Fork in road..need opinions!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by serenityprayer, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    Hi to all & Hugs to all!!!!!!!! :D

    Ive tried hard not to hit this fork in the road...but here we are and I can not ignore it anymore:confused:. difficult child is doing better....the risperdal & depakote are surely stabilizing him and we are on the right track with his bipolar medications, etc. My problem lies with his karate class. He has been practicing karate now for a few years.....the last year he has not wanted to go anymore. He has giant tantrums before going to class and does not enjoy the competition.

    His sensei (teacher) wants him to test for a higher level belt this Saturday...which is usually a very welcomed & excited/happy event for my difficult child. However, this last week he does not want to go to class again & the last couple days he says he does not want to test for the new belt, nor does he even want it. Yesterday my husband who is also bipolar, was having a stressful day...his mood was out of control...and he told difficult child he could quit karate and that he was done fighting him on it. I did not appreciate this due to the fact it was a very impulsive decision & I was not involved in it. This has been a struggle for about a year now.

    Anyhow......difficult child and I had a talk this morn about it and he truly does not want to do it anymore. He says it makes his anxiety worse thinking he is going to get punched in the face and he has been sitting out in sparring. I am thinking the teacher asked him to test for his new belt in hopes of motivating him, but no matter how hard I try to get him to want to continue...he just doesn't want to. He says he wants to try other sports (weve tried basketball pre-stabilizing and he just screamed/cried & did not want to go but that was years ago). One of our main problems with-difficult child is his associated bipolar anxiety.

    I am worried this will start a cycle of quitting that will last a lifetime if he quits karate. Then again, I wonder if I am just holding onto a dream that difficult child will be something he just is not. I think I will have to call his sensei and talk to him about it. Maybe if we quit and he decides he wants to return...he can go back...but I doubt difficult child will want to return. I think I may be wrestling with my own self on not wanting to let go of my dream that he will do well at something & stick with it. Maybe I am even more worrried about continued humiliation by my family who is very unsupportive of difficult child and our family. My parents & sister are very sports oriented & sister is very competitive, bragging to the extreme of her own kids in sports, etc..

    I dont know what to do so I am praying about it and I thought I would come here where all of you truly understand how relevant these types of decisions are. However, maybe I dont need to sweat the small stuff and this is small stuff? I just want to make the right choices so he can succeed but it is very hard when I have a bipoalr husband making rash and impulsive decisions for me.......I feel like it is all a losing battle sometimes.

    Do I let him quit & try something else...or Do I keep him doing it & fight the tantrums? I think I know the right answer but its just so depressing. 3 years of hard work down the drain:sad-very:. Judgement and gossip of me behind my back for allowing him to quit....rude comments from my family to come, etc. Sometimes its just too much to bare even though I have limited our time with them all. I wish I did not care what others thought....I am growing and working on this area of myself. Instead of trying to hide my weakness...I thought I would expose it and get others opinions too.

    Thanks to you all.......I have the utmost respect & admiration for all of you who are fighting wayyyyyy harder battles then this!

    God Bless U All!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh SP...I can understand why you would feel the pressure from a family who is very competitive in sports but I had to scroll down to read your sons age. He is 9. He still has lots of time to find his niche in an area where he fits and can excel and stick with it. It may not be sports. Maybe it will be chess or computers or art.

    If karate is causing him this much anguish then I would allow him to quit. Maybe later he will want to go back. Maybe later he will want to find something that is a single person sport such as swimming or skiing or skating or something else. Who knows, maybe you have the future moguls skier there who does it one on one. He just doesnt like team or contact sports.

    He just needs to find what makes him happy. Not what makes his aunt and uncle happy. They dont have to live with his tantrums.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think I would approach it this way: go thru the practices this week and try out on Sat., then think about it on Sunday. If you still want to quit on Monday, fine.

    If that causes WW3, I'd let it go. I agree with wanting to teach our kids to stick to things but he has stuck with this already and being an extra-ciricular activity, it just doesn't need to be at the top of my priority list, in my humble opinion. I figure it's my job to teach and enforce cerrtain things with my son but he has the right to make some choices about his activities outside of school- as long as they are constructive and don't interfere with other things, I try to be supportive. I figure these experiences can help him learn natural consequences and I'd prefer those mistakes to be made in a setting like that instead of at school, Know what I mean??
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't force a child who is afraid of getting hurt to play a sport where you do get hurt. In fact, maybe sports isn't his niche, maybe it's art or chess or something else. My own son would make a fine football player and the coach always asks him to join the team, but his answer is, "No way! I don't want to get hurt!" Nothing like an Aspie to tell it like he sees it :D

    For exercise we have son work out, ride his bike, play soccer and compete in the Special Olympics (even though it's supposed to be for cognitively slow kids and he's not). He enjoys all of the above. I would not want to force him to do anything however that scared him, even if he was good at it. As somebody said, your son is only nine. If he quits right now, it's not that big a deal, really. JMO
  5. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    Thanks to u all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All of you have great ideas :D

    I think I need to hear it from other difficult child mom's who understand! I was raised in a very hostile and controlling environment....I was never allowed to quit anything....even though I was not allowed to do sports, etc. (but I was forced to work full time through all 4 years of high school). So I fight and wrestle with what I know is the right decision...but then I second guess myself since difficult child is bipolar and I want to make sure I make the correct decision!!!!!!!!! ;)

    I love how all of you are so honest with me......I really appreciate that. It is hard to discuss this with my husband since his moods are so up and down...I am so thankful I can get help and honest opinions here.

    difficult child's biggest problem is transitioning......he can not transition from one activity to the next without a very big tantrum. In years past, he would tantrum before karate but then come home and be happy he went. But in the past 6 months.....ever since he has stabilized it seems to be a "I dont want to go ever now" mentality. I think it just might be time for old Mom to come around and let it go. I was hoping he would return to being happy with it...but it seems like this won't change.

    I agree with you all......I dont think its a huge priority and we have bigger fish to fry ;). I agree with the fact that his Aunt Uncle nor grandparents have to deal with his tantrums but they are not a big or even much a part of our lifes anyhow due to difficult child's difficulties. I need to personally let go of needing to make our family look like we are doing wonderful & we are perfect. All part of my own personal codependency recovery!!!!!!!!

    Hearing it from others is so helpful...........I cant thank u enough!:D
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First and foremost, don't let what anyone says or think dictate what you know in your gut is in your child's best interest. That's the first rule! Those who are the quickest to judge, are typically those who know nothing about what they are talking about! Noone has walked a mile in your shoes therefore noone has the right to a say.

    Don't look at this as 3 years down the drain - did he learn anything, gain anything from this experience? Even parents of easy child's spend years toting their kids to this and that only to have the child never again express an interest in said experience.

    Personally, if he were my child, I would let him dictate his future in the sport. There is a huge difference between a kid who has no interst or a kid whose anxiety is through the roof and a child who is just plain lazy and would rather do nothing than run around a field.

    Be confident in yourself and the choices you make for you son. He will feel you confidence and support and be better for it.

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Have you read The Explosive Child?
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    SP -- haven't read what others have suggested, but here's my 2 cents.

    You've given this a good long run. And he USED to enjoy it, but isn't now. I don't think adding more pressure is going to help him. I think he needs a break from it. Period.

    It's not quitting at all. Quitting would be giving up after one try. He's given this a lot of his time over the past year or more. Let him move on to something of his own choosing. Something that he can be passionate about and enjoy. He has enough on his plate right now to worry about, why add to it? AND he can always come back to it -- he needs to know that, too.

    Whenever we steer our kids towards an extracurricular activity, it's important to remember the whole reason for having them try it: to have fun and to try something new. If they end up enjoying it and want to go further, GREAT! If it ends up being a struggle to maintain their interest and enthusiasm, then it's a waste of everyone's time. Think about it this way: Would you keep up with your cake decorating if it was something you absolutely dreaded doing? Would anyone expect you to keep doing it if it was causing you grief and frustration? Probably not.

    It's hard to let go of a hope or dream we have for our kids, especially if there's a glimmer of interest or talent in something they can do. But once they've been given the initial opportunity and had a fair run at it, we have to step back and let their level of interest and commitment dictate the direction it goes.
  9. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    thanks to all 3 of u that just replied :D

    Yes I have read the Explosive Child...I think I need to brush up on it!! ;) I agree that I need to be stronger about my decisions!!! Thanks for reminding me. husband, myself & difficult child just had a discussion about it and husband was pushing him to continue but I stopped him and told him to listen to difficult child for a minute. difficult child is really anxiety ridden all of a sudden about sparring (fighting without landing the punch) and I know it is fueled by the bipolar and his horrid night terrors. Anyhow, difficult child was sincere about truly wanting to stop...and at that moment I knew it was time to stop. Karate should not be a punishment for him. The poor kid fights all night in his dreams...its no wonder he doesnt want to fight anymore for "fun".

    My husband called the Sensei and told him what was going on...(his Sensei has been like a mentor to him) and he told us he has noticed a severe change in enthusiasm in the last month too. To make a long story short, he told Sensei we would be quitting and the good news is he can come back at anytime if he changes his mind. So this will actually be a fun time for difficult child...he can try new things like art class (our daughter goes to art school) and difficult child loves to we are going to try that too. husband decided to sign up for a special program where he and difficult child can golf once a week for the same amount as karate. So this will be therapeutic for husband who is bipolar and difficult child at the same time..and they can have special time together;)...I have to remember that God always has a good plan :D.

    I agree...we gave it a fair run and its time to move on. This just might help his anxiety to lessen too. I feel at peace now and I know it is the right decision!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders. Imagine that? LOL!!!!

    THANK U SO MUCH EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder I came are all so experienced and so kind, loving & helpful. God bless you & your families!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hugs for u all:D
  10. Hugs Serenity!!!!!

    Here's points you may not have considered...

    During the "beautiful years" (when difficult child's weren't exhibiting excessively concerning behaviors) I took Martial Arts lessons with my kids.

    During sparring, my young daughter-difficult child's finger was slightly injured and got very swollen very fast. We went to the emergency room. Upon registration, I was asked if I wanted to press charges against the sparring partner that caused the injury... (another YOUNG child in the class!) SHOCKED, I explained again clearly... "She was in KARATE CLASS! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT! THEY WERE SPARRING!"

    The ER attendant explained the way local law is written, we could press charges if we wanted to! I'm certain the stupid laws in this ignorant area are not wide spread... but you may want to check out your local laws and you may find you prefer a non-contact sport for your son!

    Another point... one of the adult instructors of the class was bragging how easily she could injure an unruly student on purpose and make it appear to be an accident.

    We dropped that class with no regrets!

    (perhaps that "sensei"'s discipline philosophy is part of the reason why local laws are what they are!!!!)
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Here's another vote for letting him quit. When Miss KT was younger, she wanted to try everything under the sun, and my rule was "you have to participate for 6 months. After that, you'll have enough information to decide if you want to continue." She only played one season of soccer, but stayed in karate long enough to earn her black belt. Then she quit to start high school marching band.
  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Another thing to keep in mind is I'd be extremely proud of him for explaining in a rational, sensible way what his fears are. For a 9 year old with his difficulties to speak to you from the heart is a tremendous thing to do!

    You should be proud of yourself too for giving him that sense of trust to be able to open up to you.!!! Great job warrior Mom!

    Make sure that you tell him that you're proud of him for making a mature decision and explaining it so beautifully to you - it'll really make him feel good about himself - self esteem is critical with our kids!

    Wonderful! ;)

  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree- you've handled this well. When I first posted I had overlooked that he's only 9 yo. I had gotten frustrated beofre with my son because of the various activities/sports he'd tried but not stuck to as long term commitments, but was reminded by a therapist that elementary school is the time for kids to get exposure to a variety of things- we parents really shouldn't expect that an interest they have in elementary school will necessarily turn into a long term, much less life-long, interest or commitment. In the long run it is still beneifical for the child to have the experience.

    I too think it is great that he could and did articulate his concerns about staying in this, and think it's great that he knows you listened and handled it appropriately. This will; probably pay off in much bigger ways than any belt could down the road.