We had a lazy morning today, after lounging around until 11am, we finally got ready and headed down to the Health Club to go and play Squash! Those that know me, know that I have very recently started playing squash (I still don’t know the rules of the game, and I still can’t hit the ball every time, but it’s fun so I’m going to carry on!) so I was excited when I realised that there were squash courts at Ribby Hall, and that children were allowed to play! I asked T whether he was up for having and go, and he said yes which was great!
The lady on reception was really nice, supplied us with our equipment and guided us to our court. We started playing (i.e. hitting the ball, missing it and nearly falling over) and I could sense that T was getting really frustrated every time he missed the ball. I started encouraging him, and laughing at myself when I unintentionally missed the ball, but his frustration was growing. He ended up throwing his bat down and sitting on the floor refusing to play – this was 10 minutes into the game! I let him be for a while and started playing wallie (like I did in the 80’s with a tennis ball and racket on my neighbours wall!) this inspired him to join in again, until he missed the ball, which resulted in him getting even more frustrated and sitting down again!
I have to be honest here, I have no idea what to do when I see him struggling like this, part of me wants to tell him to just get on with it (I don’t) and the other part of me feels really sad and responsible for what looks to me like a lack of confidence. Overall I start doubting myself as a parent. Do I need to change how I am? Is it because he’s an only child? Do I not do enough to help him? Do I need to just let him be? These are some of the questions that have been going through my mind today and after some lovely feedback and recommendations from some lovely Mothers on Instagram (you know who you are!) I’ve come to this conclusion…
I had an expectation that T was going to love squash as much as I did when I first played it – for whatever reason he didn’t. It doesn’t mean that I’m a bad parent, nor that he has serious issues that are going to get worse. It just means that I need to let my expectations go. He is who he is, and he figures things out in his own way, in his own time and has done this on many occasions with other activities he regularly partakes in (most recently Archery yesterday – he loved it!). I cannot protect him from everything, including his own feelings about anything at any given time – nor can I expect him to be ‘happy’ and engaged in absolutely everything I introduce him to! All I can do is what I do naturally, and keep positive, remind him that it’s ok to feel the way he does, and encourage him fully when he’s enjoying doing something.
We decided to leave our holiday a night earlier than planned, it was a joint decision as we’d done pretty much all of the activities on offer and it made sense to get ourselves home instead of rushing about for check out in the morning. T was ridiculously helpful, he cleaned the floors, packed the clothes away, and then packed everything in the car (while I was on the loo!) – all without asking, which blew my mind! He was very happy that he’d done all of this without me asking him, which shows to me that he likes to be self sufficient and take responsibility, rather than being given it, so this is what I’m going to praise and encourage. Right now I’m going to try and figure out ways that I can facilitate this ‘self sufficiency’. If you’re reading this and can offer any pearls of wisdom, advice or input, please do leave a comment! 🙂