My Dad And My Baseball Playing
My dad is very hard on me. I'm 13 and often get in serious fights with my dad. Some incidents have gotten so bad that he threw me out of the house for a night and I slept in our backyard with a tent.
One of my biggest issues with him is in sports, baseball to be exact. He makes me sign up for it and I now play on 2 teams, which gives me very little time to do anything else with my friends.
The issue we have in baseball is that I'm considered to be very good, and I perform well when I play. So when I get a big hit over the outfielder's head everyone on my team says good hit or whoosh there it is.
Then my dad comes to the dugout and he tells me "A good outfielder would've caught that" then I say "but it was still a good hit" then he says "no it wasn't, you drifted forward." This usually happens a lot and makes me mad because no matter what I do, it's not good enough for him.
It seems like he makes me go and play just to criticize me. This often starts big fights between us and makes me angrier. Any suggestions or help is appreciated.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. Getting criticized by your dad like that feels really bad. I'm sorry that's happening to you.
I think it's good that you get mad about how he treats you. Your anger is trying to protect you, and that is what anger is for. I know it causes you problems, and I will help you deal with it in healthier ways, so you can still express it, but where is doesn't cause you as much trouble.
Start by keeping an anger journal, as described on this page. This gives your anger a safe and healthy place to go, and it will help you observe how that part of your brain works. The idea is, don't fight with your anger, and don't let it do your thinking for you.
You want to be smart in the choices you make. From what you've described here, your dad is making some bad choices, in making you play whether you want to or not, and then criticizing you for what you do on the ball field. That's just wrong. However, you can't change him, or get him to act differently.
You might try something a little different. I don't know if this will help, or if it even makes sense to you, but here goes. Make a list of all of the things your dad does that you like. Also list all of his positive traits and qualities. Then from time to time, say to him, "You know, Dad, I really like how you (fill in the blank)" or, "Dad, something I really like about you is (fill in the blank)." You get the idea. You never mention what you don't like, or the things he does that make you mad.
This is what you want from him...praise for what you're doing well, not criticism for what he doesn't like. So, what you're doing is giving him what you want him to give to you. I hope he's smart enough to get the idea. Either way, this will help you with your anger, and it will help you with your relationship with him, which will hopefully carry over into how he handles your ball playing.
Finally, keep a positive journal, as described on this page. This will help you keep your mind focused on the good things in your life. See if you can get into the habit of doing this, and it will serve you well for the rest of your life.
I can tell you're a good kid, and I think it's great that you're also a good athlete. That belongs to you, not to your dad or anybody else. In a few years, you'll be on your own, and you can live your own life. And I think you will succeed and be very happy.
My very best to you,
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