As we head to the rink for another game, I can feel worry growing in the pit of my stomach. How will he react to another loss? What if the team doesn’t play well? What if he lets his anxiety and perfectionism get the best of him?
What will I really say to the whisperers and onlookers when he starts to show his lack of emotional control on the ice? Lord knows I have played out the mama bear comebacks a million times in my head.
I’m sure you’ve been there, in the stands watching your son or daughter playing a game they love. Having fun and learning the fundamentals of team sports. Work together, support each other and learning that you don’t win every game.
But there is this one kid, reacting to every little mistake, shouting, waving his hands and wearing his frustration on his sleeve. Why can’t he just enjoy the game? Why is he so upset? So angry? Why can’t he just have fun?
What you and so many others may not know is my kid has ADHD. I know you are already rolling your eyes and thinking so what? He is hyper, can’t sit still and maybe doesn’t do well with school work. While these stereotypes may have truth to them here is what you really need to know and (hopefully) understand about kids with ADHD:
1. Kids with ADHD are typically lag 2-3 years in the development of their executive functioning. This means they are 2-3 years behind their “typical” peers when it comes to their ability to manage emotions.
2. ADHD’ers typically have trouble with working memory. This makes it hard for them to see the big picture. “winning isn’t everything. Be proud knowing you played your best”.
3. They live in the moment and can get stuck in whatever they are feeling at that moment. Their immediate emotion at the moment takes over their thinking
I know it can be hard to watch, coach, teach and understand our kids. they don’t mean to hurt feelings, they don’t want to be embarrassed or thought of as poor sports or bad kids. They are working really hard to learn more than just the game, they are learning how to master their passion.