I asked my son to read yesterday’s post, especially the part about what kids want from their parents, and he told me I need to write a separate piece about the home life of a player and his Tennis Parent, so here goes.
Being the control-freak, Type A person that I am, this is a tough issue for me. I have a hard time letting things go, even when I know intellectually that it’s for the best. I talk a really good game, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and, well, truth be told, I could use a lot of work in this department. And, I do work on it – I go to yoga at least twice a week and work really hard on staying present and wiping all the negative stuff off my mat. And, I think I’m getting better. I mean, I’M GETTING BETTER (positive affirmations lead to positive changes, right?).
As I’ve mentioned before, my tennis player is my last kid at home – his sisters are living in Beverly Hills and Athens – so he gets my full attention almost all the time. That’s not necessarily a good thing. It means that, even though he’s perfectly capable of doing things like fixing his own breakfast or remembering to take his daily allergy medication, I butt in with <gasp> reminders or <gasp, gasp> actually cooking breakfast for him every morning.
He has told me several times that I need to back off.
I know I need to back off.
I’m having a really hard time backing off.
Here’s the scene: Monday morning. 6am. My alarm goes off. Son’s alarm goes off loud enough to wake the entire neighborhood. I get out of bed and head downstairs. Son’s alarm continues going off. I pour a cup of coffee then start making breakfast. Son’s alarm continues to go off. I finish making said breakfast. No sign of son. Son’s alarm continues going off. I yell up the stairs for him to come down to eat, but he can’t hear me because of 8000 decibel alarm. Breakfast gets cold. I get pissed. I yell upstairs again. Son finally turns off alarm and comes down, eats breakfast, showers, gets dressed, packs up bookbag, and walks out the door right on time.
Lesson I should be learning here? My kid is perfectly capable of getting himself up, dressed, fed, and out the door in time to get to school WITHOUT me getting all worked up. I should save my energy. I should trust my 15 year old to do the things he knows he needs to do.
And this isn’t just limited to getting up in the mornings. It’s also related to his tennis. In the past few weeks, I’ve been trying really hard to stay in the background as far as his tennis is concerned. He has asked me to let him decide which tournaments he wants to play (though he still wants me to be the one to go online and do the actual signing-up part). At his request, I’ve been letting him arrange warm-up partners during the tournaments and arrange match play on non-tournament weekends. He wants to be the one to check the tournament draws, first match times, and rankings, so I’ve backed off there, too.
He’s also had some recent injury and health issues, and I’m really trying to let him manage those things as well. I’m trying NOT to ask him if he’s done his physical therapy exercises or given himself his allergy shot. I’m trying NOT to ask him if he stretched before and after practice. I’m trying NOT to ask him what time he went to bed the night before.
Because I know I need to back off.
But I’m having a really hard time backing off.
Tags: guidance, junior competition, junior development, junior tennis, parenting, tennis