Q: My son is 5, and is very shy and quiet. He loves to play t-ball and asked for me to sign him up for soccer this year. well we've started soccer and he's scared of getting hurt and will cry for 20-30 mins of the hour game. I'm at my wits end and am just stuck on what to do! One thing that concerns me is that me and his dad got a divorce last year, but we have a good relationship with each other because of my son.

A: I know that for many parents it is difficult to allow their children to "back out" of a commitment to a team, but the number one answer to this question is to stop soccer.  Your son is 5 years old and there will be many opportunities ahead to teach him about the value of following through on his commitments.  If he has attended several games and has had the same reaction repeatedly, it will likely harm him more to have his feelings ignored and continue being forced to participate than it will to simply allow him to stop playing.  Although I doubt this is a divorce related problem, for all children, especially children of divorce, it is very important that they feel their parents listen to them and value their emotions.  This does not mean that you should never encourage him to challenge himself to confront and move beyond his fears, but it does mean that if you've tried this path and you're all at your wits end, it is time to respect his feelings and don't force him to continue.  It is not worth it for any of you.

Answered by Jeff Palitz, MFT



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