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Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem

jealousy


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69138
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Posted Jul 01, 2001 at 11:31:23 AM
Subject: jealousy

My son is 10 and diagnosed gifted/nld, anxiety disorder and depression. He is currently on a diving team and very good. He dives for a local pool in the summer as well as winter diving. He has taken first place in his age category the last two meets and will probably take first at all. The problem is another boy on his team (who is 12) is very daring and will try anything off the boards and platforms. D. struggles with fear and wants to be as daring as this boy, but ends up becoming scared and not doing the dives this boy does. Then he feels incompetent and inferior. Personally, I would rather he wait to try these tricks but he wants to do them. (diving from a 30 meter. platform, one and a half's off the 10 meter. platform, inwards off the 10 meter platform) The problem is that he is bad mouthing this kid, displaying anger at the kid and coach when he is really mad at himself for being to scared to attempt these dives. I have reinforced his talent, how much better he is this year at trying new dives (last year only could do 3, this year can do 7), and not to compare himself to others. The other kid and coach are totally confused as to what D. is angry about. Any suggestions on how to help D. not be so jealous of others abilities and for helping him not take out his own feelings of incompetency on the other kid. Should I talk to the coach? Have D. talk to him? Thanks for your input.
Jean

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 31, 2014
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Posted:Jul 02, 2001 6:45:13 AM

I think underneath most anger is usually fear or sadness and with your son it could be both. Your son deals with some issues and I would think his wonderful success at diving helps him, as it would help anybody, to feel good about himself. Boys especially, I think, LD or not, need to feel good at a sport.

Then along comes another child who has a quality your son does not. He's fearless. It's not that he's a better diver but he will get a fair bit of attention from the kids, espeically boys, for his fearlessness. Those high dives he does even if inexpertly performed, will take attention away from your son's well deserved excellence. Adults may easily recognize your son as the better diver but other young boys will take their boy hats off to Mr. Knows No Fear.

It's sort of like when you go to a party, a good wife and mother, hair neatly combed, pot luck cassrole in hand, hours of work making the excellent casserole and getting everything ready so you can go to this party and in walks the man with the slightly younger and very attractive wife - with no casserole. Every eye in the place turns to her - men and women alike. Don't you ever get mad at that woman in those moments?

Your son is having one of those moments. And in those moments it can be helpful if your husband gives you a hug and doesn't talk about your casserole. And on the way home that night tells you how much he appreciates the hard work you do with the kids and how he's marry you all over again.

If this were my son, I'd talk to him myself first and tell him even though it may look to him that Mr. Fearless is a great diver - he isn't. He's just fearless. It takes more than that to be a good diver. It takes work. Maybe Mr. Fearless is going to put some work in and fearlessness can play a role in diving but take a look at your ribbons. There isn't a ribbon for fearless ness but it sure does get the ribbons of attention from all the kids and that can't feel fair. Tell him people have short attention spans and they need to be entertained so Mr. Fearless will get a lot of their attention but is he doing this for attention or to become good at their sport and make a contribution to it? There's a tradition to diving. Is he progressing through the traditional steps as does the good diver or is he just jumping off the high board?

I'd also let him know his fear is a positive thing. And his coach should tell him that too. (Find some written stuff from the big name divers about their fear - I'm sure some of them have published their memoris - what about the Olympic diver Greg Lougainis who was also LD?) His fear is his self telling him he's learning the next step in a challenging sport. Wasn't he afraid once on the smaller board and when he first learned a back dive? Is he afraid of those dives now? Probably not.

I would bet NONE of the great divers were fearless. I bet with every new dive they asked themselves if they were capable of it. That's the difference between the Olmpic divers and the cliff divers off Acaculpo. The cliff divers know one dive - off the cliffs. This other kid has a skill - he'll jump off anything. Will he love diving? Will he train for it? Is that other kid in it for the sport or for the glory of the moment?

Your ten year old son can't know the truth of those things on his own. He can only feel angry. Help him to know those truths and his sadness over not feelling good about his diving will go away and the angry badmothing that expresses his sadness will end.

I'd share with the coach what you say to your son and have the coach offer his own version of those truths. It can't hurt to hear it twice and athletes, as is your son, have special relationships with their coaches, and to fully believe something usually need to hear it from them too.

Good luck.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 31, 2014
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Posted:Jul 02, 2001 7:04:09 PM

Thank you so much for your input. You hit the nail on the head. I think that is exactly what is going on. The coach reinforced with D. that he is the better diver by keeping him till everyone else had left and worked with him alone for about half an hour. He also told D. that he has skill which will win in the end. I shared your post with D. He understood exactly what you were saying and felt better after we discussed it. Thank you so much!!
Jean and son

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