08 08:43:05

Btw, agree with BecauseI'mWorthIt. Fights happen - not the end of the world. The problem here is club discipline as a whole. Sounds like a good idea to find somewhere a bit more organised. Especially if there are older players around from whom the kids can learn a bit of sportsmanship! (Of course, as a rugby player, I naturally think that soccer players are exactly the wrong people to be learning sportsmanship from wink)

ghosty Wed 20-Aug-08 08:43:44

Fantastic post unclefluffy - (LOL at your name, DS's godfather's nickname is Mr Fluff - but you can't be him as he plays cricket!)
I will print that out for DH ....

unclefluffy Wed 20-Aug-08 08:43:58

Thank you, mrsruff grin

unclefluffy Wed 20-Aug-08 08:47:50

And thank you, ghosty! I love sport... smile

ghosty Wed 20-Aug-08 08:52:14

We do too (love sport) but DH's passion is cricket and it is a completely different ball game grin where this sort of thing doesn't seem to happen.

kitbit Wed 20-Aug-08 08:54:27

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all. I also think you're right to punish your ds for lying, although I can see why he thought lying would help as he actually wanted justice for the original problem with X and perhaps thought bending the truth would help.
Can you talk to X's mum? Praise her son's ability but broach the subject of the taunting? Or can your dh as coach talk to him about good sportsmanship? Better still, if X plays with a different coach can the coach tackle it? Best if not your dh I suppose as could be construed as biased even though it isn't.

Hope it works out x

unclefluffy Wed 20-Aug-08 08:57:43

It's true. I don't know why soccer should provoke more fights, but it does seem to. Cricket is very, very heavy on sportsmanlike conduct - even internationals applaud each others' successes (e.g. batsmen reaching 100) which is a good example to set. Maybe it's because the main protagonists are armed with dirty great bats, so it's even more important that fights don't break out because some could get badly hurt!? grin

mrsruffallo Wed 20-Aug-08 08:59:33

I hate the way they shout at the referee, don't see such behaviour in other sport

AbbaFan Wed 20-Aug-08 09:01:36

I have a feeling X will not be bothering your DS anymore, and he got what he deserved if you ask me.

I would be upset about the lying though, and think you are right to punish DS for that.

If I were you I would have a word with X's mum and tell her DS only lost his temper because of X's taunting.

Freckle Wed 20-Aug-08 09:04:24

A lot of it is to do with the rewards which come from football. At the top of the game, vast riches are available and some players will do anything to get there. This attitude can transfer to the pitch and there are some perfectly dreadful scenes being broadcast to all our children on a weekly basis. Children will imitate their teams' behaviour.

When football was a poorer sport, without so much at stake money-wise, it was a better behaved sport. When money makes its way on a similar scale into other sports, I suspect they'll go the same way unfortunately.

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