Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I think I am turning into one of THOSE mothers……

You know, you see them on the side-lines at every football/hockey/rugby match up and down the country barely able to contain themselves as they holler from the side-lines exhorting their Little Darlings to “Get in there! Get a move on! Pass! For Chissakes pass!”
Their Little Darlings look more like exhausted automatons desperately trying to live up to expectation and wear grim looks of determination rather than those of sheer exuberance and joy in the sport.
Their parents have had them playing since almost before they could crawl and have put them up for every coaching course going with the excuse “But he loves it.”
You politely ask when they showed such aptitude and you usually get it that they picked it up from Daddy who was once a very keen sportsman before he became prosperous in the City.
Quite how they picked it up when you know said Daddy would find it hard running for a bus let alone for a Rugby ball is beside the point. You just know that the child has had the talk and been shown the numerous team photographs of Daddy at his pre-prep school, which was lucky to field one let alone two teams with everyone in the school playing.
Or else you get the smug response: “I have no idea! Neither his father or I were very keen on sport.” Which basically means they were crap at school sports and never got in a team and now they are determined to make up for the omission.
The ignominy of being left out of not being good enough has marred them in some inexplicable way despite relative success in later life. They are determined to be one of the in crowd this time through their kids making it into the top team at the school or club. They are utterly ruthless.
In fact I fear I was nearly as bad. I chucked The Boy into extra hockey coaching over the summer so that he might stand a fighting chance of getting into the “B” team. I, of course, asked if he would like to play hockey, but only after he was signed up. And he sweetly said yes. But I didn’t really admit to myself that possibly I wanted him to be the “B” team rather more than he did. He would be happy just playing and talking to folk. In fact he talks to a lot of people and finds out loads of stuff when he should be watching the ball. It doesn’t matter to him all that much if he wins or loses until, that is, he sees us grown-ups then his smiles will disappear and he’ll go how horrid it was that the team lost again.
I bemoan the fact that he’d rather pick daisies than play and try to get people to laugh about it. I down play his abilities because I suppose I am disappointed he is in the bottom team at school and I have to get my head round that. My dreams of him being pushed into the A team because of his extra coaching and then having a stellar career on the field are just dreams and more importantly mine not his. He’d just like to have the occasional away match so he could nosey about at another school, meet loads more people and chat. For him sport at present is about having fun.
I keep forgetting how horrid it is to see pushy parents and how sorry I feel for those kids who land up loathing the thing they are actually quite good at...I need to learn a whole lot from my son.


Crystal Jigsaw said...

A really interesting post especially after I witnessed a rather ruthless mother last week at the riding stables where Amy goes. I 'almost' wrote a blog post about it but decided not to in the end. Her daughter, 8, is the size of a small whale and was riding a gorgeous little grey pony which I felt extremely sorry for. The girl was quite good but the mother never once smiled and said well done. Instead, she kept shouting from outside the arena "what you doing, you know that's not the right way..." it was pitiful. I had a very brief chat with the mother which confirmed my thoughts that the child had actually been scared by another pony and mother was determined to get her back in the saddle and into the local pony club. It was a case of "keeping up with the Jones's" if ever I've seen one.

Suffice to say, when the girl dismounted and walked towards her mother, frightened to death of the reaction she was going to get not to mention the lecture, I shouted over to her "you were brilliant on that pony, well done."

CJ xx

Diney said...

Yes it's very easy to get onto
'the dark side' with all the other pushy
parents as they make you like that by their very pushiness !! Fight it girl !! it's not easy, this parenting!!

Milla said...

Yes! Like CJ I've got one I've not posted - mine's about the filthy bloody kids! Since mine are older, the other kids are bigger, cockier and thoroughly products of their ghastly pushy parents! So hard NOT to get sucked in / stressed while pretending to be chilled!

Expat mum said...

I'm so glad my little one has virtually no interest in sports, although he is starting fencing this weekend. My older guy is on the golf team at school and we're not expected to go to the matches. I am however, spending this weekend at a Clash tribute concert. BUt i'm not really complaining about that.

Spencer Park said...

I posted along a similar line in the past (about me catching the competitive dad syndrome).

I loved football and was quite good at it but it was hard when I was compared with my cousin (we played in the same team) by my grandfather (who was like a second father to me and played football to a very high level). Fortunately, both my cousin and I were a disappointment it would have been harder if one of us wasn't!

Rob-bear said...

I don't think you're one of Those parents. You've just has a brief mental blip.
Just relax, show up for the games, clap at the appropriate times, and shout the occasional, "Well done."
Yeah; that'd be about right.

Abi said...

But you recognise the difference between his ambitions and your ambitions for him. And if you stopped having ambitions for him you'd stop being creative about the things you encourage and allow him to experience, and then where would he be?

CJ - Pony club mothers have been a feature of my life for many years officiating at events. Terrifying creatures...

Suburbia said...

Your son sounds healthily laid back and grounded. Good for him :-)
( I always hated sport at school!)

Tattie Weasle said...

CJ - the horsey lot are indeed terrifying! So glad you told the little girl how well she did!
Diney - it's scary how strong the pull of the dark side is! But I will prevail...
Milla - oMG yes! They are vile aren't they? Full of their own consequence and so keen to find fault with those different from them. So sad...
Expat mum - we are expected at matches but not necessarily the away ones however it is those ones where the kids actually want you to cheer them on, as I hasten to say it is cheering and not telling them what to do!
Spencer park - I fear I was a bit of a disappointment too but being as I was at boarding school my parents never came to see just how much of a disappointment I was sports wise!
Rob- bear - as long as it is just a mental blip!
Abi - you see that's the other side of the coin being able to push ones offspring into doing things they then enjoy! This parenting lark his such a nightmare!
Subrubia - he is, no idea where he gets it from, certainly not me!

Marcheline said...

I don't have kids, so you are clearly free to ignore me on this, but I used to be a kid, so I have at least a one-sided good take on it, I think.

There is a huge difference between being a bad parent (forcing your kids to live the life you wish you had lived) and being a parent who cares enough to encourage them to stretch their wings and do things, TRY things, even if they don't end up doing them forever.

Most kids will happily sit in front of the television eating junk food every afternoon if they are allowed to. There is nothing wrong with cracking the whip a bit and getting them signed up for sports or other activities, so long as they are not being derided, like that poor girl on the pony.

When I was young, I was so horse crazy I would have ridden a fence post if someone put a saddle on it. My folks let me take horseback riding lessons, and I was also lucky enough to take gymnastics and dance lessons - for a time.

The big push came with the piano lessons. I started those when I was very young, and my parents put their feet down collectively and said I was going to take piano until I was out of high school, end of story. I was not allowed to quit.

While I did not become a concert pianist, those lessons taught me dedication, perseverance, and how to actually play the piano, and read music, which I can still do to this day.

Because I can read music, I also picked up the guitar and several other instruments on my own - again, not for glory, but for my own enjoyment.

I guess what I'm saying is that being strongly encouraged by one's parents can teach one a lot of great life lessons. As long as the journey is the important thing, and not some end-game goal like being a "star".

Go on you know you want to...


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