Am I Overreacting?: Good Morning All, I... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Am I Overreacting?


Good Morning All,

I have a 10 year old son that has been diagnosed with combined type ADHD and 2 types of anxiety. I had a scenario that came about this week that I need outside perspectives on.

My son plays competitive soccer at a very high level. He is technically skilled at a very high level, but often struggles with his reaction when things don’t go the way he wants. Very typical of ADHD kids. Where I am having the issue is the way his coach interacts with him. Here is the scenario

My son had an overemotional reaction to not having a great practice- he started crying because he didn’t know how to manage his feelings at that moment. His coach saw him crying and pulled him aside. He then asked my son how old he was- continued to scold him about being ten years old and that tying was embarrassing and to grow up. This immediately made my son feel worse-

I as his supportive mom got really angry when he told me on the drive home. I came home and talked to my husband about the situation. He got angry at me for being upset about it. He didn’t feel like the coach handled the situation incorrectly for a child with ADHD and severe anxiety.

Am I overreacting?????

16 Replies

Thanks for this message, we mom's will always want the best for our kids.

There are a few things here to think about. The first is, coaches are typically never trained in dealing with kids with any type of need. This doesn't excuse the coach acting like that, but when you don't know any better. There are many new styles of teaching coaches how to work with kids better. The other hard thing is you are not the coaches boss, you could speak to the higher ups and recommend more training to the coach. I am sure you have already thought about if you say something to the coach, will there be repercussions for your son.

The second thing is, are you using any tools to help your son learn how to deal with his emotions? Is he in counseling? I really recommend this for him. If not could you do some role playing with social stories?

Then lastly is your son taking any medication to help him control his emotions?

Hope these suggestions help.

Onthemove1971- I have talked with the coach on multiple different occasions to help him to understand my son a bit more. I am not asking for him to treat him differently, but to be a bit more sensitive with what he says. My son has therapy 1x per week and is taking medication daily. I have also went through the patent CBT classes to further help him navigate his ADHD.

Sounds like you guys are doing the best you can. Your other choice is to find another team in another town and move him.

Honestly, we have been there! Our son plays high level competitive sports ( like he is a freshman and they are having him practice with variety) . Our son is 14 years old and has been in sports since he was 4 years old. I don't want this to sound bad, but we chose to not move him.

We felt like in life we have all encountered mean people and we worked with our son and tried to give him the skills to deal with this. But some parents would move their kids. Unfortunately the coach is not going to change and you will find more coaches like this then outstanding ones. This is the same experience with teachers in school, usually they don't talk like that but we have had really bad teachers. Even when we have asked we were not given a new teacher. Most of the bad teachers were in middle school. Worse years of our lives!!

Hope talking about this helps.. been there. It has gotten better.

That is good to hear. I have no plans to move him, I just more want advice on whether I was overreacting by being so upset about it. Thanks for the advice.

Hi. My opinion is that you are not overreacting by feeling the way you do. You get to fell how you feel. I always feel like my job as a Dad is to prepare my son to survive without me. Even as an adult, we are faced with people like that coach. I think of college and high school jobs. There was always someone in "authority" with inferior intelligence who thought they had it all figured out. What got me through was self esteem and confidence, to know that I had value and that my emotions, thoughts and actions were fine and that my worth was not determined by the perception of others. I have tried to focus my attention and efforts on helping my son develop self esteem and confidence so that when faced with a situation like your son with a coach who just doesn't get it, he knows that it's the actions of the coach and not his actions which are embarrassing. I recall as a child and teenager pitying people for how badly they must feel about themselves to treat others that way. My son knows that I think that he (and his mom) are the best people on the planet. I try to teach him that when others are as nice as he is it is a blessing, but that expecting it is unrealistic. It's funny, but when I get angry with how adults have treated him (like I am sure you were about the coach) he reassures ME that the person meant well but that they don't understand that their words are hurtful. I see him pitying people for their inability to be as nice as they should be and then I know that he will be ok without me. To make an analogy, it's like I can't stop the gunfire, but I can buy an armored car, so my son is safe. I hope this makes sense. What I mean to say is that for a boy, self esteem and confidence are armor against a world we cannot control. You may find efforts to "fortify" your son more successful (and more calculated to equip him for success) than seeking to change the behavior of the coach (or any other adult).

Then go in your basement and call the coach names under your breath. It's cathartic!!

I don’t think you’re over reacting - I would do the same. All you want from the football coach is some understanding of his different needs. Does the coach know he has adhd and what that means (eg more extreme reactions). We had this with my daughter’s climbing instructor and when he realised, he gave her a job to do as soon as she had failed at something so it was quick (eg, that didn’t work, now try this). The parent CBT sounds amazing - I don’t think we have that in the Uk. Good luck! 😍

I don’t think you’re overreacting at all. I like the previous poster’s suggestion about talking to the organization about training. Many sports organizations are increasing their awareness of how to support athletes’ mental health and well-being, so maybe you could inquire about whether yours has a plan? I also wonder if emailing the coach a link to a brief evidence based article on supporting kids different social emotional behavioural needs in sport might increase his sensitivity on this issue. Sometimes it sinks in more reading about it rather than hearing about it.

I know you just asked for opinions on whether you were over reacting but just adding a couple of comments in the midst. I would have felt the same as you.

Thank you! Great idea

I had a similar situation with my son. His basketball coach screamed at him in front if everyone for fidgeting while he was talking. Mind you this was near the time his medication wears off. I was offended because i know to some degree, he can’t control it. Don’t forget that our kids’ brain development is around 3 years younger than chronological age. Most people don’t understand our kids issues as physical

Screaming at my son for fidgeting would get me pissed, scolding a 10 year old for crying. I'm not sure. My husband would have reacted the same way with our son as the coach did and he is only 7. They do need to learn to roll with the punches and not to cry at the drop of a hat. We work on that alot with my son, having proper emotional reactions.

Then there is the flip side where your son could have throw a bat or a huge tantrum and then I'm like, so what if he cried a little. Knowing the chaos our kids are capable of makes the crying seem minor to us but to others it seems like a bigger deal. I do agree that you should leave him on the team. He needs to learn to deal with people like this. I'd bring up the situation with his therapist. We do CBT, if that's what he's doing the therapist and he could role play situations like these. Hang in there Mamma!

Klmamma in reply to Klmamma

My mom constantly stepping into things like this with my brother. He got a full ride football scholarship and quit bc "his coach was a jerk". That's how coaches are in my experience. I'm still pissed that my brother threw away that free college education bc he couldn't deal with an asshole coach. You're not always going to have the teacher you want, coach you want, boss you want. It's a sad part of life, but I think he will come out of this stronger if you give him the tools to deal with people like this now.

Lindsay3411 in reply to Klmamma

He is doing CBT therapy every week! I guess I see such a difference in him- before therapy he would have melted down and takin himself out of the game totally. So a minor cry is just that MINOR. He is so sensitive and it hurts my heart.

The way my mind is set up l would be angry and probably hitting the wall... by the way i was talking about how people are using goat milk to reverse adhd and a lady on Facebook said she used raw camel milk to heal her son

Baldy. Please keep us advised on that camel milk thing. I would love to learn that my son doesn't need a physician who completed a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in child neurology, doesn't need accommodations at school, doesn't need a tutor, doesn't need the private school he just switched to, doesn't need the life style modifications and support we provide at home and doesn't need meds but rather could be cured by drinking raw camel milk, but right now I am a bit skeptical. I really hope that you and the lady on Facebook are right. Please let me know how that goes. I could really use some good news these days. I will buy a camel and milk it myself!

I appreciate the comments from all the parents who are struggling with similar makes me feel not so alone in this journey! I agree to some extent that our children will need to learn how to deal with people who dont understand them or their needs but it is heartbreaking to witness or hear about these negative experiences especially when it happens at such young ages. We experienced similar situation with a teacher at school who would got frustrated with my daughters separation anxiety and talked down to my daughter in similar fashion "how old are you?" "you're a big girl arent you?" " do you see any other 6 year olds acting like this?" It made my heart ache as my daughter experienced such shame, what a tough year as my daughter was distressed over having a trusted adult treat her in such a manner and also recognizing she is so different than her peers. I know we are all aware of the impact these experiences have on our children, and advocating for their right to be treated in a respectful manner just like their peers is a tough job but necessary to educate those who are not in the know or who need reminding. These messages of shame have greater impact than just in those moments, contributing to larger self-esteem issues and negative beliefs about self-worth and shaping who they come to believe themselves to be. Its tough. I know you will trust your gut and do what you know is best for your child....if we wont stand up in shaping a better future for them then who will??

Lindsay3411 in reply to Skapfam

Skapfam- you are not alone! I worry so much especially because my son was just diagnosed with depression and said some pretty scary things for a mom to hear. He is being medicated now, but I can’t help but think all of these types of situations along with COVID, had contributed to him feeling really really bad about himself. Keep an eye on your little one and keep fighting for her.

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