Nephew woes...

junebug1961November 7, 2004


I am not a parent, but looking to parents for some wisdom. My nephew is 6 years old and very small for his age. I don't know if this is because of genetic factors or because he was adopted at age two and was malnourished at the time. He is bright, but the size of a four year old. My sister and brother in law have him in Hockey lessons three days a week. I came to watch him play yesterday, and...he cried and whined non-stop the entire time his parents were decking him out in hockey gear that he did not want to go to Hockey. When he was put into the rink with the other kids, (much bigger, faster, than him) and skated laps around with everyone else, another kid kept trying to knock him down. My sister said that this kid does this at each lesson. During drills, my Nephew was very timid, the last to go each time, and was obviously unhappy and un-focused much of the time. After his hour long class was up, he was uncharacteristically quiet and crabby on the way home, while my sister told him he was the best skater-man in the world...My question is this...I understand that kids must do things that they don't want to do, ie;homework, chores, etc. but should my Nephew really have to do this? It makes more sense to me that my brother-in-law should take him out skating and help him develop some more skills and size before putting him in a situation like this. However...I don't have kids, and would like to hear your opinions before I say something to my sister. Please help.



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Some of the answers to your question depend on WHY he joined hockey. Did he join because he wanted to or becasue his parents wanted him to?

If it was becasue they wanted him to, then maybe it wasn't the best sport for him.

On the other hand, if he wanted to join, then he's made a committment to be ont he team and the lesson is that you've made a committment and really need to fulfill the committment.

That said, it also depends on how long the committment is, and how much he hates it. My oldest daughter wanted to try many sports, when it got too hard, she wanted to quit. I'd make her stay if it was only a handful more practices. If it'd been a year long committment, I'd still make her stay a while longer, to make sure she was REALLY sure she didn't like it.

Sometimes they want to give up because they've hit a hard part, but then once they get past that they love it.

Hockey is a big money investment for parents, but that shouldn't rule how long he should stay on the team if he really doesn't like it.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 12:45PM
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Hi Vickey...
His parents signed him up. When they knew that they wanted to adopt, they decided on a boy so that he would learn sports from his Dad. The little guy has a passion for beading necklaces and knitting, but so far has no interest in sports. This poor kid is so small, he must still be in a child's car seat while travelling. His parents did make a big investment, and now he is paying for it big time. I don't think I'll say anything though. His lack of enthusiasm is bound to get the message through clear enough. Thanks for your response.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 10:45PM
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I think I *would* say something. He's saying, over and over, and over, and they are NOT listening to him.

Be your nephew's mouth for him.

If you say it, maybe they'll listen to you. You might leave out the part about whether they should DO something, and just make comments about how HE feels.

Can't you say, "He seems to really not enjoy it. I have to say, I wouldn't either, to be in such a physical game with people who are bigger." And a week later, "he still doesn't like hockey, hm? He's been going to lessons for how long? Even after two months, he still hates it so much?"

Just sort of observations about his enjoyment, his state of mind, etc. Maybe they'll finally SEE it if someone else points it out.

I know w/ my sister, I could sit her down and say, "please listen to my point of view--remember that I love and admire you and BIL, and I love my nephew. I don't HAVE my own agenda, because he's not my kid. I'm totally and only HIS advocate here. He's miserable. He's in danger of getting hurt. It's not fun for him; it's constantly scary. Are you truly SEEING what his time is like out on the ice? Do you realize how much of HIS day, and how much of YOURS, it messes up? He's crabby before, miserable during, crabby after. Please pay attention to what he is trying to tell you.

"Give the kid a break--don't make him do this until he's physically ready. And, if you ARE going to make him do this, they for god's sake, do something to HELP him. Talk to the coach; make him stop that other kid. Get your son some ice time w/o the bigger kids around so he can solidify his skills!"

My sister would initially be affronted and a teeny bit pissed. But she would think about what I said. She also would not get SO mad that it would permanently ruin our relationship, esp. if I didn't keep nagging her and revisiting the situation.

And if I didn't try to say "I'm the expert on being a parent" but instead said "I'm a set of eyes with no "mom and dad's pride and expectations" filter."

And I would know that at least I had said something.

Only a very FEW times have I said something like this to her. I don't try to tell her "parenting truths" or "marriage truths" either; I just say, "in this situation, this is what it looks like to me, an outsider. These are the values I know you hold, and this doesn't match."

Because i'm not always butting in w/ my 2, she listens when I give her a quarter.

And geez, can't they talk to the COACH? What's he doing, letting this bigger boy repeatedly and deliberately knock this kid down? At the very least, suggest that to your sis!

And, why isn't the COACH saying, "your son is so much smaller that he's not getting the chance to learn how to use his body wisely; he's just trying so hard to stay in the game. Give him at least another year."

And, if you decide it would start WW3 if you said something, can YOU take your nephew out skating, so his basic skating skills get better? And maybe so he gets a chance to just enjoy skating, and see if he likes it?

Poor kid--what a message to get from your mom and dad: "I don't care if you're scared, or if someone continually hurts you. You have to do what I say anyway." That's not a great way to make your kid trust you! Activities like hockey are supposed to be at the very least mildly fun!

Most things, I just bite my tongue on. (though frankly, most of the time I don't even do that, I just notice that we approach stuff differently). But I think the fact that he's very likely to be scared, and that this is also setting the tone, very early in their relationship with him, about how much he can trust their judgment, and how much he can trust them to keep him SAFE.

I just read an essay by Wayne Gretzky; it's in a book called "raising boys" or something. He says, if your kid doesn't want to play hockey, let him go ride his bike! Wayne sez he played hockey all day long, when his friends wanted to do something else, because he LOVED it.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 12:39PM
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Talley Sue...
I loved your response. Thanks so much. I was feeling like I was just being a b*tch, but really...I spent time being picked on when I was little and it was horrible. He doesn't remotely want Hockey lessons. He told me he hates being cold, and this is a cold rink. Last year, his folks made him go out and sled with some other kids and he stood outside and cried until they let him back in. He loves swimming, and excels in it. He played with other kids when I took him to the park, so it's not a matter of socializing. I live a five hour drive away, so I am not really available to take him out skating. You are so right, his parents are not understanding that he hates this, and needs to get out. However, they paid a lot of cash for this activity, and I am not certain they will give up so easily, even if he hates it. The coaches had to coax him out for each drill, and he refused to "high five" them afterwards. I am certain that they understand that he is not ready. Thanks so much,

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 8:45PM
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