29 answers

Should I Make My Son Play Football

Hi Moms and Dads, My son wanted to play football, so I signed him up. We are in the starting of the second week. It has been 1 1/2 hour of everyday hard training (which he was told it would be) He has handled it pretty good but they played 2 or 3 nights in the pouring rain. By the end of the week I had to take him to the doctor.He had to miss 2 practices because he had strep throat. The day he went back they were practicing there tackling. Now these are 11, 12, 13, year olds. This is my sons first year, he is 11. When he got up there to tackle he wasn't aggressive enough and the couch freaked out. He grabbed him by the mask on his helmet and started shaking his head all over the place while he was screaming and yelling for about 2 minutes. I no there trying to teach them how to be aggressive but now my son refuses to play. It really freaked him out. I don't want to make him play, but, I don't want him to be a quiter. Also this is his first year at middle school and he is Dyslexic. His reading and writing is at 2ND grade level and he is going to have to work harder at his work than most. I'm mad at myself! I never should of signed him up but i didn't realize it was going to be an everyday thing. I think his school is more important. Am I teaching him to be a quiter? My family is really upset with me. They all played football and cannot believe I'm not making him. What do i do???

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So What Happened?™

Ladies, Thank you so much for your support. I did not make him play football. We were told it was a rough sport, but i did not realize it was so hard core at this age. Yes I was standing there and saw the whole thing. I was in shock, a few minutes later he walked off the field and we did not go back. Regardless of the sport I do not feel any one has the right to treat a child or person in that way. That is not teaching my son sportsmanship! And My family can just get over it!

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Hi D.- My son started football this year too. This is a very agressive situation and I don't think every kid is cut out for that. If my son would ever come to us and say he did not want to play we would let him stop. Football is a whole different animal!!! My son also has a few struggles in school. In my mind school comes first. Sorry you have to deal with family that does not understand. He is not a quitter-it is just not for him.

While I'm normally not in favor of letting kids quit activities left and right, I think in this case you wouldn't be wrong to let him quit. It sounds like the coach's expectations are way out of line with the ages of the kids -- these are kids who should be learning some basic skills and having FUN. This sounds like anything but fun. I would be really mad if a coach ever did that to my kid. In my opinion, the most important thing kids can get from sports is self-esteem and with a coach like that he'll likely loose self-esteem rather than gain it.

What will he learn if he stays in football, and what will he learn if he stops? My thought is that he'll be much better off, heading into adolescence, if he has a mom/grandma that he can trust to hear his side of things and will respond and support him. He might be fine in football with a different coach, but he didn't know this one was going to be abusive. Sticking with something when the going gets tough should be saved for things that he is passionate about doing no matter what. It is not for things that he wants to stop doing. I've heard stories of so many boys who were miserable in a sport that was not right for them, just because they loved their parents and wanted to please them.

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D.,

I don't think you are teaching him to be a quitter; you are teaching him to prioritize his life. Now if he asked you to sign him up for every opportunity that came and then begged to quit a few weeks later because it was boring or he didn't know anyone on his team or he found something he liked better then, yes, make him stick with it until the end of the season. But this is different. We live in a society that believes we have to do everything and be everything and it is crowding out the most important things and people in life. Kids are totally overscheduled and it's taking it's toll on their health and well being. If football isn't in your son's best interest, pull him out.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like a pretty extreme situation. I've never been involved with football, but I wouldn't want my child to be treated like that. Did your son initially want to play football because "everyone else in the family has done it" or because he liked it?

I would let him stop, and maybe he can find a different activity that he would enjoy being part of. I don't think this is teaching him to be a quitter. He gave it a try and obviously he is not having fun.

I think school comes first! Don't get good grades you don't get far. He is only 11, wait till he is older for the football it isn't going anywere.

Oh wow I would talk to your son and see if in a week that is what he really wants- he can try again next year if he wants to.

Talk to the coach but don't get all offensive, be sincere and have him hear you out, while you hear what he has to say.

YOur son is who matters the most!

Although I don't like what the coach did that is football and is good for boys. He's gonna have to deal with aggressive jerks the rest of his life.

My daughgter had a soccer coach like that and she would come home in tears. I felt like reporting him but I didn't. I felt like letting her quit but I didn't. I look back on it now like wow the coach was a complete jerk but... he did make my daughter a incredible soccer player and she now a few years later is kicking everyones butt at soccer and it really goes back to her old mean jerky coach.

So I wouldn't make your son quit football. I would have him tough it out a bit more.

Hello D.! Allowing him to quit is a good thing! My brother was in the same position, only he was the smallest 11 year old wrestler on the team. The coach tortured him and had the other players rough him up....my brother ended up with a broken collar bone. My mom immediately took him out of wrestling and was ostracized by the community and laughed at by the school. But she didn't care. She KNEW what was right! YOU are doing the right thing!

My nephew and neices play tennis. They love their sport and they love their coaches. They are pushed but NEVER abused. If that is what football is about then football sucks.

Good job Mom! Stick by your convictions and file a report! Sounds like Coach could use some anger management classes.

I hope you don't force your son/grandson to play football. Surely there are better things he can do with his time after school, like getting extra help with his reading and\or swim team. Sorry to hear your family is really upset with you, but they need to get their priorities in check. It is okay to sign up for something and then change your mind about it. People do that all the time. I think especially because his reading level is so low, focusing on violent sports right now isn't going to help him. I've never liked football, I think it teaches boys to be agressive and lose touch with their feelings. Spend your freetime with him after school talking about college, and touring colleges. Give him a door to his future, and help him close that football window.

Hi D.- My son started football this year too. This is a very agressive situation and I don't think every kid is cut out for that. If my son would ever come to us and say he did not want to play we would let him stop. Football is a whole different animal!!! My son also has a few struggles in school. In my mind school comes first. Sorry you have to deal with family that does not understand. He is not a quitter-it is just not for him.

Did you see this happen yourself? I mean did you see the coach shake his head all over with his helmet? I don't think a coach would do that even at the high school level, and especially not in front of a parent. If the coach did actually act this way, then if you can even get him to go to practice again, have your husband or an uncle stay at practice with him. No moms please! We moms are way too emotional to handle a rough sport like this, lol.

We had an LD son also, he was in Tae Kwon Do and earned his black belt, though it took him longer to go thru the belts than other kids.

Many times an LD child excels at a sport. Or even most sports, and is one place they can really shine amongst their peers. No one cares if you don't read well, or if you have a hard time in math, if you're really good at a sport.

If your son was really freaked out by this coach, then no one can make him play, regardless if you keep sending him. I would keep trying for a while longer, but be open to some other sport, art or music for him to really glow at. LD kids are usually gifted at something. Just keep trying to find something he likes and cares about. Maybe there's another sport, or even another activity that your son hasn't discovered yet.

Personally I would report the coach to the princpal and the school board. He is not teaching agression but violence. It is a well known fact that a player will be fouled and possibly benched if he grabs another player's helmet or facemask because the act of grabbing the facemask can beak a player's neck. this man should not be working with children.
Since your son is dyslexic is would have him take music and martial arts. Kids who play music do better in math and kids who do martial arts do better with dyslexica and ADD.

wow 1st of all i wouldve had a serious talk with the coach...you need to do what you feel is best an really-why force him if hes now terrified??..also i think they get just a bit carried away with these kids in football..isnt it suppose to be for the fun an love of the game??..i really think thats why alot of jocks become bullies...your family is angry?? so...let them be...your the one dealing with all the issues.and with his learning issues-football will not give him a chance to study.his education comes 1st an foremost..hes only 11-if in the future he wants to become a football star-fully support him-for now-let him be a 11 yr old kid.good luck

Mothers have this wonderful insite of knowing what is right and what is wrong in raising their children. I agree that school is important and so is social interaction. If your son has shown signs that football is causing issues with his schoolwork I would pull him out faster than a heartbeat. On the otherhand if he is wanting to quit just because the couch got in to him I would certainly tell him he must try it again. Explain that life is going to give him challenges and he will need to find those to challenge back and those to walk away from.

D. - yes, that is football. My husband played football all thru his young years going into high school. He was offered a full ride for footbal but chose to go a different route.

I would sit down and talk to your son very honestly about football and the reaction of the coach. Tell him that many, many football coaches teach players in that manner. Help him to process this as being "normal" to football. I understand not wanting him to quit in the middle of the season, I think it's important to follow thru with what you started. It will be important for his character in the long run. But forcing him to go is also very difficult. Help him to make the decision.

BTW - when our son played football as a 4th and 5th grader he was smaller than most boys and really got beat up on the field. He decided not to play as a 6th grader and has never gone back. To my husband's credit, he never forced him to play!

Good luck

My husband thinks the coach's behavior might be football, but I think the coach is out of line. The football team at the middle school I teach at were the district champs last year and they're coached by the sweetest guys imaginable. Not one of them would dream of acting that aggressively with a player or a child. In addition, our coaches make academics a priority-- one practice a week is "academic practice" where the coaches, all teachers, work with the boys on their homework and make sure they're all caught up and understanding the material. I met almost weekly when one of the coaches last year, as he advocated for my support for one of his players. So it is totally possible for a team to have good guys coaching and still succeed. A compromise might be seeing if you can find a better team, or maybe a team that still plays touch and not tackle. But if he doesn't want to play, that's okay too.

Let him quit. You are not raising a "quitter"...you are teaching him that he can be whatever he wants to be, and if he doesn't want to be a football player, then he can be something else. Maybe he will try 20 different things in the next 7 years, and so many more things in his lifetime...that's okay. It will show him that he can try different things and not feel bad about it. Let him see what he likes the best and encourage him to pursue his dreams- not what everyone else thinks he "should" do.

No way! Sports should be fun. It's not like he wanted to quit after the first practice; he stuck it out longer than I would have. If he's not enjoying himself, tell him you're proud of him for giving it a good try and let him know he can start again when he's ready.
On a side note, I understand the coach wants his players to be aggressive, but I would have freaked out if any adult was that physical and abusive with my 11-year-old.

in this particular case, quitting is not the problem, it is the problem of your son's personality not really being acceptable to the aggressiveness of football.

kids who i think should play football are kids who are ok with coaches yelling in your face. im telling you, every game you are going to get hollared at for plays and misc, it gets confusing and complicated, and some kids just cant handle it, and that is OK! :D your son is old enough that i would think he has a real reason for quitting and isnt just quitting because he doesnt like it, he honestly does not have a personality that can deal with that kind of aggressiveness.

let him try other things that hes interested in, if he likes something enough, he wont let that kind of situation stop him from doing it you know?

good luck

I have always had the rule of when you start something, you finish it out and if you don't want to next year, you can choose before hand not to. This helps if it is still new enough that they haven't learned enough to make it fun and once they get to know the game they love it. Your situation is a bit different and you handled it a lot better then I would have. A teacher.. coach... any adult should never put his hands on someone elses child and for that alone I wouldn't push him finishing out the season. I would also make a complaint, first to the coach then to the principal and if need be to the school board. Some coaches are agressive and that can become abusive in explosive situations. One coach grabbed my nephew around the neck and pushed him up against the wall. I would have had his head on a platter (and did when my son had a run in with him), but my brother didn't do anything about it. The coach was wrong and shouldn't get away with it. Football isn't about agression, it is about challenges, stratagy and most of all enjoyment.

Pardon my rough language, but HELL NO, don't make him go back to that team. IF he EVER gets interested in football again it needs to be different team/league and definitely a different coach. You want a coach that encourages them to do their best, learn the game rules and stategies, learn team work, learn good sportsmanship, enjoy the workout; the behavior you described is NOT what you want for your grandson, unless you are either trying to make him terrified or a bully. Please do explain to him what the coach was trying to accomplish but that you think that learning the rules of the game and good sportsmanship and how to work as part of a team are much more important.

Do try to keep him active physically, though, through time at the park, maybe gymnastics, working with a church sponsored league, skating, riding, hiking, swimming.

He sounds like a good kid. Try to avoid making it sound like you are pulling him out of football because of his dyslexia or learning issues. That's a separate issue from sports. . .

I think pressuring him to play is one of the best ways to make him hate the game. I would give it a rest. This happened with my son last year and I let him decide to not play and it was the best decision! It took an entire source of conflict out of the picture so I could focus on the things that are NOT negotiable (like HOMEWORK!) Good luck!

While I'm normally not in favor of letting kids quit activities left and right, I think in this case you wouldn't be wrong to let him quit. It sounds like the coach's expectations are way out of line with the ages of the kids -- these are kids who should be learning some basic skills and having FUN. This sounds like anything but fun. I would be really mad if a coach ever did that to my kid. In my opinion, the most important thing kids can get from sports is self-esteem and with a coach like that he'll likely loose self-esteem rather than gain it.

Hello!

As an educator myself, I just want to second all of the opinions you've received so far.

1.) Education needs to come first.

2.) You are not raising a "quitter" - you are teaching him to stand up for himself and make decisions that are in his best interest.

3.) YOU are the one who knows what is best for your son and if your "football family" makes remarks, feel free to ignore them and stand tall knowing that you and your son have made a good decision for him and his future.

4.) That coach was WAY out of line and truly needs to be reported. I mean it! Especially if he is working for a public school system. Coaches and sports can actually ENHANCE a player's academic performance if they are good and supportive. This man is obviously NOT.

I wish you and your son the best of luck. Every child faces some challenges in school (especially middle school) but with such a supportive MOM on his side, your son can overcome anything - even dyslexia and a horrible coach!

What will he learn if he stays in football, and what will he learn if he stops? My thought is that he'll be much better off, heading into adolescence, if he has a mom/grandma that he can trust to hear his side of things and will respond and support him. He might be fine in football with a different coach, but he didn't know this one was going to be abusive. Sticking with something when the going gets tough should be saved for things that he is passionate about doing no matter what. It is not for things that he wants to stop doing. I've heard stories of so many boys who were miserable in a sport that was not right for them, just because they loved their parents and wanted to please them.

The same exact thing happened to my son when he was your sons age. The coach was very tough on some of the kids. My son did finish the season but never played football again. He chose tennis and volleyball.(he is now 20 and still plays those sports) I would talK to the coach alone and then with your son. Talk to other parents too. He will find a sport that he likes better.

I wouldn't make him play if he doesn't want to cause all that will do is make him hate the sport even more and just give him some time cause you never know he might want to give it a try again. The other thing you have to remember is that footballs not the only sport out there. I married into a die hard football family and I also have a little boy, but I would want him to be happy before anyone else. My husband coaches little league football and some of those coaches think there NFL coaches and should watch how they talk to kids! I wish y'all luck!

I agree with the responders who call this coach's behavior abusive. I would take him out and try another sport. Does your son have any interest in Martial Arts? I am a student of Karate along with my 7 year-old daughter. I'm also a Psychology student and have found research that shows martial arts to be effective for children with Dyslexia (and ADD/ADHD). It also builds self-confidence and assurance in handling situations.

Hi D., Sorry that you are in such a difficult situation. If it were my son, I would pull him out and never look back. Not to mention, I would report that coach to the league or whoever he is affiliated with. There is a reason there is more than one sport/activity in the world. Not everyone enjoys the physical contact of football. I have found that a great way to introduce my boys to a variety of sports is through the YMCA. We've tried soccer, t-ball, baseball, football, swimming, gymnastics, etc. It is an inexpensive way and the sessions only last about 6 weeks. If it isn't a good fit for my kids and they hate it, I let them stop. My boys have found their favorite activities after trying a wide variety and they couldn't be happier. They wouldn't dream of quitting their favorite sport now, even though I let them stop going to plenty that they just didn't enjoy. As a child, my parents made me continue with plenty of activities that THEY wanted me to be involved in and to this day, I still think about it. Give your son the opportunity to quit if it isn't for him. He will know that he can tell you how he really feels about things and that you will support him no matter what. As far as the rest of the family, they will get over it. Good luck to you.

I would sit down and have a serious talk with your son. If you both feel that he was abused by the coach and he doesn't want to play anymore, it would be wrong for you as a parent to make him play.

I feel for you. I always make my girls finish anything they start but in this case I don't think it would help him. Not everyone, even in a big football fan family, is cut out for football. I think would try to get him in another fall sport for the discipline and to complete a committment. Best wishes for finding the correct way to handle this.

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