The Great Soccer Battle

Olivia has learned that if she asks to do something, I will force her to follow-through, no matter what kind of tantrum she throws. This latest battle involved trying out for a spring soccer team.

Van and I were pleasantly surprised to see how much Olivia liked playing soccer. At 8, this was her first year playing on a team, and even though she was a soccer newbie and had to sit on the sidelines for nearly half the season due to a broken wrist, by the end of the season we saw a marked improvement. She must have figured out her soccer skills improved too because she told us she wanted to keep playing.  So when she came home from school earlier this week with a flyer advertising soccer tryouts, I asked if she wanted to do it. She said yes. I asked if she was sure. Once again, she vigorously nodded her head while saying, “Yes, Mommy. I want to do this. I want to do this.”  OK, kid you got it.

Of course when tryout day arrived, (yesterday) Olivia changed her mind. I think it had more to do with not wanting to get up off the couch where she had planted herself for a couple of hours, watching countless episodes of “So Random,” and “Good Luck Charlie” with her sisters. When I informed her she didn’t get to change her mind and had to get dressed in her soccer clothes, the water works and screaming started. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fun. I screamed as much as she did. I finally told her that if she didn’t go to tryouts, this would end her short-lived soccer career. That’s when with lots of stomping and yelling she marched off to her room to begrudgingly get dressed. Van missed most of the theatrics, and looked utterly bewildered when he came downstairs to see his eldest daughter in a fit of rage. He also got charged with the task of schlepping her to the tryouts.

When she got to tryouts, she apparently transformed into a new child. Gone were the tears and tantrum, replaced with smiles and giggles as she goofed off with friends. As far as the tryouts go, well Van reported back that she seemed kind of oblivious to the ball. She’s far from a star player, but she likes the game. How do I know? When she came back, she thanked me, yes thanked me for making her go to tryouts. That almost made the earlier hysterics worth it. Almost. Did I mention she’s only 8? Lord help me once she hits her teenage years.



One thought on “The Great Soccer Battle

  1. What a great description of a moment in “every day life” with children. Teaching children that they need to keep commitments are valuable learning lessons. To go into those adolescent years without the drama, I would offer that Mom needs to learn how to refrain from being “hooked” into being a participant in her daughter’s learning of life’s lessons. Without a lot of words, restate the commitment and then leave the audience. That’s right. Don’t argue. Prepare to go about meeting the commitment without the flinging of words or clothes. If the child refuses to accept that first step into meeting the commitment, then let her forego the opportunity. No words. No fuss. Life goes on. It is the lesson of responsibility and respect that your daughter needs to learn, which at this point is greater than the lesson on commitment to a soccer team. This will be extremely valuable as you head into the years that bring greater independence and resourcefulness.
    All the Best,

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